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March 12, 2010

Coach Elkins
Anya Morgina

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The 20th-ranked Gamecock women’s tennis team (8-3, 3-0 SEC) won its sixth straight match Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., by defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide (6-6, 0-3 SEC) by a 4-3 score.

The Gamecocks took the doubles point by winning courts two and three. Anya Morgina and Adriana Pereira finished first at the No. 3 position with a dominating 8-2 win over Antonia Foehse and Meritt Emery. Alabama countered a minute later with Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane beating Ana Marija Zubori and Dijana Stojic 8-3 on court one.

South Carolina held a 5-3 advantage at No. 2 doubles with Paulina Bigos serving for Alabama. Bigos held serve and then she and her partner Alice Tunaru broke Rita Maisak’s serve to tie the match at 5-all. Tunaru then had her serve broken and Miljana Jocic followed with a hold for the Gamecocks to put Carolina on top 7-5. Bigos held and Maisak then had her best service game of the day to give South Carolina the 8-6 win.

South Carolina managed to fight its way to three victories in singles. Alabama tied the score at 1-all after Bigos downed Madeleine Saari-Byström at No. 4 singles 6-1, 6-2. Pereira put the Gamecocks back on top with a 7-5, 6-4 triumph over Tunaru on court six. Pereira came back from a 3-0 deficit in the second set to lead 4-3 before Tunaru tied the score at 4-all. Pereira then won the next two games to stay undefeated in SEC play.

Jocic pushed South Carolina ahead 3-1 with her 6-3, 6-3 victory over Foehse at the No. 5 spot to become the first 20-match winner this season for the Gamecocks. Jocic is now 20-4 and 9-1 in dual matches including a perfect 3-0 SEC record, and she is 6-0 playing at the fifth singles position as well.

Guarachi came back from a 6-2 loss in the first set to Zubori at No. 1 singles to win 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 to make the score 3-2 for the Gamecocks. Guarachi trailed 5-4 in the second set and was down 0-30 on her serve before digging in and finding a way to win the match.

Morgina provided the clinching point for South Carolina on court three with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win against Emery. In the third set, Morgina seemed to have the match well in hand with a 4-1 lead, but Emery managed to get back to 4-all. Morgina broke Emery to lead 5-4 on the changeover and then got down 0-40 on her serve before winning five straight points to lift the Gamecocks to victory. With the win, Morgina stayed undefeated in SEC play at No. 3 singles and she improved to 9-2 overall at the position.

The final match on court two between Stojic and McLane saw Stojic leading 3-2 in the third set when Morgina won her match. Stojic won the first set 6-4 and McLane took the second 7-5 in a tiebreaker. Stojic chose to withdraw from the match at the changeover once the team outcome had been decided in order to save her energy for the Gamecocks’ next contest Sunday at Auburn.

The Gamecocks will face Auburn at 2 p.m. ET with the Tigers coming off a 6-1 loss to Florida. Auburn is 6-5 overall on the year and now 0-3 in the SEC.

#20 South Carolina (8-3, 3-0 SEC) def. #69 Alabama (6-6, 0-3 SEC), 4-3

1. #78 Alexa Guarachi, UA, def. #72 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3
2. Courtney McLane, UA, def. Dijana Stojic, USC, 4-6, 7-6(5), 2-3 ret.
3. #111 Anya Morgina, USC, def. Meritt Emery, UA, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
4. Paulina Bigos, UA, def. Madeleine Saari-Byström, USC, 6-1, 6-2
5. Miljana Jocic, USC, def. Antonia Foehse, UA, 6-3, 6-3
6. Adriana Pereira, USC, def. Alice Tunaru, UA, 7-5, 6-4

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

1. #47 Guarachi/McLane, UA, def. Stojic/Zubori, USC, 8-3
2. Jocic/Rita Maisak, USC, def. Bigos/Tunaru, UA, 8-6
3. Morgina/Pereira, USC, def. Foehse/Emery, UA, 8-2

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2