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April 1, 2010

Coach Elkins
Ana Marija Zubori

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s No. 19 women’s tennis team (12-4, 5-1 SEC) will host Kentucky (2-14, 0-6 SEC) on Friday at 2 p.m. followed by No. 24 Vanderbilt (9-6, 4-2 SEC) on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches will take place at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center.

The Gamecocks posted three consecutive victories last week against Illinois, Ole Miss and Mississippi State and have won four straight overall. After losing the doubles point to Illinois, Ana Marija Zubori clinched the win as the last match on court at No. 1 singles for a 4-3 decision. Dijana Stojic provided another 4-3 triumph for South Carolina on court two against Ole Miss, winning 6-1 in the third set. Carolina won handily, 5-0, in hosting Mississippi State, winning the doubles point and four matches at the USC Field House.

Zubori enters the weekend as the reigning SEC Player of the Week following her undefeated record at the top positions in singles and doubles last week. She is currently riding a four-match winning streak in singles and is 21-10 this season. Zubori is the seventh player in school history to win at least 20 matches four straight seasons and holds a national ranking of 75th.

Stojic looks to add to her win total this season and improve on her impressive 13-3 record at No. 2 singles. She and Zubori are tied for the team lead in doubles victories with 19 and the two currently hold a No. 24 national ranking in doubles. Zubori and Stojic are 14-5 as a duo and 11-5 in duals at No. 1 doubles.

Anya Morgina, Miljana Jocic and Adriana Pereira all have great records for South Carolina this spring as well. Morgina, ranked No. 107, has played every match at No. 3 singles and is 13-3 there and 18-7 overall. Jocic leads the team in overall wins with a 23-5 record and is 12-2 in duals having played every position in the bottom half. Pereira is 10-3 this spring and 18-8 for the year and has also played all three spots in the lower half of the lineup.

Kentucky is the only winless team in the conference after three weekends of SEC play. The Wildcats’ two victories this year came against Alabama at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in January and Eastern Kentucky less than two weeks ago. In UK’s last SEC match versus Alabama, the Wildcats fell 4-3 to the Crimson Tide. Kentucky’s No. 1 singles player Megan Broderick is the one ranked player on UK’s roster at No. 98.

Vanderbilt snapped a three-match losing streak last weekend by snagging wins over Alabama and Auburn. Similar to South Carolina, the Commodores have seen five of their six losses come in 4-3 decisions. All four of the Gamecocks’ defeats this year have been 4-3 scores. Vandy’s two losses in SEC play were to Ole Miss and Georgia. Before taking on South Carolina, the Commodores will challenge No. 3 Florida in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday.

The Commodores have several players listed among the ITA’s top 125. Catherine Newman tops the list at No. 23 followed closely by Jackie Wu at No. 27. Chelsea Preeg is ranked 82nd as well. For doubles, Wu and Preeg are ranked just below Stojic and Zubori at No. 25, and Heather Steinbauer combines with Erica Robertson to form the 32nd-ranked team in the country.

The historical series with Kentucky favors the Wildcats at a 14-13 margin. South Carolina beat Kentucky on the road 5-2 last season and then beat UK again at the SEC Tournament by a 4-2 score. With Vanderbilt, the Commodores are 15-11 against South Carolina, winning 5-2 in Nashville, Tenn., a year ago. The Gamecocks won 4-3 the last time Vanderbilt came to Columbia, S.C., in 2008.