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March 28, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 34 South Carolina women’s tennis team won a crucial match versus No. 27 LSU on Friday by a 5-2 margin at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. With the Gamecocks’ fourth win in a row, Carolina improved to 11-5 and 4-3 in the SEC. The loss dropped LSU to 10-7 overall and 3-4 in the league.

Although South Carolina swept all three doubles positions, it was a highly competitive point. On court three, Jelena Rajic and Natasa Vuckovic trailed Kylie Adamek and Hannah Robinson 2-0 early, but they recovered by winning five consecutive games. After the LSU duo won two in a row to make the score 5-4, Rajic and Vuckovic closed out with three straight games for an 8-4 victory.

Carolina’s Gira Schofield and Ana Marija Zubori clinched the point at the top position. The nation’s No. 33-ranked duo actually trailed Megan Falcon and Mykala Hedberg the majority of the match. Down 6-5, Schofield and Zubori managed to go ahead 7-6 and after the LSU team tied the score 7-all, Schofield and Zubori finished with two straight games to win 9-7.

The Gamecocks were in control at No. 2 doubles leading 6-3, but Nicole Kantor and Staten Spencer won consecutive games to close the margin to just one. After Suzanna Mansour and Megan McGavock went ahead 7-5, Kantor and Spencer answered again with two games to tie the score. Like Schofield and Zubori, the Gamecock tandem then grabbed two consecutive games to win 9-7.

It took less than half an hour for the Gamecocks to push forward 2-0 when Hedberg retired with an injury after losing the first set to Zubori 6-0 at the second singles position. Rajic then blanked Adamek at the No. 6 hole 6-0, 6-0 to make the score 3-0 in favor of Carolina.

Robinson ended the drought for the Tigers on court four with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Mansour. Falcon won the next contest, a 7-5, 6-2 decision over Schofield on court one to keep the Tigers in the match, but Vuckovic provided the clincher for South Carolina.

The first set went to Vuckovic 7-5, but she trailed in the second to Kantor at No. 3 singles by a 3-2 margin. Vuckovic snagged a break of serve after winning two straight games to lead 5-3 and then fought off a game point in the ninth game to force deuce. Once she got the ad, Vuckovic ended the match with a sharp crosscourt forehand from the right side of the court on a short ball hit by Kantor.

The final match at No. 5 singles between McGavock and Spencer was in a third set once the Gamecocks had won. After being down 2-0 in the third, McGavock took a 4-3 lead, at which point LSU coach Tony Minnis conceded the point to South Carolina. McGavock won the first set 6-2 but lost the second by the same score.

The Gamecocks return to action Sunday morning when they host No. 13 Arkansas at 11 at Maxcy Gregg. In the event of inclement weather, South Carolina and the Lady Razorbacks will play at the USC Indoor Field House.

#34 South Carolina (11-5, 4-3 SEC) def. #27 LSU (10-7, 3-4 SEC), 5-2

1. #19 Megan Falcon, LSU, def. #44 Gira Schofield, USC, 7-5, 6-2
2. #75 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. Mykala Hedberg, LSU, 6-0 ret.
3. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Nicole Kantor, LSU, 7-5, 6-3
4. Hannah Robinson, LSU, def. Suzanna Mansour, USC, 6-1, 6-2
5. Megan McGavock, USC, def. Staten Spencer, LSU, 6-2, 2-6, 4-3 wd.
6. Jelena Rajic, USC, def. Kylie Adamek, LSU, 6-0, 6-0

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

1. #33 Schofield/Zubori, USC, def. Falcon/Hedberg, LSU, 9-7
2. McGavock/Mansour, USC, def. Kantor/Spencer, LSU, 9-7
3. Rajic/Vuckovic, USC, def. Adamek/Robinson, LSU, 8-4

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2