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Feb. 16, 2007

The University of South Carolina men’s tennis team goes on the road for the first time this season to face the North Carolina Tar Heels Saturday, Feb. 17. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start at UNC’s Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Gamecocks, who are ranked No. 36 in the latest ITA Collegiate Tennis Poll, will look to rebound from Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to No. 27 Wake Forest. South Carolina takes a 6-1 record to Chapel Hill, in what is the second of four matches scheduled against teams for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

North Carolina is No. 21 in the national rankings and owns a 6-0 record to date. The Heels are coming of weekend victories over No. 30 Rice and No. 66 Vanderbilt. UNC has been strong in doubles, winning all six of the doubles points this season.

The Gamecocks and Tar Heels have one common opponent this season. In its season opener on Feb. 3, UNC defeated Charlotte, 6-1, while South Carolina shut out the 49ers, 7-0, on Feb. 11. At No. 1 singles, Charlotte’s 39th-ranked Roy Sichel bested No. 25 Benjamin Carlotti, 6-3, 6-4. South Carolina junior Yevgeny Supeko defeated Sichel, 6-4, 6-2, at the top spot. Supeko has a 15-4 singles record this season, including a 7-0 mark in dual matches.

Freshman Ivan Cressoni joins Supeko with a 7-0 singles record in dual matches. Cressoni has been successful in close matches, winning four times in three sets. Redshirt sophomore Thomas Stoddard is also unbeaten in four appearances in the Gamecock singles lineup.

Supeko and freshman Pedro Campos lead South Carolina in doubles play with an 11-2 overall record, including a 6-1 record at the No. 1 spot in dual match play. The tandem had a seven-match win streak snapped on Wednesday against Wake Forest and will look to get back on the winning track Saturday.

This is the 10th-straight season that the two border rivals have met on the tennis court and the 35th time overall. North Carolina holds a 20-14 lead in the all-time series and is 6-4 in the last 10 meetings. South Carolina’s last win came in 2003 by a score of 4-2. Dating back to his inaugural season in 1984-85, Kent DeMars’ Gamecock teams are 14-8 vs. the Tar Heels.