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May 13, 2010

NCAA Tournament Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader | NCAA Tournament Central

Coach Elkins – Previewing the NCAA Tournament
Ana Marija Zubori
#1 Singles/#1 Doubles
Dijana Stojic
#2 Singles/#1 Doubles
Anya Morgina
#3 Singles/#2 Doubles
Miljana Jocic
#4 Singles/#2 Doubles
Adriana Pereira
#5 Singles/#3 Doubles
Madeleine Saari-Byström
#6 Singles/#3 Doubles

Up Next

No. 18 South Carolina (16-8) will take on No. 54 TCU (10-16) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 14, in Tallahassee, Fla. No. 15 Florida State (14-10) hosts No. 68 North Florida (20-2) in the other half of the Tallahassee regional.

South Carolina’s NCAA Tournament Lineup

Doubles (Position Record, Dual Record)
1. #15 Ana Marija Zubori/Dijana Stojic (13-8, 13-8)
2. Miljana Jocic/Anya Morgina (3-0, 5-2)
3. Adriana Pereira/Madeleine Saari-Byström (2-1, 2-1)

Singles (Position Record, Dual Record)
1. #39 Ana Marija Zubori (12-11, 12-11)
2. #87 Dijana Stojic (17-6, 17-6)
3. #111 Anya Morgina (14-8, 14-8)
4. Miljana Jocic (7-2, 16-4)
5. Adriana Pereira (9-1, 16-4)
6. Madeleine Saari-Byström (4-0, 8-5)

TCU’s NCAA Tournament Lineup

Doubles (Position Record, Dual Record)
1. #46 Kayla Duncan/Katariina Tuohimaa (13-6, 13-6)
2. Nina Munch-Soegaard/Maria Babanova (8-5, 8-6)
3. Gaby Mastromarino/Idunn Hertzberg (10-8, 10-8)

Singles (Position Record, Dual Record)
1. #55 Nina Munch-Soegaard (14-12, 14-12)
2. Katariina Tuohimaa (4-3, 17-9)
3. Kayla Duncan (4-2, 12-13)
4. Idunn Hertzberg (9-16, 9-17)
5. Gaby Mastromarino (1-7, 10-13)
6. Shalini Sahoo (0-0, 1-5)

Zubori, Stojic Receive NCAA Bids

Senior Ana Marija Zubori received a bid to the NCAA Singles Championship and will pair with sophomore Dijana Stojic for the NCAA Doubles Championship. It marks the second year in a row Zubori will represent South Carolina in both tournaments and she is the first player in school history to play in both draws in back-to-back years. For Stojic, it will be her first appearance in either championship event. The singles tournament begins May 26 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., while the doubles starts May 27. Sixty-four players compete in singles, while the doubles draw consists of 32 duos.

A Program of Consistency

South Carolina extended its streak of consecutive NCAA appearances to 16 in 2010, the 11th-longest active streak in the country. During the prior 15 years, the Gamecocks advanced beyond the first round 13 times, reached the round of 16 three times and made the quarterfinals once. Below is a look at the current streaks.

Rank School Streak
1. California 29
Stanford 29
4. Texas 28
5. Florida 24
Georgia 24
7. Arizona State 23
Pepperdine 23
9. Duke 21
10. Southern California 19
11. South Carolina 16
Vanderbilt 16
Tennessee 16

NCAA Team History

The Gamecocks are making their 20th NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship appearance in the event’s now 29th year of existence. South Carolina owns an all-time record of 19-19 in the tournament. South Carolina’s best showing came in the first championship in 1982 when it reached the quarterfinals after defeating Florida and in 2009 when it also made the quarters after downing Washington. South Carolina has made a total of six Sweet 16 appearances (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009). South Carolina is also one of only 18 teams in the country to make at least 20 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The other 17 include: California (29), Stanford (29), UCLA (29), Florida (28), Southern California (28), Texas (28), Pepperdine (27), Arizona State (25), Miami (Fla.) (25), Georgia (24), Duke (22), Indiana (22), San Diego State (21), Northwestern (21), Arizona (20), Kentucky (20), Tennessee (20).

NCAA Individual History

South Carolina has placed either a singles competitor or doubles team in 23 of 29 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Laura Bernstein remains the only Gamecock to advance to the round of 16 in singles, doing so in 1983 in Albuquerque, N.M. In doubles, Helen Crook and Victoria Davies are the only South Carolina duo to go as far as the semifinals, which happened in 1994 in Athens, Ga. If one were to count the individual and team tournaments, South Carolina has participated in at least one NCAA event every year since 1990, a streak of 21 appearances in a row.

NCAA Championship Format History

The NCAA first held a championship for women’s tennis in 1982 in Salt Lake City. For the first six championships, the field consisted of just 16 teams and expanded to 20 starting in 1988. From 1988 to 1995, eight of the 20 teams selected played first-round matches and the other 12 received byes. From 1996 to 1998, the NCAA changed the format to include 58 teams, with 10 receiving automatic bids to the 16-team championship. The other six spots were determined through tournaments in six regions (East, Central, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, West) with eight schools in each. In 1999, the NCAA adopted what is still the current format of a 64-team bracket where each team must play every round. First- and second-round matches are played at 16 campus sites with four teams each, and the round of 16 and beyond is held at one institution. Starting in 2006, the NCAA combined the men’s and women’s round of 16 and beyond at the same location over the same time frame and included the individual championships there as well.

All-SEC Gamecocks

Senior Ana Marija Zubori and sophomore Dijana Stojic picked up All-SEC honors this season, with Zubori making the first team and Stojic the second team. For Zubori, it was her second first-team accolade in a row and it made her the first player in school history to achieve first-team status multiple times. Zubori is also one of only three players in the history of the program to earn a spot on the All-SEC First Team. Stojic’s second-team honor marked her first appearance on the all-conference team. Stojic also snagged a spot on the SEC All-Tournament Team thanks to her impressive victories in singles and doubles against Georgia that helped South Carolina advance to the semifinals.

SEC Tournament Recap

The Gamecocks reached the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for just the third time in school history and the first time since 2002. South Carolina fell to Florida in the semis 4-0, but not before defeating Kentucky and three-time defending tournament champion Georgia. South Carolina’s win against Georgia snapped a 12-match losing streak to the Bulldogs and gave Carolina its first win over UGA in Athens, Ga., since 1996.

Thursday, April 22
#8 LSU def. #9 Alabama, 4-2
#5 South Carolina def. #12 Kentucky, 4-0
#6 Vanderbilt def. #11 Mississippi State, 4-0
#7 Arkansas def. #10 Auburn, 4-0

Friday, April 23
#1 Florida def. #8 LSU, 4-0
#5 South Carolina def. #4 Georgia, 4-1
#3 Tennessee def. #6 Vanderbilt, 4-2
#2 Ole Miss vs. #7 Arkansas, 4-2

Saturday, April 24
#1 Florida def. #5 South Carolina, 4-0
#3 Tennessee def. #2 Ole Miss, 4-3

Sunday, April 25
#1 Florida def. #3 Tennessee, 4-1

Zubori Named SEC Player of the Week

Senior Ana Marija Zubori snagged SEC Player of the Week honors March 31. Zubori posted an undefeated record at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles in helping the Gamecocks down Illinois, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Zubori began the week by clinching South Carolina’s 4-3 victory over Illinois as the last match on court with a straight-set victory against Megan Fudge. She then followed up by teaming with Dijana Stojic to topple the then-No. 12 doubles team in the country of Kristi Boxx and Karen Nijssen of Ole Miss and then beat Boxx in straight sets in helping South Carolina to another 4-3 decision. Against Mississippi State, Zubori and Stojic won 8-4 and Zubori won in straight sets again to finish her impressive week.

Pereira Earns First SEC Honor

Freshman Adriana Pereira picked up the first conference award of her career when she was named SEC Freshman of the Week on April 7. Pereira helped the Gamecocks to a 7-0 win over Kentucky and a 5-2 triumph against Vanderbilt. It marked the first time South Carolina defeated both schools in the same season since 1999. Pereira posted an undefeated record at No. 5 singles and No. 3 doubles with partner Anya Morgina. Pereira upended Elle Coldiron of Kentucky 6-1, 6-0 and then downed Rachael Dillon from Vanderbilt 7-6(3), 6-3. In doubles, she and Morgina topped Coldiron and Nicole Scates 8-1 and then defeated Hannah Blatt and Dillon 8-6.

Pereira Ties School Record

Freshman Adriana Pereira tied a school record this season when she recorded nine regular-season SEC singles victories. Natasa Vuckovic set the record in 2007 and Ana Marija Zubori tied it last season. Pereira played every position in the bottom half of the singles lineup in getting to nine wins.

Morgina Receives Department Honor

Sophomore Anya Morgina received special recognition at the athletics department’s annual Gamecock Gala when she was named the New Female Student-Athlete of the Year. Morgina has played every dual match at No. 3 singles this spring, where she owns a record of 14-8. Overall, she is 19-12 in singles and has been ranked as high as No. 69 in the country. Other nominees for the award included Kimberly McCormack (equestrian), Valerie Nainima (basketball), Amanda Strang (golf) and Sara Hartley (cross country).

SEC Standings

Eastern Division
Team (Rank) SEC Pct. All Pct.
Florida (3) 11-0 1.000 24-2 .923
Tennessee (14) 8-3 .727 16-8 .667
Georgia (19) 8-3 .727 12-8 .600
South Carolina (18) 7-4 .636 16-8 .667
Vanderbilt (28) 7-4 .636 13-9 .591
Kentucky 0-11 .000 2-20 .091
Western Division
Team (Rank) SEC Pct. All Pct.
Ole Miss (17) 8-3 .727 15-5 .750
Arkansas (24) 6-5 .545 17-9 .654
LSU (70) 4-7 .363 10-15 .400
Alabama (69) 3-8 .273 10-12 .455
Auburn (57) 3-8 .273 9-11 .450
Mississippi State 1-10 .091 9-13 .419

Zubori on the Career Charts

Senior Ana Marija Zubori’s name appears all throughout many of the Gamecocks’ career top-10 lists. With 108 singles victories, Zubori is second in school history behind only Rita Winebarger, who accumulated 127 from 1984 to 1988. With a 108-38 record, Zubori’s 74.0 percent winning percentage in singles stands in eighth place. Her 82 doubles triumphs ranks fourth and with 190 combined victories in singles and doubles, Zubori is third behind Winebarger (198) and Lynn-Yin Tan (204).

Career-High Singles Ranking for Stojic

Sophomore Dijana Stojic began the fall season ranked 114th in the nation, the first time she received a ranking in her career. She disappeared from the rankings until the April 13 edition had her pegged at No. 93 and she has since moved as high as 83rd, a career best. She is currently ranked No. 87. Stojic earned a couple of key victories against ranked opponents to get back in the rankings, first defeating then-No. 27 Jackie Wu of Vanderbilt and then-No. 67 Maria Sorbello from Tennessee. Stojic earned another win over a ranked opponent early in the spring season when she upended then-No. 65 Keri Wong from Clemson.

Three Gamecocks Ranked in Singles

The May 3 ITA singles rankings featured three Gamecocks with Ana Marija Zubori coming in at 39th, Dijana Stojic at 87th and Anya Morgina at 111th. The 2010 season is the first since 2002 to have three Gamecocks appear in the singles rankings at the same time. In 2002, Kathy Boyanovich, Katarina Markovski (now Petrovic, the Gamecocks’ associate head coach) and Jennifer Radman all held national singles rankings at the same time. Radman finished the season at No. 50, Markovski was 70th and Boyanovich earned a ranking of 95th.

Stojic/Zubori Ranked Among Top 20

Ana Marija Zubori and Dijana Stojic are ranked No. 15 in the nation for doubles in the May 3 edition of the ITA rankings. Zubori and Stojic have been as high as 14th this spring, the highest ranking in doubles for a Gamecock duo since Zubori and Gira Schofield were rated ninth in the spring of 2008. Zubori and Schofield began that year ranked ninth in the nation, the second highest ranking in school history since South Carolina joined the SEC for the 1991-92 academic year.

Gamecocks Ranked 18th

South Carolina’s No. 18 national ranking heading into the NCAA Tournament marks the Gamecocks’ seventh consecutive appearance in the ITA’s top 20. In April, the Gamecocks were ranked 15th, their best ranking since 2002 when they were as high as 12th and finished the year 16th. Last season after making a run to the NCAA quarterfinals, South Carolina earned the No. 17 spot in the final rankings.

Success Among the Best

Since first competing in the SEC in 1992, the Gamecocks have enjoyed consistent success in a league that is arguably the toughest in the nation. Since the league expanded to 12 teams, the Gamecocks are one of six SEC schools to win 100 league matches, and their .550 (115-94) winning percentage ranks fifth in the conference. South Carolina has now posted a winning league record in 12 of 19 seasons. Below is a list of teams’ SEC regular-season records since the league expanded to 12 teams in 1991-92. The list is sorted from best to worst winning percentage.

Rank Team W L Pct.
1. Florida 197 12 .943
2. Georgia 172 37 .823
3. Vanderbilt 142 66 .683
4. Tennessee 133 76 .636
5. South Carolina 115 94 .550
6. Ole Miss 109 100 .522
7. Kentucky 95 114 .455
8. LSU 76 132 .365
9. Alabama 70 139 .335
10. Auburn 56 152 .269
11. Arkansas 59 150 .282
12. Mississippi State 28 180 .135

Pereira Steps Up

South Carolina lost freshman Josefin Andersson for the season when she ruptured her Achilles during the second set against Clemson. The incident opened the door for freshman Adriana Pereira to showcase her skills. She played in two matches prior to Andersson’s injury, going 1-1. Upon entering the lineup permanently, Pereira won her first eight matches and is currently 16-4 this spring. She also ended up tying the school record for regular-season SEC singles wins with a 9-2 record and her 15 combined SEC singles and doubles victories is the third most in school history. For the entire season, Pereira has a 24-9 record playing singles.

Jocic Enjoying Impressive Season

Gamecock junior Miljana Jocic is in the midst of her best season since coming to South Carolina. She had her freshman year cut short by a knee injury to finish 20-8 in singles. As a sophomore, she struggled through the first half of the spring and at one point her record dipped to 10-13. She managed to pick her game up a notch to finish the campaign at an even 16-16. Jocic came back in the fall to post an 11-3 record and won her flight at the SEC Fall Coaches Classic while making the finals of her draw at the Furman Fall Classic. This spring, she is second on the team in dual match victories with a 16-4 record and leads the team in overall wins with a 27-7 mark. Jocic was named the team’s MVP this season.

Strength in the Bottom Half

In the previous three seasons, the Gamecocks relied heavily on the top half of their lineup. While South Carolina has remained strong in the top half this season, the Gamecocks have been impressive at Nos. 4, 5 and 6 singles. The Gamecocks are a combined 45-19 (.703) at four through six while maintaining a 43-25 (.632) slate at one through three. For the NCAA Tournament, Miljana Jocic is 7-2 playing at four, Adriana Pereira is 9-1 at five and Madeleine Saari-Byström is 4-0 at six for a combined record of 20-3 (.870).

Zubori and NCAA Tournament Matches

Senior Ana Marija Zubori has proven throughout her career that she loves playing NCAA Tournament matches. In the previous three seasons, Zubori is a combined 6-0 in NCAA matches with all six coming at No. 2 singles. She won her match in a first-round loss to Wichita State in 2007 and posted a victory against VCU in the first round in 2008. Her second match was suspended after Carolina fell to Georgia 4-0 in the second round. Last season, she defeated opponents from Wake Forest, Tennessee and Washington to help put the Gamecocks in the quarterfinals. Versus Georgia in the quarters, she won her match in a 4-3 South Carolina loss.

Stojic and NCAA Tournament Matches

Sophomore Dijana Stojic posted a number of NCAA Tournament victories in her first year as a Gamecock in 2009. In fact, she led the team in victories during the postseason with a 7-1 record between singles and doubles. She won all her singles matches in South Carolina’s triumphs over Wake Forest, Tennessee and Washington. Her lone loss came when she was the last match on court against Georgia and fell in an exhausting three-set match. Stojic and 2009 senior Suzanna Mansour entered the NCAA Tournament last year with a mere 4-4 record but dominated at the No. 3 position by going 4-0.

Looking for Strong NCAA Doubles Again

A large part of South Carolina’s success in the NCAA Tournament last season was due to its outstanding play in doubles. In all four of the Gamecocks’ matches, South Carolina managed to win the doubles point each time. While Carolina did not win a match at No. 1 doubles, it was 4-0 at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. Miljana Jocic played with Gira Schofield at two, while Dijana Stojic played three with Suzanna Mansour.

Plenty of Close Calls

South Carolina has taken plenty of close losses this season. In fact, six of the Gamecocks’ eight losses have come in 4-3 decisions. South Carolina’s final match of the regular season ended as a 4-0 loss to Florida since the two coaches agreed to suspend any matches on court once the outcome had been decided. The Gamecocks also lost to Florida in the SEC Tournament semifinals by a 4-0 score. With the exception of the Florida matches and a 4-3 loss to Washington, South Carolina has registered at least three victories in singles every time it has taken the court this year.

All-America Criteria

All-America teams are awarded in tennis for singles and doubles play. No voting takes place, so the teams are decided based on the following criteria:

1. Top 16 seed in NCAA Singles Championship, or
2. Reach round of 16 in NCAA Singles Championship, or
3. Finish in top 20 of final ITA rankings

1. Top eight seed in NCAA Doubles Championship, or
2. Reach quarterfinals of NCAA Doubles Championship, or
3. Finish in top 10 of final ITA rankings