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March 9, 2006

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 19th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team will look to build on its 2-0 record in Southeastern Conference play when it hosts No. 32 Georgia and No. 31 Tennessee on Friday and Sunday. The Gamecocks meet the Bulldogs at 2 p.m. and the Lady Volunteers at 1 p.m. at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center.

USC (8-2, 2-0 SEC) registered a pair of victories against Mississippi State and Mississippi last weekend in the Magnolia State. The Gamecocks grabbed a 6-1 win versus the Bulldogs with the lone loss coming in a three-setter at No. 1 singles. USC escaped Oxford, Miss., with a 4-3 triumph over the Rebels thanks to some strong doubles play. Megan McGavock clinched the match for the Gamecocks with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at five singles.

Georgia (5-5, 2-0 SEC) opened up SEC competition at home, downing Arkansas 5-2 and LSU 7-0. The Bulldogs suffered three losses in a row in early February at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships. UGA fell 4-3 to Harvard and Baylor on consecutive days and then exited the event with a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Northwestern. Georgia’s other two losses were to Clemson (4-3) and Georgia Tech (6-1).

Tennessee (5-6, 2-0 SEC) managed a 7-0 win over LSU and narrowly defeated Arkansas 4-3 in Knoxville, Tenn., last weekend. UT enters Sunday on a three-match winning streak after losing four in a row to Wake Forest (6-1), Notre Dame (7-0), Michigan (5-2) and Indiana (5-2). The Lady Vols’ other two loses came against stiff competition in North Carolina (5-2) and Duke (6-1). In total, five of Tennessee’s six losses have come versus teams currently ranked in the top 25, with three of those squads being in the top 10 as well.

Georgia holds a 29-14 record all-time against South Carolina and has won the past four match-ups. The Gamecocks’ last victory came April 20, 2002, when they hosted the SEC Tournament and upended UGA 4-2 in the semifinals. Last season, the Bulldogs recorded two 4-0 wins against the Gamecocks, winning in Athens, Ga., during the regular season and the second round of the NCAA Regionals.

The series with Tennessee has been tight, with the Lady Vols holding a slight 16-15 edge. UT has won three in a row over USC and was a 5-2 victor in 2005. South Carolina’s last win was by a 4-1 score in 2002 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks defeated Tennessee 5-2 during the regular season that year as well.

South Carolina sports two ranked individuals heading into the weekend with freshmen Gira Schofield and Natasa Vuckovic. Schofield is 60th and Vuckovic rejoined the rankings at No. 88.

The Bulldogs have three players among the singles rankings, headlined by Natalie Frazier at No. 22. Shadisha Robinson is 67th and Caroline Basu is 86th. Basu and Robinson are the No. 8-rated doubles team in the nation, while Darya Ivanov and Evgenia Subbotina are No. 58.

Tennessee has no players listed among the rankings in singles or doubles.