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May 12, 2006

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The South Carolina women’s tennis team lost its NCAA first-round match against No. 21 Wake Forest on Friday at The Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. USC ended the 2006 season with a 12-11 record, marking the 13th season in row the Gamecocks posted a winning percentage of .500 or better.

“This was an end to what I thought was a very positive season; not in terms of wins and losses, but in the face of adversity,” USC head coach Arlo Elkins said. “The girls continued to work and they could have folded. We beat the teams we had to beat to get into NCAAs.

“It was a positive season for the young girls on the team. The future looks very bright, and I’m proud of the way we finished.”

The Demon Deacons snagged the doubles point, winning at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Christine Simpson and Christian Tara won first at three doubles against Grace Blakely and Miranda Gutierrez by an 8-6 score. USC responded with Megan McGavock and Gira Schofield’s 8-5 win at the top slot over Alexandra Hirsch and Sierra Poske.

In the final match on court two, the Gamecocks’ Christyn Lucas and Natasa Vuckovic trailed Ashlee Davis and Ana Jerman 7-5 with Vuckovic serving. After falling behind 30-40 in the 13th game, the South Carolina duo managed to win three consecutive points to keep its chances alive. Jerman’s tricky left-handed slice serve, however, continued to perplex USC in the next game, and Wake Forest closed out the match with an 8-6 victory.

Wake Forest jumped on top 2-0 when Gutierrez retired after one game in the second set of her match with Tara at four singles. Gutierrez lost the first set 6-1 and was down 1-0 in the second before she was unable to continue because of a stomach virus she has been fighting for the past week.

USC closed the gap to 2-1 thanks to McGavock’s 6-1, 6-1 victory over Poske at the No. 5 slot. WFU answered with Simpson’s 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Walsh at six singles, and Jerman provided the clinching point at No. 6 singles with a 6-2, 6-0 win against Lucas on court three.

Schofield and Hirsch’s match at No. 1 singles was suspended with Schofield up a break at 6-5 in the first set. On court No. 2, Vuckovic lost the first set to Davis 6-1, but she was up a break at 5-3 in the second when play was stopped.

The 2006 season will continue for Schofield when she competes in the NCAA Singles Championship, which starts May 23 in Stanford, Calif., at the Taube Tennis Center. The draw will be released the day before play begins.

#21 Wake Forest (14-9, 5-6 ACC) def. #36 South Carolina (12-11, 4-7 SEC), 4-1

1. #48 Gira Schofield, USC, vs. #44 Alexandra Hirsch, WFU, 6-5 suspended
2. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, vs. #123 Ashlee Davis, WFU, 1-6, 5-3 suspended
3. #125 Ana Jerman, WFU, def. Christyn Lucas, USC, 6-2, 6-0
4. Christian Tara, WFU, def. Miranda Gutierrez, USC, 6-1, 1-0 retired (stomach virus)
5. Megan McGavock, USC, def. Sierra Poske, WFU, 6-1, 6-1
6. Christine Simpson, WFU, def. Justine Walsh, USC, 6-1, 6-3

Order of finish: 4, 5, 6, 3

1. McGavock/Schofield, USC, def. Hirsch/Poske, WFU, 8-5
2. Davis/Jerman, WFU, def. Lucas/Vuckovic, USC, 8-6
3. Simpson/Tara, WFU, def. Grace Blakely/Gutierrez, USC, 8-6

Order of finish: 3, 1, 2