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Jan. 26, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis hosts three matches at the USC Indoor Facility this weekend, beginning with a 10 a.m. matchup with Elon on Fri., Jan. 27. The Gamecocks follow that with a doubleheader on Sun., Jan. 29, taking on No. 69 Georgia State at 10 a.m. and Davidson at 4 p.m. Admission is free for all matches.

“It will be a busy weekend for our team, but one we’re looking forward to,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “To prepare for the difficult SEC schedule, it is important for us to face the best teams in the area. This weekend’s matches will be a good measure for us early in the season. All three of these teams are tenacious, so we will have to come out with a lot of energy and ready to play every match.”

The Gamecocks got off to a good start in the 2012 dual-match season with a pair of 7-0 victories last weekend. Nine of the 10 players on the roster got a chance to play and record at least one win in the Saturday doubleheader. Senior Ivan Machado led the way with wins in the Nos. 1 and 2 singles positions. Freshman Andrew Adams continued to impress with wins in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots, including a tight comeback win against Appalachian State’s No. 3 player. Fellow freshmen Carl Eguez and Kyle Koch also swept their singles matches. The duo combined to lose just four games in their wins over Wofford in the Nos. 4 and 3 positions, respectively.

“This weekend we’re looking for a lot of the same things we saw last weekend,” assistant coach Matt Lucas said. “The teams we’re playing are at the top of their leagues, and we need to set the tone as if it’s the meat of the SEC season or the NCAA Championship. No matter who the opponent or what the circumstances, we want our young players to know what it feels like to keep their emotion and confidence high.”

Elon is kicking off its 2012 season in Columbia with freshmen making up half of its eight-man roster. The four returners helped the Phoenix to an 18-7 record last season, including a 9-1 mark in Southern Conference action that had them tied for first in the league. Sophomore Cameron Silverman leads the lineup, coming off a 13-9 season in 2011. He is joined by senior Eric Turner, who logged a 10-10 record last year playing in the No. 2 and No. 3 singles spots. The two also form Elon’s top doubles pair. Silverman and Turner went 10-1 last year in the No. 3 doubles spot, including a 9-1 record in SoCon play.

Georgia State is the first ranked opponent for South Carolina this season as the Panthers are coming off 6-1 victories over Old Dominion and Lipscomb. Junior Victor Valente headlines the Georgia State lineup at the No. 1 spot where last year he compiled a 20-5 record and was earned First-Team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors. Sophomore Thomas Cook is coming off an impressive 2011 season as well, where he posted a 16-8 record and All-CAA second-team honors. Cook and Valente team up to be the Panthers’ top doubles tandem as well. Last year the duo racked up an 11-7 record and was on the All-CAA third team. Georgia State returns just four players from last year’s team, which finished second in the CAA, and brought in a combination of five freshmen and transfers for the 2012 campaign.

Davidson returns eight players from last year’s squad and will be the fourth Southern Conference team that the Garnet and Black has faced this year. Junior Joe Schafer remains the ace of the Wildcat lineup to start the season. The 2011 All-SoCon second-team member notched 10 of his 12 wins last year at the No. 1 spot. Senior Scotsman Calum Gee was a jack-of-all-trades last year, lining up at five of the six singles spots throughout the year and posting an 8-13 record. Gee and Schafer combine to form the 19th-ranked doubles duo in the country. The partnership is coming off a successful fall season, winning the doubles title at the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational.