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Feb. 7, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 49 South Carolina (6-2) continues its spring season this weekend, facing off against No. 36 Wake Forest on Friday at 4 p.m. and No. 34 NC State on Sunday at 2 p.m. Both matches are scheduled take place at Carolina Tennis Center, which is located behind the Athletics Village Garage on Heyward St. Parking and admission are free.

The Gamecocks won both matches of their doubleheader last Saturday, opening the day with a 6-1 win over No. 65 Georgia Tech and continuing the momentum to sweep Wofford 4-0. With wins from the duos of Thiago Pinheiro and Ben Barnette against the Yellow Jackets and Harry Menzies and Kyle Koch against the Terriers, the Gamecocks continued their streak of clinching the doubles point at every match this season. Both pairs hold 6-1 records at No. 3 and No. 2 doubles, respectively, and Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov remain undefeated (4-0) at No. 1 doubles. In singles action, Menzies continues his hot streak with a 6-0 record playing mostly at No. 5 singles. Pinheiro and Barnette have also had strong showings this season each with only one loss thus far.

“It’s a proving ground this weekend,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “Our guys feel confident after last weekend. We had a lot of guys do a lot of really good things. Thiago [Pinheiro] got a lot of confidence, beating a guy that was undefeated on the year. He went out there and was just in total control and found his game again. He is now, again our emotional leader on the court, which is important for us. Tsvetan [Mihov] went out there and had a dominating performance against one of the top players in the country. I think it was important for our guys to see that we have a really good No. 1. Chip [Cox] is getting some great wins at No. 2 also. Every spot we’re feeling really good about going into this weekend.”

Wake Forest is 7-1, including three wins over ranked teams, with its only loss coming to then-No. 20 Michigan. Last season, Wake Forest went 14-15 overall and 3-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Demon Deacons return six players from last season’s team, including a pair of nationally ranked seniors, Amogh Prabhakar at No. 59 and Danny Kreyman at No. 90, and have added six freshmen to bolster their roster. When the Gamecocks played the Demon Decons last season, Pinheiro won a hard fought third-set tiebreak at No. 6 singles against Alex Tsai to clinch the 4-3 victory for the Garnet and Black.

NC State started off the spring 3-2, including a win over then-No. 22 Indiana, and has lost only to teams ranked in the top 35. The Wolfpack will play Elon on Friday before coming to Columbia. The Wolfpack finished with a 20-10 overall record to reach the NCAA Tournament last season and were 6-7 in the ACC. They return seven players, but lost three-time All-ACC player Jamie Pulgar and will look to three freshmen on the roster to fill the void.

The Gamecocks will be back in action Wed., Feb. 20, when they host No. 39 UNC Wilmington.