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March 11, 2010

Coach Elkins
Miljana Jocic
Athletic Trainer Dawn Minton

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 20 South Carolina women’s tennis team (7-3, 2-0 SEC) will put its five-match unbeaten streak on the line starting Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., when it faces Alabama (6-5, 0-2 SEC) on Friday at 4 p.m. ET followed by Auburn (6-4, 0-2 SEC) on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

The Gamecocks enter the weekend coming off a stretch of playing four matches in less than a week. Despite the challenge of so many matches in a short amount of time, South Carolina won every contest, including two against teams that were ranked in the top 20 at the time in USF and Arkansas. On Tuesday, Carolina cruised past Wake Forest 5-2 for its fifth win a row.

South Carolina opened SEC play last weekend with a 5-2 triumph over LSU, dropping the doubles point to the Tigers but coming back to win five of six singles matches. Two days later, the Gamecocks took care of No. 15 Arkansas 6-1 to get off to a 2-0 start in league play.

Several Gamecocks head into the second week of SEC competition riding impressive winning streaks. Miljana Jocic leads the team in singles victories this season with a 19-4 record and is 8-1 this spring in dual matches having played every spot in the bottom half of the lineup so far. Jocic has won seven matches in a row with only one of the matches going to three sets. Dating back to the fall, Jocic has won 11 of her last 12 matches.

Dijana Stojic, who has the best spring record for South Carolina at 9-1, has won seven straight as well and has played every match this year at No. 2 singles. Going back to fall tournaments, Stojic has won 12 of 13 matches.

Adriana Pereira is currently enjoying a five-match undefeated streak with all five of the wins coming in straight sets and only one of the 10 sets she has played during that time has gone to a tiebreaker. Pereira is 6-1 in dual matches and has a 5-1 mark at the No. 6 singles position. Overall for the year, Pereira is 14-6.

Anya Morgina is looking to extend her three-match winning streak. Morgina has played every match this season at No. 3 singles and holds an 8-2 record at the position. Morgina is 13-6 for the entire season and along with Stojic, Jocic and Pereira, she hopes to stay undefeated in SEC matches.

At the No. 1 singles position, Ana Marija Zubori will look to stay perfect in SEC matches after winning both of her matches against LSU and Arkansas. Zubori won her 100th career match last week to become just the third player in school history to reach the century mark. Two more wins will give her 103 for her career and tie her with Lynn-Yin Tan for second place on the all-time list. She and Tan are currently tied for fourth in school history for career SEC victories with 26. Zubori is 17-8 in 2009-10 and 5-5 in duals.

Alabama and Auburn both suffered losses to Tennessee and Georgia during their opening weekend of conference play. Both, however, nearly pulled off upsets against then-No. 17 Georgia, falling by a 4-3 score in both instances. Tennessee, which played with just five players against both the Crimson Tide and Tigers, managed to defeat Auburn 6-1 and Alabama 5-2.

Last season, the Gamecocks registered a 6-1 victory over Alabama and defeated Auburn 5-2. South Carolina is 12-7 all-time against the Crimson Tide and has won three in a row in the series. The Gamecocks are 23-4 in 27 meetings with Auburn, but prior to last year’s victory, the Tigers won two straight over Carolina.

The Gamecocks have two ranked players in singles with Zubori at 72nd and Morgina at 111th. Alabama has one ranked player in singles with Alexa Guarachi (78) and Auburn’s Fani Chifchieva is 76th. In doubles, Alabama’s duo of Guarachi and Courtney McLane are 47th. Auburn and South Carolina have no ranked doubles teams, however, the Gamecocks’ top team of Zubori and Stojic defeated the 15th- and 18th-ranked teams as well as the No. 44 team during the past week.