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March 14, 2007

The No. 55 University of South Carolina men’s tennis team is set to face UNLV in an out-of conference road match this Thursday at the Darling Memorial Tennis Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The Gamecocks, who are 9-3 (1-3 SEC), are looking to snap a three-match losing streak with Thursday’s 11 a.m. Pacific Time match up against the Rebels.

South Carolina is coming off a tough weekend in which they dropped consecutive 7-0 matches to top-ranked Georgia and No. 38 Tennessee. The squad is battling injuries, which most recently include junior Yevgeny Supeko who has missed the last two matches after wrist surgery. Supeko has a 13 match-winning streak in tact has contributed significantly to the team at the top of the lineup. Supeko’s injury is added to a list, which includes Jaime Cuellar, who will miss the season after undergoing season-ending knee surgery, and Pedro Rodrigues who plays on a match-by-match basis due to a shoulder injury.

In doubles play, Thomas Stoddard and Joseph Veeder have played will as of late. The tandem has compiled a 3-2 record during the spring, including impressive wins over Tennessee and Mississippi State.

UNLV started the season ranked as high as 64 in the country but has since dropped off the charts after compiling a 3-8 through their first 11 matches, including six losses in their last seven matches. The Rebels are lead by sophomore Elliot Wronski who most recently defeated No. 3 Todd Paul of Wake Forest in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5. The sophomore has also defeated then-No. 26 Jakub Cech of Fresno State, 6-2, 6-3. The Rebels are in the midst of their busiest part of the schedule, which will see them play six matches in nine days. Furthermore the Rebels are due to play Ball State on Wednesday before their showdown with Carolina.

The Gamecocks and Rebels have faced each other in each of the last three years, with all three matches being played on the road for Carolina. The Gamecocks hold a 2-1 advantage in the series history, defeating UNLV, 6-1, in 2004 and, 4-3 in 2005. The Rebels got the better of the Gamecocks in 2006, claiming a 5-2 victory of their own.

After Carolina’s trip out west, the team will take a break from competition, not seeing action again until Friday, March 23, when they return to SEC play to face No. 15 LSU at the Sam Daniel Tennis facility in Columbia.