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April 1, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s women’s tennis team rolled to its seventh consecutive win Sunday with a 7-0 thrashing of Alabama at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks upped their record to 15-3 and 7-1 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Crimson Tide fell to 5-12 and 1-7 in the league.

At 15-3, the Gamecocks have their best record through 18 matches since the 1995 squad was 16-2. The 7-1 mark in SEC play is the best in Carolina’s history since it first competed in the conference in 1992. Additionally, seven conference victories are the most for the Gamecocks since 2002 when the team finished the season with seven.

“Any time you can be 7-1 in the SEC, that’s a good accomplishment,” South Carolina head coach Arlo Elkins said. “It gives us great momentum heading into the next two weekends against Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida. We just need to sustain it during that time.”

The afternoon began with South Carolina winning the doubles point for the 15th time in 18 tries this spring. Christyn Lucas and Natasa Vuckovic had no trouble defeating Shelley Godwin and Bianca Svensson 8-1 at the second position for USC’s first victory. It was the ninth win in a row for Lucas and Vuckovic and made the duo 17-2 overall and 15-1 in duals.

Laura Ganzer and Miranda Gutierrez clinched the 1-0 lead with an 8-4 triumph over Paulina Bigos and Nicole Briceno on court 3. The Crimson Tide’s team of Andrea Brenes and Mari Muller managed to win the top slot 9-7 against Gira Schofield and Ana Marija Zubori.

After suffering a heartbreaking three-set loss two days prior, Megan McGavock wasted no time earning South Carolina’s second point by upending Svensson 6-1, 6-2 at the fifth singles spot. Soon afterward, Schofield beat Muller 6-3, 6-2 to win No. 1 singles, and Vuckovic put away Godwin 6-2, 6-1 on court 3 for her 11th win in a row to give the Gamecocks the team victory.

Zubori bounced back from an early 3-1 deficit in the first set to defeat Briceno 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2 singles and improve to 27-5 for the 2006-07 season. The freshman also is 14-2 in dual matches and 9-1 at the second singles position.

Gutierrez won next for the Gamecocks, digging herself out of a 5-0 hole against Bigos at six singles in the first set to win 7-6, 6-1. Gutierrez won six games in a row after losing the first five before winning in a tiebreaker.

The last match of the day saw Lucas rebound from a 7-5 loss in the first set to Alice Tunaru on court 4 to win 6-3 in the second and 10-5 in a third-set super tiebreaker. Lucas fell behind Tunaru 4-2 heading to the first changeover in the breaker but answered with seven straight points to take control.

South Carolina hosts its final regular-season match Friday playing Kentucky at 2 p.m. The first 50 fans will receive a free Gamecock t-shirt and visor in conjunction with Senior Day. Carolina has three seniors on this year’s roster with Ganzer, Gutierrez and Lucas.

#32 South Carolina (15-3, 7-1 SEC) def. #60 Alabama (5-12, 1-7 SEC), 7-0

1. #118 Gira Schofield, USC, def. Mari Muller, UA, 6-3, 6-2
2. Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. Nicole Briceno, UA, 6-3, 6-4
3. #125 Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Shelley Godwin, UA, 6-2, 6-1
4. Christyn Lucas, USC, def. Alice Tunaru, UA, 5-7, 6-3, (10-5)
5. Megan McGavock, USC, def. Bianca Svensson, UA, 6-1, 6-2
6. Miranda Gutierrez, USC, def. Paulina Bigos, UA, 7-6, 6-1

Order of finish: 5, 1, 3, 2, 6, 4

1. Andrea Brenes/Muller, UA, def. #18 Schofield/Zubori, USC, 9-7
2. Lucas/Vuckovic, USC, def. Godwin/Svensson, UA, 8-1
3. Laura Ganzer/Gutierrez, USC, def. Bigos/Briceno, UA, 8-4

Order of finish: 2, 3, 1