Feb. 6, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 26 South Carolina (5-2) launches an Atlantic Coast Conference weekend when the Gamecocks travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., for a top-20 matchup with No. 19 Wake Forest (5-1) on Fri., Feb. 7, at 5 p.m. at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. The Gamecocks then head to Raleigh to face No. 32 NC State (5-1) on Sun., Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. at J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.
“I’m looking for our team to come and play a little looser this weekend, be a little more proactive in every match,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “With the experimental rules early this season, we have been kind of tied up – playing not to lose – and we have to get out of that shell to be successful. We have to get back to enjoying the game, and this weekend is a good start. The competition will be intense, but we have had some fun practices with a lot of energy, and I’m looking forward to seeing that carry over to our matches.”
The doubles pairing of Tsvetan Mihov and Thiago Pinheiro leads the Gamecocks and hopes to continue bring momentum in doubles this weekend. They have a 6-1 record, with a win over the No. 48 duo in the nation. Gamecock freshman Andrew Schafer has continued to produce solid points, earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors this week. No. 91 Schafer remains unbeaten in dual-match play in the No. 6 spot, boasting a 7-0 record. Senior Chip Cox is just behind his first-year teammate with a 6-1 singles mark, bouncing back from his first loss of the season at Georgia Tech with a pair of wins in the weekend doubleheader.
Wake Forest head coach Tony Bresky looks to continue his team’s success after reaching the finals of the ACC Championship last season for the second time in program history. The Demon Deacons return five regulars led by No. 59 Adam Lee and No. 93 Anthony Delcore, and is strengthened by the additions of seven newcomers. Mississippi State transfers No. 20 Romain Bogaerts, last year’s ITA National Rookie of the Year, and Pedro Dumont join Davidson transfer Nicky Kunz, and four freshmen – highlighted by Maksim Kan, the No. 5 recruit in his class. The duo of Dumont and Lee gives Wake Forest a solid foundation in doubles ranking No. 30 in the nation. Their season has kicked off with impressive showings in a win over No. 23 LSU and posting three shutouts, with their lone loss coming to then-No. 20 Texas. The Gamecocks lead the series between the Demon Deacons 28-13.
NC Sate started off its spring campaign with wins against Big Ten opponents No. 26 Michigan, then-No. 49 Michigan State and No. 57 Indiana. The squad returns seven players from last season and adds four freshmen to the lineup. The Wolfpack ended last season with a 14-11 record, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. No. 50 Austin Powell leads the Pack with No. 56 Robbie Mudge, No. 82 Thomas Weigel and No. 83 Nick Horton following. In doubles, No. 19 Horton and Sean Webber are perfect this season with four wins. South Carolina boasts a 34-18 advantage in its series against the Pack.
The Gamecocks return home for a pair of matches beginning Fri., Feb. 21, for a match against USF and continuing on Sun., Feb. 23, against No. 43 San Diego.