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Sept. 22, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis travels to Athens, Ga., this weekend for the Southern Intercollegiates, the oldest fall college tennis tournament in the country. Joining 25 other teams, seven Gamecocks will participate in the event, which is split into three singles and two doubles brackets with a champion from each bracket.

“There were a lot of things I liked about how we played last weekend,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “The guys I took to Duke were competitive and really stuck it out in their matches, and I look for them to consolidate the results they had there this weekend in Athens. The more inexperienced players we had at UNC Wilmington last week got a good look at what college tennis is about. They have been really eager and working hard in practice this week, so I’d like to see them get some wins on the board this weekend to lock in a little confidence in their games.”

At the top of the ladder for the Gamecocks this weekend, sophomore Nick Jones and freshman Andrew Adams put their 3-1 records on the line. Jones claimed fifth in the top bracket of the Duke Fab 4 last weekend, showing off the hard work he put in over the summer to get his second season in the Garnet and Black off to a strong start. Adams burst onto the college tennis scene with a third-place showing in the second bracket at Duke. His first collegiate effort included a pair of matchups with nationally ranked opponents one of which he upset in the quarterfinals. Sophomore Chip Cox took third in the consolation side of the third bracket at Duke, giving him a 2-2 record heading into this weekend’s action. A true fighter on the court, Cox’s last two matches were decided in third-set super tiebreakers. Freshman Carl Equez split his two matches in the third bracket at Duke before pulling out of the event. He is cleared to participate this weekend.

Freshmen Kyle Koch and Ben Barnette are looking for their first collegiate victories this weekend after playing in the top bracket at UNC Wilmington last week. Koch came into the season with all the tools to be successful but learned last week that college tennis requires more than raw talent. He showed in practice this week that he is ready to move on from that lesson, and Goffi anticipates him finding the win column this weekend. Barnette is also searching for the win that eluded him last weekend – both newcomers had match points in their third-set super tiebreakers on Sunday. The Spartanburg, S.C., native is an incredibly hard worker who took the measure of last weekend’s opponents and should be able to go one better in Athens. Senior Henry Walker rounds out the team traveling this weekend. He won one of his three matches at UNC Wilmington and looks to add to that total throughout the fall.

After the Southern Intercollegiate, the Gamecocks take a week off before heading to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the ITA Carolinas Regional Oct. 13-16.