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Feb. 25, 2012

February 25, 2012
Team S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 D1 D2 D3 F
Furman W L L L L L L L L 1
#46 South Carolina L W W W W W W W W 6

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 46 South Carolina christened Carolina Tennis Center with a 6-1 win over Furman. The Gamecocks (9-1) swept the doubles matches and won the first sets in five of the six singles matches. Freshmen hit the high spots of the match as Ben Barnette got the first singles victory, Carl Eguez clinched the match and Kyle Koch closed the match with a three-set comeback victory.

“It was a great experience for our players in their first match at this great facility,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “The team came out and took care of things in doubles right away. We had a few struggles on the singles end, but we’ll get that ironed out for the next match.”

The Gamecocks played three different doubles teams than usual, but got back on track after dropping the opening point in their last two matches. Senior Ivan Machado and sophomore Chip Cox set the tone in the No. 1 match, facing the nation’s 49th-ranked duo in Alex Christ and Joel Cook. The Gamecocks got a break in the Paladins’ second service game and never let up en route to an 8-5 victory. The Nos. 2 and 3 matches wrapped up within moments of each other. Koch and Barnette got to the finish line first with an 8-6 win, and Andrew Adams and Thiago Pinheiro wrapped up the series with an 8-5 win.

In singles play, Barnette wasted little time pouncing on Tyler Droll in the No. 6 match. The Gamecock freshman yielded just one game in 13 for a 6-0, 6-1 win that put the Gamecocks up 2-0 in the match. The Gamecocks were up in four of the other first sets on the court and were on serve in a fifth. In the No. 5 spot in the order, Eguez was the most dominant with a 6-1 first-set victory over Robbie Aru. Cox faced Jacob Behal in the No. 3 spot, taking the first set 6-3 after the two combined for five service breaks in the set. Adams was grinding out a 6-3 first set win, overcoming a service break in the third game, responding immediately and then adding a second break in the sixth game to take control. Koch was on serve in his No. 4 contest, which would go to a first-set tiebreaker that Joel Cook claimed 7-6 (5). Playing in the No. 1 spot, Machado fell behind 4-1 early before claiming the next five games with solid net play for a 6-4 advantage over Andrew Mellow.

Cox brought the Gamecocks within a point of the match with his efficient second set, breaking Behal in the first game of the set and adding another four games later. Serving for the match, Cox went up 40-Love before cracking a service winner for the final 6-2 victory. On the next court over, Eguez also got a service break in the first game of the second set. Aru leveled the match a 2-2, but Eguez again broke through for a 3-2 advantage. Serving to stay in the match, Aru jumped out to a 40-Love lead, but Eguez stayed aggressive. After playing through a pair of deuces, Eguez forced consecutive miscues at the net to pick up the 6-3 win, clinching the match for the Gamecocks.

Adams jumped out to a 4-0 lead in his second set with Christ then cruised to a 6-2 win. Next to him on Court 1, Machado had dropped his second set as neither he nor Mellow could consistently hold serve in the set. The Gamecock senior responded by jumping out to a 7-2 lead in the third-set super-tiebreaker. Mellow fought off a pair of match points to level things at 9-9. Again, Machado surged ahead to set up match point, and again Mellow battled back. A double fault gave Mellow the edge, and he closed out the tiebreaker 12-10 with a solid serve backed up by a crisp volley.

After winning his second set 6-3 behind a late service break, Koch got a break midway through the third set to finish off the match with a 6-4 win.

The Gamecocks are back in action at 4 p.m. today, hosting Charlotte in their final tune-up before kicking off SEC play next Friday afternoon.

No. 46 South Carolina 6, Furman 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2)
1. Ivan Machado / Chip Cox (SC) def. (49) Alex Christ/Joel Cook (FUR) 8-5
2. Andrew Adams / Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Andrew Mellow/Jacob Behal (FUR) 8-5
3. Kyle Koch / Ben Barnette (SC) def. Nate Collins / Watson George (FUR) 8-6

Singles (Order of Finish: 6, 3, 5, 2, 1, 4)
1. Andrew Mellow (FUR) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10)
2. Andrew Adams (SC) def. Alex Christ (FUR) 6-3, 6-2
3. Chip Cox (SC) def. Jacob Behal (FUR) 6-3, 6-2
4. Kyle Koch (SC) def. Joel Cook (FUR) 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4
5. Carl Eguez (SC) def. Robbie Aru (FUR) 6-1, 6-3
6. Ben Barnette (SC) def. Tyler Droll (FUR) 6-0, 6-1