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March 24, 2006

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women’s tennis team cruised to a 6-1 victory over the LSU Tigers on Friday at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. USC moved to 10-4 with the victory and 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference, while LSU fell to 9-6 overall and 0-5 in the SEC.

Natasa Vuckovic and Christyn Lucas gave the Gamecocks a quick 8-2 victory in doubles at the No. 2 position against Marina Chiarelli and Anastasiya Dubova. The Tigers answered with Mykala Hedberg and Tiffany Tucker’s 8-3 decision on court one versus Megan McGavock and Gira Schofield. USC’s Laura Ganzer and Miranda Gutierrez clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory over Daysi Espinal and Lauren Seaman.

Ganzer was playing in her first match since suffering an ankle sprain against Georgia on March 10. She sat out singles play against LSU and sophomore Grace Blakely made her SEC debut in Ganzer’s absence.

The Gamecocks took a commanding 3-0 lead after Vuckovic ousted Chiarelli 6-0, 6-1 at the No. 2 slot and McGavock took out Tucker 6-1, 6-0 at four singles. Lucas secured the fourth point with a 6-4, 6-4 win on court No. 3 versus Dubova.

Blakely got the next point for USC by downing Espinal in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(6) at six singles. After trailing 5-2 in the second-set tiebreaker, Blakely claimed six of the next seven points for her first SEC victory.

At the top spot, Schofield was able to take the first set 6-2 from Hedberg, but lost a close tiebreaker in the second frame 11-9. In the super tiebreaker that decided the match, Schofield fell behind early 4-2 but rallied to win 10-7 and up her record on the season to 22-6 and 11-3 at No. 1 singles.

LSU got its lone point from Camila Caliari at five singles. She came back after losing the first set 6-0 to Gutierrez to win 7-5, 6-2 in the second and third sets.

The Gamecocks will host Arkansas on Sunday at 1 p.m. to wrap up their five-match homestand before hitting the road next weekend to face Auburn and Alabama.

#34 South Carolina (10-4, 3-2 SEC) def. #48 LSU (9-6, 0-5 SEC), 6-1

1. #68 Gira Schofield, USC, def. Mykala Hedberg, LSU, 6-2, 6-7(9), (10-7)
2. #115 Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Marina Chiarelli, LSU, 6-0, 6-1
3. Christyn Lucas, USC, def. Anastasiya Dubova, LSU, 6-4, 6-4
4. Megan McGavock, USC, def. Tiffany Tucker, LSU, 6-1, 6-0
5. Camila Caliari, LSU, def. Miranda Gutierrez, USC, 0-6, 7-5, 6-2
6. Grace Blakely, USC, def. Daysi Espinal, LSU, 6-3, 7-6(6)

Order of finish: 2, 4, 3, 5, 6, 1

1. Hedberg/Tucker, LSU, def. McGavock/Schofield, USC, 8-3
2. Lucas/Vuckovic, USC, def. Chiarelli/Dubova, LSU, 8-2
3. Ganzer/Gutierrez, USC, def. Espinal/Lauren Seaman, LSU, 8-5

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3