April 3, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women’s tennis team will face Alabama on Friday at 5 p.m. in Tuscaloosa, Ala., before traveling to Auburn, Ala., for a 2 p.m. match against Auburn on Sunday.
The Gamecocks (11-6, 4-4 SEC) are coming off a 5-2 loss to Arkansas last weekend that snapped a four-match unbeaten streak. A 5-2 victory over LSU prior to the Arkansas match helped the Gamecocks move up four spots in the rankings to No. 30.
Alabama (6-11, 2-6) enters Friday’s match with South Carolina riding four losses in a row. Most recently, the Crimson Tide lost at Tennessee 7-0 and was 6-1 losers at Georgia. The Tide’s two victories in SEC play this year came against Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Auburn (13-6, 3-5) began conference play with a 3-1 record that included a win over current Western Division leader Arkansas. The Tigers have since lost 5-2 matches to Vanderbilt and Georgia and were beaten by 4-3 scores against Kentucky and Tennessee.
South Carolina leads the all-time series with Alabama 10-7 and defeated the Crimson Tide 7-0 last year, but the Gamecocks have not won in Tuscaloosa since 2002. Auburn has lost 17 matches in a row to Carolina dating back to 1994 and is 2-22 all-time versus the Gamecocks.
Gira Schofield and Ana Marija Zubori are South Carolina’s two ranked players in singles at 44th and 70th. The two are 37th in doubles as well. Schofield and Zubori have been among the rankings the entire season and have each won 20 matches apiece in singles. They will search for their 20th win as a doubles team this weekend, with their current total standing at 19.
Serbians Natasa Vuckovic and Jelena Rajic have been coming on strong over the past several weeks. Both players went 2-0 in singles play last week and have been playing the No. 3 doubles position for the past six matches, going 4-2 during that span. Rajic was named SEC-Co Freshman of the Week on Wednesday for her recent successes that include winning four of her last five in singles. Vuckovic has won four in a row and is 6-2 in SEC matches this year.
While Alabama does not have any ranked players on its roster, Auburn boasts one of the conference’s top players with Fani Chifchieva at No. 22. She won 18 matches in a row at one point this spring and is one of only three players to beat the nation’s current No. 1-ranked player, Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas. Alex Haney is the Tigers’ other ranked player at No. 107, and she ranked No. 22 in doubles with Melissa Koning as well.
South Carolina has just won home match remaining this season Saturday, April 12, against No. 3-ranked Florida at 1 p.m. It is also the final match of the regular season before the Gamecocks compete in the SEC Tournament in Auburn over April 17-20.