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March 24, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 34 South Carolina had the lead throughout the day in a 4-1 win over No. 26 Alabama at Alabama Tennis Stadium Sunday afternoon. The win gave the Gamecocks (13-7, 3-3 SEC) their first SEC weekend sweep since April 2006, and, with six regular-season matches left on the schedule, South Carolina’s three SEC wins are already the most since 2009. Sophomore Kyle Koch continued his strong play on Sunday, posting another win over a ranked doubles team and making it a 3-0 South Carolina lead with a straight-set win at No. 5 singles. Andrew Adams clinched the match with a comeback, three-set victory in the No. 2 spot in the singles lineup.

“My hat goes off to Alabama,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “After a quick doubles point and two quick singles, they fought as hard as any team I’ve seen. I am very impressed with the way George [Husack] has turned this team into fighters. On the other hand, I’m very proud and impressed with the way our team approached this weekend. They were focused from the first point of the Auburn match all the way through the last point of this match.”

The Gamecocks were out the gate quickly with the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams scoring early service breaks to lead 3-1 on both courts. Koch and Menzies faced their third ranked opponent in as many matches in the No. 2 spot, taking on No. 75 Becker O’Shaughnessey and Daniil Proskura. The Gamecock tandem used its 3-1 lead as a springboard, allowing the Crimson Tide duo just one more game before winning the last three to score a commanding 8-2 victory. At the top of the order, No. 50 Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov were similarly effective against No. 72 Jarryd Botha and David Vieyra. South Carolina led 5-1 before the Crimson Tide won the next two games. The Gamecocks stopped the momentum right there, though, winning the next three games to clinch the doubles point with the 8-3 victory.

In singles, it was Cox setting the pace, storming to a quick 6-1 first set win over Vieyra in the No. 4 match. Shortly afterward, his doubles partner Mihov scored a break to go up on No. 58 Botha 5-3 at the top of the lineup. Koch was locked in a battle with Philippe Tsangarides in the No. 5 match, but the Gamecock sophomore broke a 5-5 tie with consecutive games to claim his first set 7-5.

The Crimson Tide won the first sets in the other three matches – Nos. 2, 3 and 5 – but the Gamecocks continued to fight. Cox wrapped up his first SEC win of the season with a 6-3 second set that put South Carolina up 2-0, and Koch followed quickly with a matching second-set score to make it a 3-0 advantage.

Meanwhile, senior Harry Menzies was the first of the other three matches to mount his comeback, taking a 3-1 lead in his second set against Stuart Kenyon in the No. 6 match. Thiagon Pinheiro and Andrew Adams were close behind, scoring service breaks to establish 5-2 leads in their second sets. Adams finished off his second set 6-3 over Proskura, and Menzies was right behind with a 6-4 second-set win. Pinheiro completed the trio’s comeback sweep with a 6-4 second over No. 79 O’Shaughnessey in the No. 3 match.

At the top of the lineup, though, the match was going in the other direction. After Mihov had a 5-1 lead in the second set, Botha was rallying, winning the next five games to hold off the Gamecock victory. Fortunately, Adams and Pinheiro were rolling as both scored early service breaks in their third sets. Adams was up 3-1 by the time Pinheiro started his third set, which also began with a service break to establish a 3-0 lead right out of the gate. While Menzies eventually fell to Kenyon 6-3 in the third set to allow the Crimson Tide to get on the board, Adams kept his foot on the gas. Proskura won just one more game before the Gamecock sophomore closed out the victory 6-2. Pinheiro was up 5-1 in his third set when play was suspended.

The Gamecocks return home to Carolina Tennis Center this weekend for the first time in three weeks. South Carolina will host No. 54 Arkansas on Fri., March 29, at 5 p.m. and No. 48 LSU on Sun., March 31, at 1 p.m. Admission to all tennis matches is free as is parking in the Athletics Village Garage on match days.

#34 South Carolina 4, #26 Alabama 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1*)
1. (50) Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. (72) Jarryd Botha/David Vieyra (UA) 8-3
2. Kyle Koch / Harry Menzies (SC) def. (75) Becker O’Shaughnessey/Daniil Proskura (UA) 8-2
3. Stuart Kenyon/Philippe Tsangarides (UA) led Ben Barnette/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-5 suspended

Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 5, 6, 2*)
1. (58) Jarryd Botha (UA) led (106) Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 4-6, 7-5, 3-0 suspended
2. Andrew Adams (SC) def. Daniil Proskura (UA) 0-6, 6-3, 6-2
3. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) led (79) Becker O’Shaughnessey (UA) 3-6, 6-4, 5-1 suspended
4. Chip Cox (SC) def. David Vieyra (UA) 6-1, 6-3
5. Kyle Koch (SC) def. Philippe Tsangarides (UA) 7-5, 6-3
6. Stuart Kenyon (UA) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4