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Jan. 25, 2010

Coach Elkins

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 17 South Carolina women’s tennis team will open the 2010 season Tuesday hosting No. 72 Furman at 5 p.m. at the Field House.

The Gamecocks hope to repeat the success they had in the 2009 season when they reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. Carolina ended the campaign ranked where it starts this year following a 17-11 record and a 6-5 mark in the Southeastern Conference.

Gamecock senior Ana Marija Zubori is ranked No. 38 in the nation following a 12-3 record in the fall. She is four victories away from becoming the third player in school history to reach the century plateau. Sophomore Anya Morgina is South Carolina’s other ranked player at No. 69 and was 5-4 in the fall.

In addition to Zubori, the Gamecocks return two other members of their quarterfinal team, including junior Miljana Jocic and sophomore Dijana Stojic. Jocic had a productive fall with an 11-3 record, while Stojic ended her fall season with three consecutive wins.

South Carolina has four additional newcomers besides Morgina, who transferred from Indiana State, and all four are true freshmen. Josefin Andersson and Madeleine Saari-Bystrom both hail from Sweden, Adriana Pereira is from Paraguay and Rita Maisak calls Belarus home. In fall singles tournaments, Andersson and Pereira were 8-5, Saari-Bystrom went 5-6 and Maisak was 5-5.

Furman enters Tuesday’s match having lost its season opener to Winthrop 4-3 on Saturday. Junior Monica Arguello leads the Paladins at No. 1 singles, beginning the spring ranked No. 84 in the nation. She recorded wins in singles and doubles against Winthrop.

South Carolina hits the road for its next match against No. 20 Michigan on Friday in its first match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. The Gamecocks play either No. 19 Arkansas or No. 24 Washington the following day.