Jan. 15, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis opens its spring campaign with a doubleheader on Sun., Jan. 16, at the USC Indoor Facility. The Gamecocks host Wofford at 10 a.m. followed by a 4 p.m. match against Elon. Ranked No. 56 in the ITA preseason poll, South Carolina opens the spring schedule with seven returning letterwinners and welcomes four newcomers to the roster.
“[Assistant coach] Matt [Lucas] and I are extremely excited to started in our first season as Gamecock coaches,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “We’re excited to see the team in a dual-match environment, especially the new players we brought in this semester. This weekend will be a good test for us. The first matches of the season are always tricky, working out the first-match jitters. We have to come ready to play and compete in every match.”
Junior Ivan Machado emerged as the Gamecocks’ headliner in the fall. He finished with an 8-4 record that has him ranked 13th in the Carolinas Region entering the spring campaign. Two of his wins came against nationally-ranked opponents, including one inside the top 50. Machado advanced to the final of the Singles B bracket at the Duke Fab Four Invite to start the fall and closed his effort in the round of 16 at the ITA Carolinas Regional.
Sophomore Alexander Kostanov also caught the eye of the coaching staff as he fought to a 6-6 mark. He showed grit in a pair of losses to top-60 opponents and in a three-set, comeback win against Jullian Sullivan of NC State to advance to the 5th-place match in the Singles A bracket of the Duke Fab Four Invite.
Freshman Jake Bowling cut his college tennis teeth in the fall, collecting three wins. Three other student-athlete joined the team this semester, beginning with the top recruit in the state of South Carolina, Chip Cox. A four-star recruit, he was ranked as high as No. 36 in the nation and helped Myrtle Beach High to three straight state titles. Nick Jones arrived from Cardiff, Wales, as a Blue Chip recruit, despite playing limited tournaments in the U.S. Lewis Barnes rounds out the trio of this semester’s new faces, looking to return to the form that carried him to the doubles quarterfinals at Junior Wimbledon in 2008.
Wofford returns all nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished fifth in the Southern Conference, while adding eight newcomers to the roster. Seniors Paul Bartholomy and Michael Schecter paced the team last season with 10-10 records playing in the lower half of the singles lineup.
For Elon, senior Philip Nemec leads the way after turning in a 10-13 record in the No. 1 singles position last season. This season, he teams with fellow senior Chase Helpingstine to form the Carolinas Region’s seventh-ranked doubles team.