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Feb. 9, 2014


COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 33 South Carolina women’s tennis team coasted to a 7-0 victory over Davidson on Sunday afternoon in the second match of a doubleheader at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C., in just under two hours. It marked the Gamecocks’ third win in a row and improved their record to 6-1 while the Wildcats fell to 2-4.

The Gamecocks dominated doubles play, jumping out to leads of 4-0, 4-1 and 5-0 on courts one through three. Eventually, South Carolina led 5-1 on all three courts and it became a matter of what two teams would finish to secure the point. The No. 3 squad of Dominika Kanakova and Ximena Siles Luna won first 6-1 over Elise Held and Tamara Hill, and Katerina Popova and Brigit Folland finished off Jenna Brunner and Sarah Stein by the same score at two to clinch the point.

At No. 1 doubles, Elixane Lechemia and Meghan Blevins played match point up 5-1 and 40-30 with Blevins serving against the duo of Nisha Crouser and Elaina Cummer, but Davidson managed to win the point and the match was subsequently abandoned.

Lechemia and Popova grabbed 3-0 leads early in the singles matches on courts two and three versus Cummer and Stein. Soon afterward, Folland went on top of Crouser 3-1 and Natalie Looney, a late addition to the lineup, bounced back from a 1-0 deficit to Hill on court six to lead 3-1. Folland ended up winning her first set before anyone else 6-1, and it was not long afterward that Popova recorded a 6-0 win in her first set.

With the Gamecocks in command of nearly every match, Blevins found herself in a battle at four against Brunner. Blevins faced a 2-1 hole on the changeover but managed to fight back and take a 3-2 lead with a break. In her next service game, she fell behind 0-30, however, Blevins kept her composure and won four straight rallies capped off by a forehand winner down the line as Brunner approached the net. Blevins fought hard to break Brunner again for a comfortable 5-2 lead.

Folland continued to roll in the second set of her match by taking a 3-0 lead before Blevins finished the seventh game of her first set. As she was about to take a 4-0 advantage, Siles Luna picked up a 6-0 first-set win over Held at the No. 5 slot. Lechemia also won her first set on court three over Stein 6-1 and was tied 1-all in the second when Siles Luna finished. Looney took her first set next by a 6-2 count and Blevins completed the Gamecocks’ sweep of the first sets 6-3.

Once Blevins began her second set, Folland ended her match with Crouser with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph to put Carolina on top 2-0. Blevins sprinted to a 3-0 lead in the second, hitting an ace down the T after getting a 40-0 lead on her serve in the third game. As she played the fourth game, Popova moved within a game of winning her match up 5-2. Popova broke Cummer’s serve in the next game to earn the 6-0, 6-2 win and join the double digit win club for the season with 10-5 record.

Both Blevins and Lechemia were two points away from winning their matches when Popova finished, making it a race as to whom would clinch the Gamecocks’ third consecutive victory. Lechemia led 5-3 with Stein serving and Blevins held a 5-0 advantage with Brunner serving to stay alive. Stein held and Brunner was in position to as well up 40-30, but a clutch drop shot from Blevins sent the game to deuce. Blevins took the next rally to snare the distinction of securing South Carolina’s win over the Wildcats.

With a 5-4 lead on court three, Lechemia held to make the team score 5-0. Siles Luna and Looney both had large leads of 5-1 and 4-1 when Lechemia picked up her 11th win of the season. Siles Luna then captured her 11th win of the season by dropping just one game against Held on court five 6-0, 6-1. All eyes then turned to Looney’s match on court six where the redshirt freshman went on to earn her first career dual match win 6-2, 6-1.

South Carolina returns home for the third match in its current 10-match homestand next Sunday against instate rival and No. 13-ranked Clemson at noon.

1. Katerina Popova, USC, def. Elaina Cummer, DU, 6-0, 6-2
2. #113 Brigit Folland, USC, def. Nisha Crouser, DU, 6-1, 6-0
3. Elixane Lechemia, USC, def. Sarah Stein, DU, 6-1, 6-4
4. Meghan Blevins, USC, def. Jenna Brunner, DU, 6-3, 6-0
5. Ximena Siles Luna, USC, def. Elise Held, DU, 6-0, 6-1
6. Natalie Looney, USC, def. Tamara Hill, DU, 6-2, 6-1

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 4, 3, 5, 6

1. Blevins/Lechemia, USC, vs. Crouser/Cummer, DU, 5-1 susp.
2. Folland/Popova, USC, def. Brunner/Stein, DU, 6-1
3. Siles Luna/Dominika Kanakova, USC, def. Held/Hill, DU, 6-1

Order of Finish: 3, 2