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April 14, 2012

April 14, 2012
Team S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 D1 D2 D3 F
Florida W W W W L W L 4
S. Carolina L L L L W L W 1
Alawi/Stojic Defeat Nation’s #1 Doubles Team

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 27 South Carolina women’s tennis team dropped a 4-1 decision to No. 2 Florida on Saturday at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks ended the regular season with a 14-7 record and a 5-6 mark in SEC play with the loss. Florida improved to 18-1 and claimed the outright SEC regular season title with an 11-0 record.

With Tennessee forfeiting its match to Georgia due to an incomplete lineup, the Gamecocks clinched the No. 6 seed for next week’s SEC Tournament, finishing fourth in the Eastern Division and sixth in the overall standings. The SEC Tournament begins Thursday in Oxford, Miss., on the campus of Ole Miss. South Carolina will face No. 11-seeded Kentucky in the first round at 9 a.m.

The Gamecocks scored the doubles point, playing some of their best tennis of the season in the process. Early on in the matches, South Carolina held leads of 3-1, 4-0 and 4-0 on courts one, two and three. At two, Florida’s No. 16-ranked duo of Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather managed to fight back against Anya Morgina and Dominika Kanakova to make it 4-3. Morgina and Kanakova took the next game to make it 5-3 for Carolina, but Mather and Embree ran off five straight games to pick up the win.

South Carolina grabbed the next match on court, pulling off a stunning victory against the No. 1-ranked team in the country of Allie Will and Sofie Oyen. After leading 3-1, Dijana Stojic and Jaklin Alawi never looked back, battling their way to an 8-3 triumph to set up the deciding match on court three.

The Gamecocks’ Adriana Pereira and Josefin Andersson extended their 4-0 advantage against Olivia Janowicz and Caroline Hitimana to 6-2 after eight games. Janowicz and Hitimana, though, came back to win five straight games for a 7-6 lead. South Carolina countered to win the next game, fighting off a match point along the way, and the two teams traded the following games to set up a tiebreaker. In the breaker, the Gamecocks took advantage of several unforced errors by the Gators to quickly go ahead 6-0 before closing out the tiebreaker with a 7-2 victory.

“We had a game plan and I told the girls exactly what they had to do,” interim head coach Katarina Petrovic said. “I had to remind them of it a little toward the end of the sets because we were up on all three courts, and I knew that Florida is such a good team. I was really pleased with our No. 1 doubles; they did exactly what I told them to do and they executed.”

Florida, however, regrouped in singles play and claimed four victories to take the match. Embree, ranked 10th, won first with a 6-1, 6-1 decision over Alawi at No. 2 singles, followed by No. 21 Mather defeating Kanakova by the same score on court three. Alexandra Cercone gave Florida’s its third point with a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Pereira at No. 5 singles and Will, ranked No. 1, handed the Gators the victory by upending Morgina 6-0, 6-3 on court one.

At No. 4 singles, Stojic lost the first set to Oyen 6-4 and trailed 3-2 in the second when play was suspended. Hitimana led Andersson after winning the first set 6-2 and the games were 1-all in the second when Will clinched the win for Florida.

1. #1 Allie Will, UF, def. #40 Anya Morgina, USC, 6-0, 6-3
2. #10 Lauren Embree, UF, def. #85 Jaklin Alawi, USC, 6-1, 6-1
3. #21 Joanna Mather, UF, def. Dominika Kanakova, USC, 6-1, 6-1
4. #88 Dijana Stojic, USC, vs. #48 Sofie Oyen, UF, 4-6, 2-3 susp.
5. #73 Alexandra Cercone, UF, def. Adriana Pereira, USC, 6-2, 6-1
6. Josefin Andersson, USC, vs. #123 Caroline Hitimana, UF, 2-6, 1-1 susp.

Order of Finish: 2, 3, 5, 1

1. #67 Alawi/Stojic, USC, def. #1 Will/Oyen, UF, 8-3
2. #16 Embree/Mather, UF, def. Kanakova/Morgina, USC, 8-5
3. Andersson/Pereira, USC, def. Olivia Janowicz/Hitimana, UF, 9-8 (7-2)

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3