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Feb. 27, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s tennis team will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. to take on 15th-ranked Wake Forest this Tuesday, Feb. 28. The match with the Demon Deacons is set to begin at 2 p.m. on the courts of Leighton Tennis Stadium. The Gamecocks (6-5, 0-0 SEC) are playing their final non-conference match before kicking off their SEC schedule this weekend in Columbia.

Scouting the Gamecocks
USC has been plagued by injuries and hasn’t been able to start their full top six since Feb. 4 against Appalachian State, will take one more shot at a Tar Heel state rival on Tuesday, when they take on the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem. The Gamecocks have dominated in doubles however, taking the doubles point in eight of their 11 matches this season. Geraldo Knorr has been the catalyst for Carolina’s success so far this season, and the senior is in position to lead the team in victories for the second time in three seasons. Knorr, a native of Florianopolis, Brazil, is 15-6 in singles this year and has compiled a 14-6 record in doubles matches.

For the Demon Deacons
Wake Forest, currently 15th in the latest Fila Collegiate Tennis Poll, has spent four of the five weeks this season ranked in the Top 15, and have been in the Top 20 for nine consecutive ranking periods, dating back to April 19 of last season. The Deacons are 6-2 on the season, including wins over No. 62 Northwestern, No. 71 Old Dominion and No. 40 Minnesota. Wake opened the season with five straight wins, but has dropped two of the last three, with the losses coming on the road at No. 21 Virginia Commonwealth and No. 30 Louisville. Wake Forest is led by the play of its top two juniors, Todd Paul and Andrew Hamar. Both are nationally ranked in singles, with Paul currently holding the No. 15 spot, after opening the season in the 11th spot.

USC vs. Wake Forest
The Gamecocks have dominated the all-time series with the Demon Deacons, 23-4, and the recent history is no different, as Carolina has taken nine of the last 10 from their ACC-border rival, including a 4-3 upset of the then-No. 25 Deacons in Columbia last season. USC has won nine of 11 all-time in Winston-Salem, but Wake picked up a 5-2 win the last time Carolina traveled up Tobacco Road in 2004.

On Tap
USC returns home this weekend, Mar. 3-5, to open up their 2006 Southeastern Conference slate when they host a pair of matches against Mississippi State (Friday, 2 p.m.) and Ole Miss (Sunday, 1 p.m.). Carolina trails the all-time series against MSU, but has taken the last four from the Bulldogs, including a 5-2 win in Starkville last season. Sunday will mark the second meeting this season between the Gamecocks and Mississippi, as the teams met at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships two weeks ago in Seattle. This is only the second time USC and the Rebels have met more than once in a season, the only previous time being the 1999 season when they met at the Indoor Championships, in the regular season and concluded with Carolina’s shock 4-3 upset of Ole Miss in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.