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Jan. 16, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina women’s tennis team fell behind early to BYU but came back to defeat the Cougars 5-2 Friday evening at the USC Indoor Field House in Columbia, S.C., in the season opener for both teams.

The Gamecocks appeared as if they would cruise through doubles, taking leads of 7-1, 7-2 and 6-1 on courts one, two and three. BYU, however, managed to come back at the first and third positions to eventually win the point.

Gira Schofield and Miljana Jocic closed out their match with the Cougar tandem of Kristina Doerr and Romina Nedakovic for an 8-3 victory at two. After the Gamecocks’ Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Marija Zubori snagged a 7-1 advantage over McCall Jones and Megan Price, the Cougars pulled off a miraculous comeback by winning eight consecutive games to make court three the deciding match in doubles.

After Suzanna Mansour and Ashley Miller led 6-1 over Elle Carney and Chie Hayasaka, BYU’s duo won five straight games to tie the score. The two teams eventually found themselves in a tiebreaker and were deadlocked 6-all heading to the second changeover. The Cougars won both of the ensuing points to take a 1-0 lead heading to singles play.

South Carolina stormed back in singles, sweeping the first three spots to make the score 3-1. Vuckovic won first over Nedakovic 6-1, 6-4 on court three and Schofield took care of Jones 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 1 singles slot. Zubori finished within minutes of Schofield with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph against Doerr at the second spot.

Hayasaka scored BYU’s first and only point in singles by defeating Jocic 6-4, 7-5 at No. 4 singles to close the margin to 3-2.

With only two matches remaining on court, Mansour fell behind 5-2 in the first set against Price at five singles. Mansour, though, composed herself and ripped off five games in a row to take the first set 7-5.

Meanwhile at six singles, Miller trailed Carney 4-3 in the first before winning two games to lead 5-4. After Carney tied it 5-all, Miller closed out the set 7-5 and raced ahead to a 4-1 advantage in the second.

Mansour then quickly finished off Price 6-3 in the second to give the Gamecocks the victory. Miller ended her second set by the same score to give Carolina five out of six wins in singles and snap a three-match losing streak to BYU.

South Carolina returns to action Wednesday at Furman at 5 p.m.

#33 South Carolina (1-0) def. #47 BYU (0-1), 5-2

1. #71 Gira Schofield, USC, def. McCall Jones, BYU, 6-4, 6-3
2. #14 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. #73 Kristina Doerr, BYU, 7-5, 6-2
3. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Romina Nedakovic, BYU, 6-1, 6-4
4. Chie Hayasaka, BYU, def. Miljana Jocic, USC, 6-4, 7-5
5. Suzanna Mansour, USC, def. Megan Price, BYU, 7-5, 6-3
6. Ashley Miller, USC, def. Elle Carney, BYU, 7-5, 6-3

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

1. Jones/Price, BYU, def. #33 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, 9-7
2. Jocic/Schofield, USC, def. Doerr/Nedakovic, BYU, 8-3
3. Carney/Hayasaka, BYU, def. Mansour/Miller, USC, 9-8(6)

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3