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Feb. 23, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 26th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team will host College of Charleston on Friday at 3 p.m. and Winthrop on Sunday at 1 p.m. Weather permitting, the matches will take place outside at Carolina Tennis Center. Otherwise, the matches will move indoors to the USC Field House.

South Carolina (5-1) enters the two non-conference match-ups coming off an emotional 4-3 victory over No. 17 Clemson on Wednesday by a 4-3 margin. It snapped a five-match losing streak to the Tigers and marked the Gamecocks’ first win over their in-state rival since Feb. 19, 2006. Carolina lost the doubles point but fought back to win on courts one, two, four and six in singles to take the match. Jaklin Alawi provided the clinching point at No. 2 singles with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory, coming back from a 4-2 deficit in the third set to prevail.

College of Charleston (3-2) has posted wins this season over Winthrop, North Florida and most recently Iowa State. The Cougars lost their first two matches of the season at Clemson and Duke. Winthrop (5-7) has played a busy schedule thus far in 2012. The Eagles’ marquee victory was a 4-3 decision at No. 67 Wake Forest on Jan. 22. Winthrop’s other four wins came versus Wofford, Davidson, Eastern Kentucky and Campbell.

The latest ITA singles rankings continue to show three Gamecocks led by No. 29 Anya Morgina, who has a 5-0 record this spring playing No. 1 singles and is 11-3 overall. Alawi is next on the list at No. 59 and she currently leads the squad in overall singles wins with a 15-3 record. She is 4-1 playing No. 2 singles. Dijana Stojic is ranked No. 119 and has a 3-1 mark on court three and stands 10-4 as a whole for the season.

Dominika Kanakova moved to the No. 3 spot for the Clemson match with Stojic out of the lineup. It was the highest spot the sophomore has played in her career in a dual match. Kanakova lost the contest in three sets to No. 78 Nelly Ciolkowski, but it was her first defeat of the spring, moving her record to 4-1 and 11-3 overall.

Katerina Popova scored her biggest win of the spring against the Tigers, coming through in three sets at the No. 4 spot over 82nd-ranked Klara Vyskocilova. Popova has played on court four in every match but one. She switched places with Kanakova for the Gamecocks’ match with Loyola Marymount to play the five spot, but she returned to court four with Stojic being unavailable for Clemson. Popova is 10-7 and 4-2 in dual matches.

Adriana Pereira is looking to regain the momentum she gained during the fall season when she posted an 8-1 record in tournament play. Pereira fell in three sets at No. 5 singles against Clemson to drop her dual record to 2-3 between courts five and six.

Josefin Andersson made her first appearance in the singles lineup since March 20, 2011, when she secured court six against Clemson on Wednesday. Andersson, who has battled numerous injuries throughout her career including a torn Achilles, helped the Gamecocks’ win by a point with her 6-0, 6-2 showing over Monika Kochanova. Andersson is 8-3 now for the 2011-12 season.

For doubles, the Gamecocks have enjoyed a great deal of success on court one. Alawi and Stojic teamed up for a 4-0 record through the first five matches. Versus Clemson, Alawi and Morgina teamed up for an 8-1 victory against a Tiger duo ranked 38th in the nation. South Carolina has a combined record of 4-2 at No. 2 doubles using three different combos and is 2-3 on court three between a pair of tandems. Most recently, Andersson and Kanakova suffered an 8-6 loss at two against Clemson, and Pereira and Popova fell in a tiebreaker to the Tigers at the No. 3 spot.

South Carolina will kick off SEC play following its matches with College of Charleston and Winthrop next week when it faces No. 6 Georgia in Athens, Ga., on March 2 and No. 10 Tennessee on March 4 in Knoxville, Tenn.

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