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Jan. 31, 2009

DURHAM, N.C. — The South Carolina women’s tennis team (3-2) dropped a 4-3 decision to Ohio State (3-1) on Saturday in Durham, N.C., in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

South Carolina grabbed the doubles point by winning the top two slots against the Buckeyes. Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Marija Zubori had no trouble at No. 1 defeating Cami Hubbs and Christina Keesey 8-1, while Miljana Jocic and Gira Schofield upended Julie Blackmore and Paloma Escobedo 8-4 on court two. Suzanna Mansour and Ashley Miller fought off more than 10 match points before succumbing to Angela DiPastina and Kirsten Flower at the No. 3 slot 8-3.

Ohio State stormed back in the singles matches, winning handily at positions three, four, five and six. Hubbs took a 6-3, 6-1 victory from Vuckovic at No. 3 singles to score the Buckeyes’ first point. Kelsey Haviland followed with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Mansour on court five, and DiPastina notched a win versus Miller 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 6 position.

Zubori improved to 5-0 on the spring after she defeated Escobedo 6-0, 7-5 at No. 2 singles to make the score 3-2 for OSU. Minutes later, Blackmore finished off Jocic at four singles 6-3, 6-3 to give the Buckeyes the come-from-behind victory.

The final match between Schofield and Flower at the top spot had just entered a third set after Ohio State had clinched. Schofield won the first set 6-2 but dropped the second 6-3 and quickly fell behind 2-0. Schofield answered in a big way, though, coasting through six straight games to earn her 11th consecutive victory.

The Gamecocks will now face No. 35 VCU in a consolation match Sunday at 10 a.m.

#32 Ohio State (3-1) def. #33 South Carolina (3-2), 4-3

1. #71 Gira Schofield, USC, def. Kirsten Flower, OSU, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
2. #14 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. Paloma Escobedo, OSU, 6-0, 7-5
3. Cami Hubbs, OSU, def. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, 6-3, 6-1
4. Julie Blackmore, OSU, def. Miljana Jocic, USC, 6-3, 6-3
5. Kelsey Haviland, OSU, def. Suzanna Mansour, USC, 6-2, 6-3
6. Angela DiPastina, OSU, def. Ashley Miller, USC, 6-3, 6-4

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

1. #33 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, def. Hubbs/Christina Keesey, OSU, 8-1
2. Jocic/Schofield, USC, def. Blackmore/Escobedo, OSU, 8-4
3. DiPastina/Flower, OSU, def. Mansour/Miller, USC, 8-3

Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2