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March 1, 2007

Columbia, SC – The University of South Carolina Men’s tennis team will travel to Mississippi this weekend to kickoff its Southeastern Conference regular season schedule. The Gamecocks are scheduled to take on the No. 58 Mississippi State Bulldogs, (3-3), on Friday at 2 p.m. followed by the No. 6 Ole Miss Rebels, (10-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Scouting the Gamecocks:

No. 51 South Carolina, (7-3) is in the midst of one of its busiest parts of the season after winning at home against Samford and Georgia Tech earlier this week. After three consecutive losses last month, the 4-1 victory over Samford served as an important confidence booster for the Gamecocks as senior leader Pedro Rodrigues was able to capture his first dual singles victory of the season at the No. 1 slot. Building off of the win, the Gamecocks pulled off an impressive 4-3 win against the No. 52 Yellow Jackets on Tuesday. The match featured a three set come-from-behind victory for Pedro Campos at second singles to clinch the win, and the 12th consecutive singles win for Yevgeny Supeko.

Scouting Mississippi State:

During the 2006 campaign Miss. State finished last in the SEC but upset Kentucky and LSU to advance to the semifinals of the SEC tournament. The Bulldogs are 3-3 through the early part of the 2007 season with the most recent decision a 5-2 loss to South Alabama on Sunday. The Bulldogs have struggled recently on the doubles side, only capturing one point out of nine possible through their last three matches. At singles the team is lead by Ivan Bjelica who is No. 38 in the most recent Fila Collegiate Tennis rankings. The junior is currently undefeated at first singles.

Scouting Ole Miss:

Mississippi is once again touting one of the nation’s most talented teams, and has a 10-1 record to show for it. The Rebels, whose only loss has come at the hands of third ranked Virginia, are once again the odds on favorite to win the SEC west, a division the team has captured five straight years. The squad is experienced throughout the lineup as six out of the top seven players are retuning letterwinners. All American Erling Tveit, and Eric Claesson are ranked No. 12 and 61 respectively, while junior and 2006 Clemson transfer Robbye Poole is ranked No. 26. The Rebels will face No. 13 ranked Florida on Friday before their match with Carolina.

Series’ History:

The Gamecocks have fared quite differently against each opponent in recent seasons. Although Carolina trails 11-7 in the series history the squad holds the advantage as of late with Miss State. Carolina is looking to extend a five game winning streak with the past three victories all coming by a 5-2 mark. The Rebels on the other hand have the Gamecocks number in recent seasons winning seven out of the previous eight matches, with the most recent by shutout in 2006. They also hold the all time series advantage with a 14-7 record.

SEC Opening Match Success:

One statistic that seems to be on the Gamecocks side is the team’s recent success in their SEC openers. Carolina has claimed victories in four out of their last five SEC opening matches including two other victories against Mississippi State.

Up Next:

The Gamecocks will return home Friday, March 9, when they face the nation’s top team in the University of Georgia. The 2 p.m. match with the Bulldogs will be played at the Sam Daniels Tennis facility on Heyward Street. All matches are free and open to the public. Live scoring will be available at