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Aug 13, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina’s Chip Cox and Kyle Koch claimed the doubles title at the ITA National Collegiate Summer Championships at Indiana University Tuesday morning, wrapping up a solid week of both singles and doubles action for the men’s tennis pair. With today’s victory, the pair earned a wild card spot in the doubles main draw and in the singles qualifying draw of the ITA Men’s All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., beginning Oct. 3. They are the Gamecocks’ first main draw entry at the tournament since Tom Eklund earned a singles spot in the 2005 event.

“Both of those guys have put in so much work over the summer that it’s great to see them get a little bit of payoff,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “With this win earning them spots in the All-American Championships in October, they have positioned themselves to have a breakthrough in singles and doubles this fall.”

Cox and Koch drew the top seed in the event to play the week with a target on their backs from the rest of the field. After the first-round bye, the Gamecock tandem handily dispatched with Eric Marbach (Denver) and Jarryd Woog (Memphis) 8-2 in the second round. The team of Aws Laaribi (Wake Forest) and Ryan Cheung (UC Irvine) battled before falling 8-5 in the round of 16, and Cox/Koch handled Louisville’s team of Van Domrongsri and Luis Elizondo 8-3 in the quarterfinals.

In the semis, fourth-seeded Hunter Callahan and Chris Diaz (Ohio State) matched South Carolina team shot for shot deep into the match. The Gamecocks finally got a late service break to clinch the 9-7 victory and advance to the final. There Notre Dame’s Alex Lawson and Nicolas Montoya awaited, still riding the momentum of upsetting the tournament’s No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals. Cox/Koch dominated their opponent from the opening serve, storming to a 7-0 lead before the Fighting Irish duo managed to hold serve. Up 7-1, Koch served out the match to bring home the 8-1 victory and the tournament title.

In singles action, both Cox and Koch reached the round of 16. Koch was the eighth seed at the event, suffering a near-miss in reaching the quarterfinals as he dropped a super tie-break to NC State’s Sean Weber. Cox took down the tournament’s sixth seed Wyatt McCoy of Notre Dame in the third round but could not sneak by another seeded opponent in Dimitrije Tasic of Indiana.

South Carolina will start its 2013-14 season with three fall tournaments, beginning with the SEC Fall Invitational Sept. 20-22. Cox and Koch will play in the ITA All-American Championships, becoming the first Gamecock doubles team to do so since 1999.