Feb. 2, 2007
USC Hosts Appalachian State, Charleston Southern
Sunday, Feb. 4 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. USC Indoor Fieldhouse
South Carolina plays host to a men’s tennis doubleheader for the second straight weekend at the USC Indoor Fieldhouse when Appalachian State and Charleston Southern come to Columbia to face the Gamecocks on Sunday, Feb. 4. Carolina and ASU meet at 10 a.m. while the Buccaneers and Gamecocks will play at 2 p.m. Entry to all home matches is free. Live updates for both matches will be available online at USCsports.com.
About the Gamecocks
Despite a rash of injuries, South Carolina made the NCAA Tournament for the 13th-straight season in 2006, which ranks as the eighth-longest active streak nationally. Five letterwinners are back from that team, including senior Pedro Rodrigues, juniors Jaime Cuellar, Yevgeny Supeko and Joseph Veeder and redshirt sophomore Thomas Stoddard. USC also welcomes four newcomers, freshmen Pedro Campos, Ivan Cressoni, Spencer Feldman and David Wolff. Head coach Kent DeMars is in his 23rd season at the helm of the Gamecock program. The 1989 National Coach of the Year, DeMars has guided his USC teams to 17 NCAA berths. Former Gamecock standout Jeff Kefalos (1976), is back for his 10th season as DeMars’ assistant coach.
Scouting Appalachian State
The Mountaineers are coming off a 13-10 season, the best in head coach Bob Lake’s six-year career. The squad lost to second-seeded Furman in the quarterfinals of last year’s Southern Conference Tournament. Senior Dimitar Dimitrov finished the fall season with a big victory over The Citadel’s No. 1 player, Daniel Dosseter at the College of Charleston Invitational. Freshman David Doverspik also had an impressive tournament, going 3-0 in singles play. Sunday’s match with the Gamecocks is the first of the spring for Appalachian State.
Scouting Charleston Southern
The Buccaneers have been chosen to finish third in the Big South Conference this season after posting a 5-1 record in the league last season and an 11-6 mark overall. Sophomore Chris Peek won the “B” flight of the USC Invitational in October. Charleston Southern is set to open its spring season on Saturday, Feb. 3, with a match at Clemson.
South Carolina holds a commanding advantage in the all-time series with both Appalachian State and Charleston Southern.
The Gamecocks are 12-1 all-time against the Mountaineers, including a 5-2 victory in 2006 in Columbia. Carolina has a 7-0 record against Charleston Southern. The series between the two schools started in 1996. The Gamecocks won last season’s meeting, 4-0.
Carolina Opens With Wins Over Wofford, Troy
Carolina opened the 2007 season with a 2-0 record after sweeping a pair of dual matches from Wofford and Troy last Sunday. In the opener, the Gamecocks shut out the Terriers for a 7-0 victory. Carolina won all three doubles matches and all six singles matches, including five in straight sets.
Against the Trojans, South Carolina faced a tougher test. The Gamecocks were victorious at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. In singles action, the Garnet and Black won at the No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 positions. Troy scored its lone point at No. 1 singles as No. 72 Irving Morales topped Carolina freshman Pedro Campos, 6-3, 6-4. The No. 6 singles match went unfinished as the Gamecocks had already sealed the win. The Gamecocks were listed as No. 38 in the initial ITA Poll for 2007.
Cuellar Makes All-SEC Team in `06
Junior Jaime Cuellar (San Salvador, El Salvador) earned second-team All-SEC honors last season. After leading the team in singles wins as a freshman in 2005, Cuellar posted a 17-10 record as a sophomore. Cuellar owns a 46-22 record overall, including a 37-14 mark in dual matches.
Not only does South Carolina compete in what is arguably the nation’s most difficult tennis conference, the Gamecocks may face one the country’s toughest schedules overall. In addition to the 11-match SEC slate, Carolina will play four ACC foes in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Clemson. A total of 11 teams that played in the 2006 NCAA Tournament appear on the Gamecocks’ schedule and seven of those matches will be played at home in Columbia. In the latest poll (Jan. 31), five Gamecock opponents are in the top 25 and 11 appear in the top 40.
The Gamecocks will continue the 2007 season Sunday, Feb. 10, when they host Charlotte (10:30 a.m.) and Davidson (2:30 p.m.) at the USC Indoor Facility. The Gamecocks are also preparing for a pair of ranked teams in the coming month. Carolina hosts the 26th-ranked Demon Deacons of Wake Forest Feb. 14 and then travels across the border to the Tar Heel State to take on 23rd-ranked North Carolina.