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Feb. 21, 2008

1515274.jpeg N.C. State Live Scoring 1515274.jpeg Clemson Live Scoring

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A pair of key matches await South Carolina on Friday and Saturday when the Gamecocks host N.C. State and Clemson at 2 and 1 p.m. Both matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center, however, current weather forecasts indicating a high probability of rain for Friday will likely force the N.C. State match inside at the USC Indoor Fieldhouse.

Fans can enjoy free hotdogs and pizza as well as lemonade at Maxcy Gregg for the Clemson match Saturday. The remainder of Carolina’s home schedule following Saturday’s match will also offer free food and drinks. Admission to all women’s tennis matches is free.

The Gamecocks enter Friday’s match-up with N.C. State with a 5-0 record and a No. 31 national ranking. The No. 41 Wolfpack is 4-2 this year coming off a 5-1 loss to Arkansas. South Carolina is hoping to avenge a 6-1 loss to N.C. State last year in Raleigh, N.C. The Gamecocks had won 11 straight over the Wolfpack entering the match, but fell to 11-2 in the all-time series with the loss.

Carolina and 24th-ranked Clemson (3-6) will meet on the courts for the 43rd time in a women’s tennis rivalry that began in 1976. The Gamecocks continue to hold a slight edge in the series at 22-20, but the Tigers have won five of the past six meetings. Last year, Clemson recorded a 5-2 victory, but the Gamecocks managed a 4-3 victory in Columbia, S.C., in 2006 when the match was played indoors. Prior to the Tigers’ recent success against Carolina, the Gamecocks won 12 of 15 meetings from 1987 to 2002.

The latest ITA rankings released Wednesday have Gamecock junior Gira Schofield ranked 35th in singles and 17th in doubles with sophomore Ana Marija Zubori. Zubori achieved a new career-high ranking in singles play, jumping 17 spots to No. 56. Schofield and Zubori are 15-3 this year and have a career record of 32-13 when partnering with each other.

N.C. State has no players currently ranked, but the Tigers boast two, including the nation’s top-rated player in Ani Mijacika. Mijacika reached the finals of the fall season’s two national tournaments, the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships and the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. Schofield and Mijacika have played twice and Mijacika has won each match 7-5 in a third set. Federica van Adrichem is the Tigers’ other ranked player at No. 82, and she and Mijacika are 12th in doubles.

The Gamecocks have impressive numbers throughout their lineup this year. Freshman Miljana Jocic leads the squad in singles victories thanks to a 19-4 record and senior Megan McGavock is close behind with a stellar 18-2 slate. Schofield boasts a 15-5 mark and classmate Natasa Vuckovic is 14-5. Junior Suzanna Mansour is 13-6, Zubori is 12-6 and spring newcomer Jelena Rajic has gone 4-1.

South Carolina opens SEC play following the N.C. State and Clemson matches Feb. 29 and March 2 hosting Eastern Division foes No. 22 Kentucky and No. 13 Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. and noon.