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April 6, 2012

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April 6, 2012
Team S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 D1 D2 D3 F
S. Carolina W W W L W W W W W 6
Coach Petrovic, Anya Morgina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 32 South Carolina women’s tennis team dispatched No. 39 LSU 6-1 on Friday at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks improved to 13-6 on the year with the win and 4-5 in the SEC, while the Tigers fell to 11-9 and 4-5 in league matches.

“This was an amazing match, an unbelievable win,” interim head coach Katarina Petrovic said. “Everybody played so well. I didn’t have to do too much work today. I’m really proud of the whole team. LSU is a very tough opponent. They have a lot of good wins and the are ranked in the top 40, so this is a very good win for us today.”

The Gamecocks earned a sweep in doubles action to take a 1-0 lead heading to singles play. Things looked bleak for South Carolina early, though, as it trailed 4-1 on both courts one and two. At three, South Carolina’s Katerina Popova and Josefin Andersson led the entire way in earning an 8-3 victory against Kaitlin Burns and Ariel Morton.

Just minutes prior to the win at No. 3 doubles, the Gamecocks’ Anya Morgina and Dominika Kanakova recovered from their 4-1 deficit versus Olivia Howlett and Yvette Vlaar to win 8-5. Morgina and Kanakova won four straight games to start their rally before Howlett and Vlaar tied the match at 5-all. The Gamecocks dominated the remaining three games, overpowering their opponents to pick up the win.

On court one, Dijana Stojic, playing in her first match since undergoing back surgery in February, and Jaklin Alawi got down 7-2 against Keri Frankenberger and Whitney Wolf. Stojic and Alawi, however, kept fighting and eventually won five straight games. With the doubles point already clinched, the two teams played a tiebreaker at 7-all. Alawi and Stojic coasted through the tiebreak with a 7-2 victory.

“They were down 7-3 and 40-15,” Petrovic said. “At 7-4, I said, `Hey, remember what happened last week, you can still do it.’ I knew we were going to struggle at one and I knew Dijana was nervous even though she would not admit that. If you don’t play a match for over seven weeks it definitely shows. I know they are good players and they will figure out a way to win. It was a little difficult in the beginning of the match because they were missing shots they usually don’t miss.”

In singles, the Gamecocks did not drop a set on any court. South Carolina recorded its first win at the No. 2 spot where Jaklin Alawi defeated Howlett 6-2, 6-3. Alawi actually trailed 2-0 to begin the second set before running off six of the next seven games in her favor to improve to 24-7 on the season and 13-5 in dual matches at the No. 2 position.

Stojic then pushed Carolina ahead 3-0 with her 6-2, 6-3 win against Vlaar on court five. It was the senior’s first match since Feb. 18 when she defeated Miya Jin of Loyola Marymount in straight sets. Stojic improved to 11-4 on the year with the victory and 4-1 in duals.

Morgina provided the clinching win in singles play with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Wolf at No. 1 singles. It avenged her straight set loss to Wolf last year in Baton Rouge, La., and upped the senior’s overall record to 18-8 this season and 12-5 playing atop the lineup.

Soon after Morgina’s victory, Kanakova earned a 6-2, 6-3 win against Burns at No. 3 singles. It was an impressive win for the sophomore, as South Carolina had struggled the past two seasons in playing Burns. Kanakova improved to 17-9 and 10-7 in dual match play while picking up her third win against SEC foes this year.

With a 5-0 lead, Popova had a 7-6 (7-2), 1-0 lead on Frankenberger at No. 4 singles, but Popova retired from the match to rest some nagging injuries in preparation for the Gamecocks’ next match. South Carolina’s Adriana Pereira then knocked off Ebie Wilson on court six 6-4, 6-3 to pick up her fifth win in SEC play. Alawi, Popova and Pereira all lead the Gamecocks in SEC victories with 5-4 records.

The Gamecocks will be back in action Sunday when they host No. 40 Arkansas at noon.

1. #35 Anya Morgina, USC, def. Whitney Wolf, LSU, 6-3, 6-4
2. #68 Jaklin Alawi, USC, def. Olivia Howlett, LSU, 6-2, 6-3
3. Dominika Kanakova, USC, def. Kaitlin Burns, LSU, 6-2, 6-3
4. Keri Frankenberger, LSU, def. Katerina Popova, USC, 6-7 (2-7), 0-1 ret.
5. #71 Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Yvette Vlaar, LSU, 6-2, 6-3
6. Adriana Pereira, USC, def. Ebie Wilson, LSU, 6-4, 6-3

Order of Finish: 2, 5, 1, 3, 4, 6

1. #68 Alawi/Stojic, USC, def. Frankenberger/Wolf, LSU, 8-7 (7-2)
2. Kanakova/Morgina, USC, def. Howlett/Vlaar, LSU, 8-5
3. Josefin Andersson/Popova, USC, def. Burns/Ariel Morton, LSU, 8-3

Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1