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May 21, 2008

TULSA, Okla. — South Carolina junior Gira Schofield advanced to the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship on Wednesday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Schofield needed three sets to defeat Ekaterina Burduli from Washington State 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. The Gamecocks’ No. 1 singles player will now face seventh-ranked Amanda McDowell of Georgia Tech on Thursday in the round of 32.

After dropping the first set, Schofield moved ahead 5-2 in the second, but Burduli came back to tie the score at 5-all. Schofield then held serve and broke Burduli to force a third set.

Burduli jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third before Schofield held serve. Schofield then took a 4-3 advantage and later was up 5-4 with the Cougar serving. With the score at 30-30 in the 10th game, Schofield dropped a backhand volley winner just over the net to set up match point, which she won after Burduli hit an approach shot in the net.

Schofield is the first Gamecock since Katarina Petrovic, who is currently South Carolina’s assistant coach, to win an NCAA Championship match. Petrovic claimed a first-round victory in 2002 against the tournament’s No. 2 seed before losing in the second round.