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Feb. 14, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 51 South Carolina topped Elon 6-1 in an indoor match that was much closer than the final team scores. The Phoenix (3-4) gave the Gamecocks (7-1) all they could handle in three of the top four singles matches after winning the doubles point in a tie-breaker at the No. 1 position. But South Carolina responded with solid third sets in singles play from Diego Cubas, Pedro Campos and Ivan Machado to sweep the first five singles matches and pick up the Gamecocks’ fourth-straight win.

The Elon duo of Alberto Rojas and Cody Stauffer-McDowell struck first with an 8-6 win over Jaime Cuellar and Joe Veeder in the No. 3 doubles position. The two traded breaks early in the set, and Elon got the win with a break of Veeder’s serve in the final game. South Carolina’s No. 2 team of Pedro Campos and Ivan Cressoni evened things up with an 8-5 win after earning a second break of serve late in the set. The No. 1 match went down to the wire despite the Gamecock tandem of Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado taking a 5-4 lead with a break midway through the set. Cubas won his serve through several deuce points to consolidate the break for a 6-4 lead, but two games later the match was back even as Elon got to Machado’s service game to level the match at 6-6. Cubas’ hold pulled the Gamecocks even at 7-7, and the home team got another break for an 8-7 lead, but again Machado’s serve faltered to send the match into a tie-breaker. Carolina stormed to a 5-2 lead in the breaker behind a nice volley from Cubas only to see the Phoenix even the score on a Cubas double fault. The Elon tandem took three of the next four points to win the match and take a 1-0 lead in the event.

In singles action, Cuellar was the first one off the court, making quick work of Chase Helpingstine at 6-2, 6-0 in the No. 3 spot to level the match. The other three courts turned into marathon matches with Elon claiming the first sets in both the Nos. 2 and 4 matches. Playing in the fourth position, Machado dropped the first set to Elon’s Carlin Murray and was broken in the first game of the second set. The freshman battled back and evened the set at 4-4 on his serve before going on to win the next two games and the second set. With momentum on his side, Machado cruised through the third set 6-0.

At No. 2 singles, Campos was also on the ropes as Podlewski won the first set 6-3, but the Gamecock junior opened the third set with three straight games. Podlewski got back on serve at 3-4 before Campos picked up another service break to go up 5-3 and held to take the set. The fortunes flipped in the third set with Campos falling behind by a break early and battling back to go up 4-2. He got another break for a 5-2 lead and held on for the victory and a 3-1 lead for the Gamecocks.

With Cuellar’s quick work at No. 3, the No. 5 match between Johannes Pulsfort and Nemec was going all the Gamecocks’ way while Cubas and Gooch continued an unending battle at No. 1. Pulsfort cruised to a 6-2 win in the first set but was forced to fight back from a 1-3 deficit to win the second set 6-3. The victory secured the win for South Carolina at 4-1, but Cubas had plenty of work left on Court 1.

After steady play in the first set yielded a 6-4 win for the Gamecocks’ senior, he broke Gooch to go up 1-0 in the second set. Elon’s senior was not about to concede, though. With Cubas leading 3-2 in the set, Gooch had him on the ropes at love-30. Cubas fought back to win that game but was again in a hole as he served for the match. This time Gooch delivered the break and forced a tie-breaker. Sharp shot-making by both players had things even at 3-3 before Gooch rattled off four of the next five points to level the match at a set apiece. In the third set, Cubas was up 2-1 on his opponent’s serve. Gooch fought off two break points, but Cubas eventually got the break for a 3-1 edge and went on to win the set 6-2.

South Carolina continues an eight-match home stand on Fri., Feb. 20, against No. 35 NC State. The match at Sam Daniels Tennis Facility is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

No. 51 South Carolina 6, Elon 1

Doubles: (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. Damon Gooch/Philip Nemec (EU) def. Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) 9-8 (6)
2. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) def. Chase Helpingstine/ Oscar Podlewski (EU) 8-5
3. Alberto Rojas/Cody Stauffer-McDowell (EU) def. Jaime Cuellar/Joe Veeder (SC) 8-6

Singles: (Order of Finish: 3, 4, 2, 5, 1, 6)
1. Diego Cubas (SC) def. Damon Gooch (EU) 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2
2. Pedro Campos (SC) def. Oscar Podlewski (EU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
3. Jaime Cuellar (SC) def. Chase Helpingstine (EU), 6-2, 6-0
4. Ivan Machado (SC) def. Carlin Murray (EU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0
5. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. Philip Nemec (EU) 6-2, 6-3
6. Ivan Cressoni (SC) def. Alberto Rojas (EU) 6-3, 6-2