Feb. 21, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 26th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team (4-1) will host instate rival and 17th-ranked Clemson (7-2) on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Carolina Tennis Center.
Wednesday’s match-up marks the 47th meeting between Carolina and Clemson in women’s tennis in a series that dates back to 1976. The Tigers hold a slight edge in the series at 24-22 and have won five straight and nine of the past 10 meetings. South Carolina’s last victory over Clemson was a 4-3 victory on Feb. 19, 2006, in Columbia, S.C., at the USC Field House.
South Carolina enters this year’s contest on the heels of two wins in California against No. 35 San Diego and Loyola Marymount. The Gamecocks also own victories over Furman and No. 60 William & Mary. Carolina’s lone loss came at the hands of No. 16 Georgia Tech in Atlanta during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
Clemson won its first six matches of the season and qualified for the ITA National Team Indoors after winning its Kick-Off Weekend at home. The Tigers defeated UNC Wilmington and No. 41 Purdue to qualify for the National Indoors in Charlottesville, Va. Clemson suffered losses to No. 11 Michigan and No. 15 Texas at the indoors while snagging a win over No. 24 Ole Miss.
The latest ITA rankings continue to show three Gamecocks led by No. 29 Anya Morgina, who has a 4-0 record this spring playing No. 1 singles. Jaklin Alawi is next on the list at No. 59 and she currently leads the squad in overall singles wins with a 14-3 record. She is 3-1 playing No. 2 singles. Dijana Stojic is ranked No. 119 and has a 3-1 mark on court three.
Dominika Kanakova has also been a force for South Carolina in the lower half of the lineup. Like Morgina, she has a 4-0 record and her 11-2 overall mark is second on the team behind Alawi. Kanakova played No. 5 singles for the Gamecocks’ first four matches before moving up to the fourth spot in their last match with Loyola Marymount.
Adriana Pereira and Katerina Popova comprise the rest of the Gamecocks’ lower half in singles. Popova posted a 2-2 record in the first four matches playing on court four before moving to five for the Loyola Marymount match. Popova won her match in that contest in straight sets. Pereira has played each match this season at No. 6 singles, where she owns a 2-2 record. Pereira had the second most wins for Carolina during the fall with an 8-1 mark.
Clemson also boasts three players in the national singles rankings with Keri Wong headlining the group at No. 55. Nelly Ciolkowski is listed at No. 78 and Klara Vyskocilova is ranked just below her at No. 82. Wong and Josipa Bek comprise the nation’s No. 8-ranked doubles team, and Wong also holds a ranking with Beatrice Gumulya at No. 38.
Bek has been the Tigers’ No. 1 singles player since the 2010 season, but the three-time singles and doubles All-American did not play at the ITA National Indoors. Her last appearance was against Furman on Feb. 1. Gumulya took Bek’s place atop the lineup for the indoors followed by Wong at two, Vyskocilova at three and Ciolkowski at four. Romy Kolzer played the No. 5 position in Charlottesville and Monika Kochanova was the Tigers’ No. 6 player.
Following the Clemson match, South Carolina will host College of Charleston on Friday at 3 p.m. The Gamecocks then host Winthrop on Sunday at 1 p.m.