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May 9, 2009

Head Coach Arlo Elkins | Senior

Clinching the Doubles (Jocic/Schofield) | Clinching the Match (Stojic)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 22nd-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday with a 4-0 win over No. 40 Wake Forest (13-13) in Knoxville, Tenn. The Gamecocks (15-10) next face the winner of No. 10 Tennessee and East Tennessee State at 1 p.m. Sunday for the right to compete in the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, starting May 15.

“We came out and took care of business today,” South Carolina head coach Arlo Elkins said. “This team has worked extremely hard since the SEC Tournament; as hard as any team I can remember in quite some time. The result of that hard work was quite evident today. We’re very much looking forward to a great opportunity on Sunday.”

The Gamecocks won the doubles point by claiming positions two and three for the early 1-0 lead. At three, Dijana Stojic and Suzanna Mansour stormed ahead on Ryann Cutillo and Katarina Reveche 5-0, but the Wake duo responded by winning four straight games. South Carolina then went ahead 6-4 and later 7-5 before winning 8-5.

On court two, Gira Schofield and Miljana Jocic fell behind 4-2 versus Emilee Malvehy and Aileen Davis. Schofield and Jocic picked up their games and ran off five games in a row for a commanding 7-4 advantage. After the Demon Deacons cut the deficit to 7-5, Schofield served out the match for an 8-5 victory.

Just as singles play started, a brief rain shower suspended play. After more than an hour delay attempting to dry the courts, play was moved indoors when tournament officials determined more rain was on the way.

The Gamecocks snagged their first point in singles at the No. 2 position where Ana Marija Zubori defeated Sierra Poske 6-3, 6-1. Zubori trailed 3-2 in the first set before winning four consecutive games to take the set. In the second, she won the first two games before surrendering a game to Poske. She then closed it out by winning the next four games to record her 20th dual match victory of the season.

Schofield made the score 3-0 after taking care of Sasha Kulikova at the top slot 6-2, 6-3. Schofield got behind 2-0 in the second set before recovering to snatch her 21st win of the season. It also propelled Schofield into the top 10 on the Gamecocks’ career list for singles victories with 86.

Stojic provided the final point for South Carolina at No. 3 singles. After winning the first set handily 6-2 over Malvehy, she faced a 3-0 hole in the second, but came back to tie the score 3-all. Malvehy, though, won the next three games to force a third set. Stojic dominated the third the same way she did the first. She ended the match win an overhead smash at the net on a short ball to put the Gamecocks in the second round for the 13th time in their 15-year streak of NCAA appearances.

“Everyone played very well,” South Carolina freshman Dijana Stojic said. “I was very excited to have the chance to clinch our match today and thankfully it worked out. It’s been a great experience for me playing in the NCAA Tournament and I’m happy I was able to help the team advance.”

The remaining matches at positions four, five and six were suspended once Stojic clinched the victory for South Carolina.

#22 South Carolina (15-10) def. #40 Wake Forest (13-13), 4-0

1. #43 Gira Schofield, USC, def. #65 Sasha Kulikova, WFU, 6-2, 6-3
2. #48 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, def. Sierra Poske, WFU, 6-3, 6-1
3. Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Emilee Malvehy, WFU, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
4. Natasa Vuckovic, USC, vs. Christian Tara, WFU, 6-7, 1-5 suspended
5. Miljana Jocic, USC, vs. Katarina Reveche, WFU, 4-1 suspended
6. Suzanna Mansour, USC, vs. Ryann Cutillo, WFU, 1-1 suspended

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3

1. #27 Vuckovic/Zubori, USC, vs. #80 Kulikova/Poske, WFU, 7-6 suspended
2. Jocic/Schofield, USC, def. Malvehy/Aileen Davis, WFU, 8-5
3. Mansour/Stojic, USC, def. Cutillo/Reveche, WFU, 8-5

Order of Finish: 3, 2