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March 27, 2009

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The South Carolina women’s tennis team earned a 6-1 victory over Mississippi State on Friday in Starkville, Miss., to improve to 9-7 and 2-3 in the SEC. The Bulldogs dropped to 9-4 overall and 0-4 in the league.

South Carolina started the day by winning the doubles point with victories at the first and third positions. Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Marija Zubori won first at the top slot against Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers 8-4. The pair grabbed a 4-1 lead before surrendering three straight games. The two then bounced back to win four straight to close out the match.

Suzanna Mansour and Dijana Stojic clinched the point by upending Daniela Juskova and Radka Ferancova 8-4. After taking a 2-1 lead after three games, Mansour and Stojic extended the advantage to 7-2 before giving up a couple games to Juskova and Ferancova. They bounced back after the changeover to win the next game.

The remaining match on court two saw Mississippi State’s Natalia Mayuk and Olesya Tsigvintseva leading Gira Schofield and Miljana Jocic 6-4 once the point was clinched. The match was not finished.

South Carolina stormed out of the gates in singles play, winning first sets on five of the six singles spots. Between one through five singles, the Gamecocks won 30 games while losing just five in the first sets.

Vuckovic finished first for South Carolina on court four with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over de Villiers. Jocic put the Gamecocks ahead 3-0 are dispatching Mayuk at the No. 5 spot 6-1, 6-3. Jocic trailed 3-2 in the second set before winning four straight games to earn the victory.

The Bulldogs scored their lone point of the match at No. 6 singles with Juskova defeating Ashley Miller 7-5, 6-2. Juskova led 5-4 in the first set before Miller snagged a game to make it 5-all, but Juskova went on to win the next two games.

Zubori provided the clinching point for South Carolina at the second position. After several long games in the early part of her match, Zubori took a 3-2 lead in the first set heading to the changeover and then came out and quickly won the set 6-2. Zubori raced to a 5-0 advantage in the second but gave up two games before closing out her service game at love for the 6-2 win.

Schofield finished soon afterward with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Tsigvintseva at No. 1 singles. The win snapped a four-match losing streak for Schofield and improved her record at one to 11-5 this spring.

Stojic ended the day for South Carolina at three singles versus Ferancova. After blitzing Ferancova 6-0 in the first, Ferancova fought her way to a 5-2 advantage in the second before Stojic came back to make it 5-all. After Stojic lost the next two games, a super tiebreaker was played to decide it. Stojic extended her unbeaten streak to three matches with an easy 10-2 win.

The Gamecocks return home Sunday to host No. 35 Ole Miss at 1 p.m. at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center. The Rebels are coming off a 4-3 upset of No. 14 Florida in Oxford, Miss.

#40 South Carolina (9-7, 2-3 SEC) def. #61 Mississippi State (9-4, 0-4 SEC), 6-1

1. #34 Gira Schofield, USC, def. Olesya Tsigvintseva, MSU, 6-1, 6-1
2. #41 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. Martina Banikova, MSU, 6-2, 6-2
3. Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Radka Ferancova, MSU, 6-0, 5-7, (10-2)
4. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Elna de Villiers, MSU, 6-1, 6-1
5. Miljana Jocic, USC, def. Natalia Mayuk, MSU, 6-1, 6-3
6. Daniela Juskova, MSU, def. Ashley Miller, USC, 7-5, 6-2

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

1. #78 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, def. Banikova/de Villiers, MSU, 8-4
2. Jocic/Schofield, USC, vs. Mayuk/Tsigvintseva, MSU, 4-6 suspended
3. Suzanna Mansour/Stojic, USC, def. Juskova/Ferancova, MSU, 8-4

Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2