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April 3, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The No. 30 South Carolina women’s tennis team extended its unbeaten streak to four matches Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., with a 5-2 victory over 15th-ranked Arkansas. The Gamecocks improved to 11-7 overall and 4-3 in the SEC with the win while the Razorbacks dipped to 9-6 and 4-3 in the league.

South Carolina set the tone early by sweeping all three doubles positions for just the second time this season. Gira Schofield and Miljana Jocic won first at the second slot over Aurelija MIseviciute and Ela Kaluder by an 8-4 score. After taking a 4-2 lead, Schofield and Jocic surrendered two straight games to Arkansas before ripping off four games in a row for the win over the No. 62-ranked doubles team.

Suzanna Mansour and Dijana Stojic clinched the doubles point for the Gamecocks on court three. After going ahead 6-4, the two won a tightly contested 11th game to lead 7-4. Arkansas closed the margin to 7-5 before Mansour and Stojic closed it out for an 8-5 victory and a 1-0 South Carolina lead heading to singles play.

The final match on court one saw Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Marija Zubori of South Carolina leading the No. 29 duo of Nanar Airapetian and Anouk Tigu 7-6 before the Razorback duo evened the score. Vuckovic and Zubori, though, countered by winning the next two games to complete the sweep with a 9-7 triumph.

“I thought our doubles play was as good as its been all year today,” Gamecock head coach Arlo Elkins said. “We came out with great intensity and it set the tone for the rest of the day. I’m very proud of our team because everyone contributed in this win.”

Zubori continued her impressive play this spring by winning first in singles with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Tigu at No. 2 singles. Zubori went down 2-1 in the second set before recovering to take a 3-2 lead and later was up 4-3. She could do no wrong in the final two games, breaking Tigu at love to lead 5-3 and then played a nearly flawless service game to earn the win. Zubori is 24-3 overall this season and 16-1 at the second singles position, including a 7-0 record in the SEC.

Vuckovic came through next for Carolina on court four. Her ball placement around the court frustrated Carbone the entire match en route to a 6-3, 6-2 victory. It was the fourth win in a row for Vuckovic and upped her record to 18-10 and 5-2 in league play.

Stojic clinched the match for the Gamecocks at No. 3 singles, upending Kaluder 6-4, 6-3. Stojic actually had a 5-0 advantage in the second set before Kaluder began creeping back in by winning three consecutive games, but Stojic broke her serve in the ninth game to snag her fifth win in a row.

Mansour scored South Carolina’s final point of the day on court six to make the score 5-0. After blanking Lukomskaya 6-0 in the first set, she dropped the second 6-2 to force a third. Mansour then jumped ahead 5-1 in the third before eventually winning 6-3 for her second SEC win a row.

Airpetian scored the Razorbacks’ first point at five singles. She lost the first set 6-1 to Jocic but came back to win the second 6-3. With the match already decided, the two played a super tiebreaker for the third set, and Airapetian claimed it 10-4.

Court one finished last with Miseviciute defeating Schofield 6-3, 7-6(6). Schofield held a 5-4 advantage and had a chance to take the set with Miseviciute serving at 30-40, but she saved the point and took the game. Miseviciute then broke Schofield’s serve and Schofield returned the favor to force a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Miseviciute went up 3-0, but Schofield responded by winning six straight points. Then it was Miseviciute’s turn for a streak, as she won five straight points to steal the set.

South Carolina next faces No. 24 LSU at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.

#30 South Carolina (11-7, 4-3 SEC) def. #15 Arkansas (9-6, 4-3 SEC), 5-2

1. #5 Aurelija Miseviciute, UA, def. #59 Gira Schofield, USC, 6-3, 7-6(6)
2. #52 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. #71 Anouk Tigu, UA, 6-2, 6-3
3. Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Ela Kaluder, UA, 6-4, 6-3
4. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, def. Emily Carbone, UA, 6-3, 6-2
5. Nanar Airapetian, UA, def. Miljana Jocic, USC, 1-6, 6-3, (10-4)
6. Suzanna Mansour, USC, def. Kate Lukomskaya, UA, 6-0, 2-6, 6-3

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

1. #63 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, def. #29 Airapetian/Tigu, UA, 9-7
2. Jocic/Schofield, USC, def. #62 Miseviciute/Kaluder, UA, 8-4
3. Mansour/Stojic, USC, def. Carbone/Lukomskaya, UA, 8-5

Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1