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March 3, 2010

Coach Elkins
Madeleine Saari-Byström

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women’s tennis team scored a 5-2 victory over No. 20-ranked USF on Wednesday in Columbia, S.C., to improve to 4-3 on the season. The Bulls dropped to 5-3 with the loss.

South Carolina played its best doubles of the season thus far, sweeping all three positions for a 1-0 lead heading to singles. Anya Morgina and Adriana Pereira defeated Janette Bejlkova and Lauren Shumate on court three 8-5 for the Gamecocks’ first win. At the top position, Ana Marija Zubori and Dijana Stojic held on for a 9-7 triumph over the nation’s No. 15-ranked tandem of Melissa Koning and Irene Rehberger to clinch the point.

With the point decided, Madeleine Saari-Byström and Miljana Jocic were tied with USF’s Allyn Mueller and Ecaterina Vasenina 5-all at No. 2 doubles. The Carolina duo had trailed 2-0 before coming back. Jocic and Saari-Byström then won the critical 11th game to lead 6-5 and went on to win 8-6.

South Carolina got off to a strong start in singles play, winning the first sets on courts two, four, five and six. Pereira made short work of Mueller at the sixth spot, winning 6-1, 6-2 to put the Gamecocks ahead 2-0. The Bulls got on the board with Rehberger’s 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 triumph over Zubori on court one to cut the deficit to 2-1.

At 6:12 p.m., the four matches left on court were suspended due to darkness and play was moved inside. Heading to the USC Field House, Stojic had split sets with Koning at No. 2 singles, Morgina trailed Vasenina 2-1 in the third at the third spot, Saari-Byström was down 2-1 in the third to Bejlkova at four singles, and Jocic and Jessica Zok were tied 5-all in the second at the No. 5 spot with the first set going to Jocic.

Play restarted indoors at 6:36 p.m. and Jocic wasted no time winning the next two games against Zok to snag a 6-4, 7-5 victory to put Carolina on top 3-1.

Saari-Byström provided the winning point for the Gamecocks. Trailing 4-1 in the third set, Saari-Bystöm rallied to make it 5-3 against Bejlkova and then claimed four straight games to take the match 6-1, 6-7(4), 7-5. In the 12th game of the third, Saari-Byström ended up winning on her fifth match point of the game and her 13th overall for the match.

Stojic added to the final score for South Carolina, picking up a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 victory over Koning, while Vasenina won her match versus Morgina 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 to give USF its second and final point.

The Gamecocks open up SEC play Friday hosting LSU at 2 p.m. and No. 15 Arkansas at 1 p.m. Sunday.

#58 South Carolina (4-3) def. #20 USF (5-3), 5-2

1. #35 Irene Rehberger, USF, def. #72 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3
2. Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Melissa Koning, USF, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4
3. Ecaterina Vasenina, USF, def. #111 Anya Morgina, USC, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
4. Madeleine Saari-Byström, USC, def. Janette Bejlkova, USF, 6-1, 6-7(4), 7-5
5. Miljana Jocic, USC, def. Jessica Zok, USF, 6-4, 7-5
6. Adriana Pereira, USC, def. Allyn Mueller, USF, 6-1, 6-2

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

1. Stojic/Zubori, USC, def. #15 Koning/Rehberg, USF, 9-7
2. Jocic/Saari-Bystöm, USC, def. Mueller/Vasenina, USF, 8-6
3. Morgina/Pereira, USC, def. Bejlkova/Lauren Shumate, USF, 8-5

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2