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April 17, 2008

AUBURN, Ala. — The ninth-seeded South Carolina women’s tennis team fell 4-0 to No. 8 seed Auburn on Thursday in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Auburn, Ala. The Gamecocks fell to 12-9 overall while the Tigers improved to 16-8.

South Carolina came out flat in doubles play, with the scores at one point on courts one, two and three reading 6-1, 4-1 and 4-1 in favor of the Tigers. Alex Haney and Melissa Koning held on to win 8-2 over Gira Schofield and Ana Marija Zubori at No. 1 doubles for Auburn’s first win.

The Gamecocks put up a fight at two and three, first with Jelena Rajic and Natasa Vuckovic closing a 5-1 deficit to 5-4 against Gaby Beelen and Dunja Djuranovic at the No. 3 spot. Suzanna Mansour and Megan McGavock managed to come back from 5-2 down at three against Fani Chifchieva and Whitney Chappell to even the score at 5-all. Beelen and Djuranovic, though, were able to win the final three games over the Gamecocks to give Auburn the doubles point.

The afternoon at Yarbrough Tennis Center did not get any better for South Carolina, as the Tigers won the first set on all six singles courts. Koning put Auburn ahead 2-0 after she defeated Vuckovic 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3 singles, and Chifchieva gave Auburn its third point with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Schofield at the top slot.

Chappell won 6-2, 7-5 versus Mansour at the No. 4 spot, however, Mansour nearly stole the second set. Chappell had a 4-0 lead before Mansour won five games in a row. Mansour was up 30-0 serving in the 10th game, but Chappell responded and closed out the contest by winning three straight games.

Carolina will now look for an at-large bid to the 64-team NCAA Tournament to extend its streak of consecutive appearances in the event to 14. The NCAA selection show will be televised Tuesday, April 29, from 2 to 2:30 p.m. on ESPNews.

#30 Auburn (16-8, 5-6 SEC) def. #31 South Carolina (12-9, 5-6 SEC), 4-0

1. #17 Fani Chifchieva, AU, def. #45 Gira Schofield, USC, 6-4, 6-3
2. #85 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, vs. #66 Alex Haney, AU, 3-6, 7-5, 1-3 susp.
3. Melissa Koning, AU, def. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, 6-3, 6-3
4. Whitney Chappell, AU, def. Suzanna Mansour, USC, 6-2, 7-5
5. Jelena Rajic, USC, vs. Jil Hastenrath, AU, 6-7(1), 5-5 susp.
6. Megan McGavock, USC, vs. Dunja Djuranovic, AU, 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 susp.

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4

1. #15 Haney/Koning, AU, def. #34 Schofield/Zubori, USC, 8-2
2. Mansour/McGavock, USC, vs. Chappell/Chifchieva, AU, 5-6 susp.
3. Gaby Beelen/Djuranovic, AU, def. Rajic/Vuckovic, USC, 8-4

Order of Finish: 1, 3