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March 3, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 43 South Carolina upset in-state rival No. 18 Clemson with a 4-3 victory Sunday afternoon at USC Field House. The Gamecocks (10-5) took the doubles point after Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov won an intense match at the No. 1 spot. After the Tigers (9-2) closed to 2-2, South Carolina’s Thiago Pinheiro and Kyle Koch fought through to clinch the victory.

“Besides the fact that it’s Clemson and our rival, that’s a top-20 win, and that alone is a confidence builder for this team,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “We needed to beat a good team that has been successful, so this was a big-time win for us. It’s just icing on the cake that it’s Clemson. Individually, today was a major win for Kyle Koch. He’s been struggling to get over the hump. He hasn’t been blown out by anyone all ready, but he’s been struggling to close out tight matches. There was no better situation to solve that in than this one today. Moving forward, Kyle will get a lot of confidence going into the SEC season.”

Koch and Harry Menzies provided the first result of the day with a dominating victory at No. 2 doubles. The duo broke out to an early 2-1 lead and won the next six straight games to finish with an 8-1 win over Austin Ansari and Ayrton Wibowo. Pinheiro and Ben Barnette fell 8-6 in a hard fought match at the No. 3 spot to leave the point in the hands of Cox and Mihov. The pair traded service breaks with Yannick Maden and Zachary Rigsby to open the match and then each team held serve to tie the score at 4-4. With the match tied at 7-7 the Gamecocks held serve to go up 8-7 and then got a huge service break behind great net play from Cox to take the match 9-7 and clinch the doubles point.

Andrew Adams increased the Gamecocks’ lead to 2-0 after a strong showing at No. 2 singles. Adams and Hunter Harrington traded service breaks to open the match, and Adams got another break to go up 3-2 and held onto that for the 6-4 victory. In his second set, Adams powered past Harrington for a quick 6-2 victory. Cox fought hard at No. 3 singles but Gerardo Meza took the point for Clemson with a 7-5, 6-4 victory. Mihov won his first set 6-3 against Maden at the No. 1 spot but then dropped the next two sets 6-3, 6-2.

With the score tied at 2-2, Pinheiro battled through three sets in the No. 4 matchup to put the Gamecocks back on top. Wibowo took the first set 6-4, but Pinheiro answered back with a 6-4 victory of his own in the second set thanks to a break midway through the set. On serve in the third set a 3-2, the Gamecocks’ fiery sophomore broke Wibowo in back-to-back games to clinch the 6-2 victory and bring the Gamecocks within a point of the team win.

As Pinheiro closed out his match, Koch was in the early stages of his second set after topping Rigsby in the first 6-3 in the No. 5 match. Serving at 2-3, Koch rallied back from a deficit to hold his serve at 3-3. Two games later, he surged ahead with long rallies from the baseline that saw Rigsby dump a forehand into the net on break point for a 5-4 lead. Clemson’s senior answered with a service break of his own, but could not consolidate it when Koch converted the second of his two break points in the next game to again try to serve for the match. Ahead 30-15 in the final game, Koch powered an ace through the court to set up match point. Rigsby managed to return the next booming serve from Koch, but was completely defensive on the next shot, which he sent wide to seal the 7-5 victory for Koch and the match for the Gamecocks.

The Tigers made the final score 4-3 with a win from Ansari over Menzies 7-5, 7-5 in the No. 6 match.

The Gamecocks will be back in action Fri., Mar. 8, when they host No. 35 Florida.

#43 South Carolina 4, #18 Clemson 3

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. (33) Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. Yannick Maden/Zachary Rigsby (CU) 9-7
2. Kyle Koch / Harry Menzies (SC) def. Austin Ansari/Ayrton Wibowo (CU) 8-1
3. Hunter Harrington/Gerado Meza (CU) def. Ben Barnette/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 8-6

Singles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1, 4, 5, 6)
1. (57) Yannick Maden def. (105) Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. Andrew Adams (SC) def. Hunter Harrington (CU) 6-4, 6-2
3. Gerado Meza (CU) def. Chip Cox (SC) 7-5, 6-4
4. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Ayrton Wibowo (CU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5. Kyle Koch (SC) def. Zachary Rigsby (CU) 6-3, 7-5
6. Austin Ansari (CU) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 7-5, 7-5