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April 18, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The 20th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team ended the regular season Saturday with a 4-2 loss to No. 16 Florida in Gainesville, Fla. South Carolina dropped to 13-9 and 6-5 in the SEC while Florida improved to 13-7 and 7-4 in the league to secure a first-round bye in next week’s SEC Tournament in Fayetteville, Ark.

Despite the loss, the Gamecocks will enter the league tourney with the No. 6 seed. South Carolina will face either Alabama or Kentucky pending the outcome Auburn-Alabama which begins at 6 p.m. ET in Tuscaloosa, Ala. A win by Auburn would pit the Gamecocks against the Crimson Tide, but an Alabama victory will hand the No. 11 seed to Kentucky.

The Gators won the doubles point by sweeping the top two positions. South Carolina took court three by an 8-1 score with Miljana Jocic and Suzanna Mansour defeating Brooke Allen and Lauren Wolken. The Gamecock duo lost the first game before winning eight straight.

On court one, South Carolina’s Ana Marija Zubori and Natasa Vuckovic fell behind 3-0 to Marrit Boonstra and Joanna Mather before eventually taking a 5-4 lead. The Gamecocks still led 6-5 heading to the changeover, but Boonstra and Mather claimed three straight games to pick up the victory.

Gira Schofield and Dijana Stojic trailed Jessica Alexander and Anastasia Revzina 5-3 at No. 2 doubles, but Schofield managed to hold serve after a long deuce game to keep Carolina in the match. Alexander and Revzina, though, won the next two games for a commanding 7-4 advantage and later closed out the match with a break of Schofield’s serve.

Zubori answered for South Carolina with a convincing victory against Revzina at No. 2 singles by scores of 6-2, 6-1. Zubori ended the regular season with a 9-2 SEC record at the second position and went 18-3 for the year at two singles.

Florida took a 2-1 lead after Alexander put away Vuckovic 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 4 spot. With the first set tied at 1-all, Alexander won 10 consecutive games to go ahead 5-0 in the second set before Vuckovic won two straight games.

Mansour tallied South Carolina’s final point at six singles with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Allen. Soon afterward, Mather added UF’s third point with a 6-4, 6-0 triumph over Stojic at the No. 3 slot. Stojic led 4-1 in the first set before losing 11 straight games to Mather.

With a 3-2 lead, Boonstra provided the clinching point for the Gators at No. 1 singles. After winning the first set 6-4 versus Schofield, she went ahead 4-0 and later 5-2 in the second. After Schofield took another game to make it 5-3, Boonstra closed out the match in the following game with a lob that just escaped Schofield’s reach.

The match at No. 5 singles was suspended once Florida clinched the match. Barbara Pinterova won the first set against Jocic 6-2 and the score was 5-all in the second when play was stopped.

#16 Florida (13-7, 7-4 SEC) def. #20 South Carolina (13-9, 6-5 SEC), 4-2

1. #6 Marrit Boonstra, UF, def. #41 Gira Schofield, USC, 6-4, 6-3
2. #51 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. #40 Anastasia Revzina, UF, 6-2, 6-1
3. Joanna Mather, UF, def. Dijana Stojic, USC, 6-4, 6-0
4. Jessica Alexander, UF, def. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, 6-1, 6-2
5. Miljana Jocic, USC, vs. Barbara Pinterova, UF, 2-6, 5-5 suspended
6. Suzanna Mansour, USC, def. Brooke Allen, UF, 6-3, 6-0

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

1. #57 Boonstra/Mather, UF, def. #40 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, 8-6
2. #50 Alexander/Revzina, UF, def. Schofield/Stojic, USC, 8-5
3. Jocic/Mansour, USC, def. Allen/Lauren Wolken, UF, 8-1

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2