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Jan. 23, 2009

HAMILTON, Ohio — The South Carolina women’s tennis team survived a hard-fought match against Miami (Ohio) on Friday, winning 6-1 at Riverside Athletic Club in Hamilton, Ohio. The Gamecocks improved to 3-0 on the year with the victory while the Redhawks fell to 2-2.

South Carolina found itself in a deep hole in doubles, falling behind 4-1 and 5-1 at the first and third doubles positions. The Gamecock duo of Gira Schofield and Miljana Jocic were down early but managed to take the upper hand at 3-2 and eventually held on to win 8-4 over Monica Gorny and Anastasia Dracheva.

Prior to Schofield and Jocic’s victory, the Redhawks’ Brintney Larson and Riekie Honiball won 8-3 on court three over Suzanna Mansour and Ashley Miller. Mansour and Miller were creeping back into the contest when they closed the margin to 6-3 but they were unable to pull off the win.

South Carolina’s Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Marija Zubori found themselves in a 6-2 deficit at No. 1 doubles playing Stephanie Danesis and Megan Martzolf. They eventually closed the gap to 6-5, but Martzolf held serve the next game to make it 7-5 in favor of the Redhawks. Vuckovic and Zubori’s relentless attack, though, was too much for Miami and they went on to win the next four games in row the give the Gamecocks the doubles point.

The Redhawks tied the score 1-all after Danesis defeated Vuckovic at No. 3 singles 7-5, 6-0, but Miller countered for the Gamecocks with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at six over Honiball to stay unbeaten on the spring campaign.

Jocic got South Carolina within a point of clinching the match after winning 6-2, 7-6(5) versus Martzolf. Jocic trailed 3-0 and 5-3 in the second and then took a 6-5 advantage and had two match points in the 12th game, but Martzolf held serve to force a tiebreaker.

Zubori provided the clinching point at No. 2 singles with a 7-5, 7-5 triumph over Gorny. Zubori improved to 3-0 on the spring and earned her team-leading 11th win of 2008-09 in the process.

Soon after Zubori’s win, Mansour recovered from a 6-0 loss in the second set against Larson on court five to win 6-4 in the third. Mansour won the first set 6-4 as well.

Schofield finished last, coming from behind to defeat Dracheva 5-7, 7-5, (10-5) for her ninth win in a row.

The Gamecocks travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for their next match against No. 19 Michigan on Sunday at 11 a.m.

#33 South Carolina (3-0) def. Miami [Ohio] (2-2), 6-1

1. #71 Gira Schofield, USC, def. Anastasia Dracheva, MU, 5-7, 7-5, (10-5)
2. #14 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. Monica Gorny, MU, 7-5, 7-5
3. Stephanie Danesis, MU, def. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, 7-5, 6-0
4. Miljana Jocic, USC, def. Megan Martzolf, MU, 6-2, 7-6(5)
5. Suzanna Mansour, USC, def. Brintney Larson, MU, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4
6. Ashley Miller, USC, def. Riekie Honiball, MU, 6-4, 6-4

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

1. #33 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, def. Danesis/Martzolf, MU, 9-7
2. Jocic/Schofield, USC, def. Gorny/Dracheva, MU, 8-4
3. Larson/Honiball, MU, def. Mansour/Miller, USC, 8-3

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1