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March 11, 2009

LAS VEGAS — The 22nd-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team improved to 7-4 Wednesday thanks to a 7-0 sweep against UNLV in Las Vegas. The Lady Rebels dropped to 7-5 with the loss.

The Gamecocks got off to a fast start in doubles, winning first at the top position where Ana Marija Zubori and Natasa Vuckovic took an 8-4 decision from Kristina Nedeltcheva and Katy Williams. Miljana Jocic and Ashley Miller clinched the doubles point for Carolina by upending Rumyana Terzieva and Nikol Dimitrova 8-3 on court three. Gira Schofield and Dijana Stojic eventually won 8-7 against UNLV’s Alisa Razina and Anna Maskaljun at No. 2 doubles.

Zubori sprinted through her first set in singles against Dimitrova on court two, winning 6-0. In the second, she made it nine games in a row with a 3-0 lead, but Dimitrova then took two straight to close the deficit to one. The two traded games back and forth until the score stood at 6-5 and Zubori then closed the match out at 7-5.

After losing the first game to Nedeltcheva at No. 1 singles, Schofield rebounded to win 12 of the next 14 games. She cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 triumph to improve to 10-1 in 2009. Vuckovic won in straight sets at No. 4 singles as well, beating Maskaljun 6-4, 6-2.

Once the match had been decided, South Carolina fought its way through the remaining three matches. Miller hung on for a 7-5 win in the first set against Terzieva at the No. 6 spot and then after falling behind 2-1 in the second, she came back to earn the second 6-4 and snap a winless streak of six matches.

Jocic managed to win the first set 6-4 off Adrienn Hidvegi at No. 5 singles, but she lost the second 6-3 to set up a super tiebreaker. In the breaker, Jocic gutted out a 10-7 win.

Court three finished last with Stojic inching past Williams. Stojic lost the first 7-6 before winning the second 7-5. In the super breaker, Stojic fought off one match point and then held on for an 11-9 triumph.

South Carolina returns home to face No. 15 Tennessee on Friday at 2 p.m. and then hosts No. 2 Georgia on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches are scheduled to be played at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center, however, in the event of inclement weather play will be moved indoors to the USC Field House.

#22 South Carolina (7-4) def. UNLV (7-5), 7-0

1. #33 Gira Schofield, USC, def. Kristina Nedeltcheva, UNLV, 6-2, 6-1
2. #49 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. Nikol Dimitrova, UNLV, 6-0, 7-5
3. Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Katy Williams, UNLV, 6-7, 7-5, (11-9)
4. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Anna Maskaljun, UNLV, 6-4, 6-2
5. Miljana Jocic, USC, def. Adrienn Hidvegi, UNLV, 6-4, 3-6, (10-7)
6. Ashley Miller, USC, def. Rumyana Terzieva, UNLV, 7-5, 6-4

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

1. #45 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, def. Nedeltcheva/Williams, UNLV, 8-4
2. Schofield/Stojic, USC, def. Alisa Razina/Maskaljun, UNLV, 8-7
3. Jocic/Miller, USC, def. Terzieva/Dimitrova, UNLV, 8-3

Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2