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March 2, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Freshman Thiago Pinheiro improved to 6-0 in his dual match career at South Carolina with a win in the No. 5 spot over the No. 47 ranked player in the nation, Georgia’s Hernus Pieters. Pinheiro’s victory marks the highest ranked opponent that the Gamecocks have defeated this year.

After getting out to a early 4-0 lead, Pinheiro was forced to fend off a hard charging Pieters who won the next three games. The Brazilian newcomer settled himself down and played the next three games on serve to close out the first set 6-4. The second frame started on serve for the first two games, but Pinheiro quickly converted his second chance to break and gave himself a critical 2-1 lead. Pinheiro held serve for the rest of the pivotal set, and took the match 6-4, 6-4.

“I am really happy for Thiago Pinheiro” head coach Josh Goffi said. “He beat a guy that is top 50 in the country. As a freshman, that is a pretty big win for him.”

Carolina found itself needing to come back after Georgia took the point in doubles, but Georgia proved to be the most impressive team that the Garnet and Black had played this season. Freshman Andrew Adams pushed (3) Wil Spencer to the brink in an incredibly hard fought 5-7, 5-7 loss in the top singles spot to. The match featured 14 breaks and was back and forth all afternoon. In the second set, Adams found himself down 5-1 and a game away from defeat. The Laurel, Md. native rallied to break Spencer and hold serve twice to pull even with the Georgia ace, but fell just short in the end. The Gamecocks would go on to fall to the Bulldogs by a final score of 6-1.

“We played one of the best teams in the country today and it showed in a lot of the details that they took care of” said Goffi. “It was a good learning experience. I think we were there in a lot of the matches. But, more importantly out guys learned about what the top teams do. They are not better tennis players than us per se, in any any strectch. We are a young team and we need to learn how to compete in a college setting a little bit better. That comes with maturity, but today was a great mirror test so to speak. They held a pretty big mirror up to us and showed us our deficiencies, and also, we needed to be a little more emotional on the court. All in all, it was a good outing and we are not taking it as a negative at all. We are still looking forward to Tennessee. We still have another match that we can win this weekend.”

The Gamecocks (10-2, 0-1 SEC) are back in action this Sunday at 1 p.m. hosting No. 19 Tennessee at the Carolina Tennis Center in their second match of SEC play.

No. 6 Georgia 6, No. 22 South Carolina 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3 ,2 )
1. Ignacio Taboada / Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Nick Jones / Kyle Koch (SC) 8-3
2. Sadio Doumbia/Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Chip Cox / Ivan Machado (SC) 8-5
3. Wil Spencer / KU Singh (UGA) def. Andrew Adams / Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 8-3

Singles (Order of Finish: 6, 4, 2, 3, 5, 1)
1. (3) Wil Spencer (UGA) def. Andrew Adams (SC) 7-5, 7-5
2. (11) Sadio Doumbia (UGA) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 6-3, 6-1
3. (35) KU Singh (UGA) def. Chip Cox (SC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
4. (43) Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Kyle Koch (SC) 6-3, 6-4
5. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. (47) Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-4, 6-4
6. Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Carl Eguez (SC) 6-0, 6-0