May 1, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 41 South Carolina earned a spot in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament for the 20th time in school history when the committee unveiled the bracket Tuesday evening. The Gamecocks (15-11) will face future SEC rival No. 34 Texas A&M (13-14) in a first-round match to be played in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sat., May 12. In Sunday’s second round, the winner of the South Carolina/Texas A&M match will play the winner of the Southern Cal/Fairfield contest.
The Gamecocks have reached the event in just their second season under Goffi. South Carolina doubled its overall and SEC win totals from last season behind the depth and strength of the 2011 recruiting class, which was ranked third in the nation. Seven of the Gamecocks’ 15 wins were over ranked opponents with five of those coming on the road. South Carolina won five of its last 10 regular-season matches, competing in one of the premier college tennis conferences in the country.
In addition to the team’s ranking of No. 41, the Gamecocks appear in the individual rankings as well. The sophomore doubles team of Chip Cox and Nick Jones are 24th in the nation with a 7-3 record that includes five wins over top-50 opponents. In singles play, senior Ivan Machado holds the No. 108 spot in the nation with a 15-16 overall record. Freshman Andrew Adams earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team as selected by the league’s coaches as he is 28-10 overall, including a 20-6 mark in dual matches.
South Carolina is 13-18 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches with the Gamecocks’ last appearance at the event coming in 2009. The team has played in the Round of 16 six times, most recently in 2005, and the program’s best showing was a spot in the semifinals of the 1989 NCAA Tournament. South Carolina has participated in the event 19 times, including a stretch of 13 straight from 1994 through 2006.
In this year’s event, Southern Cal is the overall No. 1 seed as the three-time defending national champion who has held the position throughout the 2011-12 season. The Trojans are 27-1 and will face Fairfield (16-4) in the second match of the day next Saturday. South Carolina is one of 10 SEC teams to make the NCAA Tournament field with five the teams serving as hosts for the first and second rounds.