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Feb. 21, 2014


COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 33rd-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team recorded a 6-1 victory against South Carolina State on Friday in the first match of a doubleheader at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks improved to 7-2 on the year and will next face North Florida at 5 p.m. at the Field House. South Carolina State fell to 1-2 with the loss.

The Gamecocks snagged the doubles point from the Bulldogs with wins on courts two and three. Brigit Folland and Katerina Popova had little trouble defeating Dakota Brown and Nynke Van Der Goot by an 8-2 score at No. 2. Meghan Blevins and Caroline Dailey secured the point on court three after pushing ahead to beat Victoriia Khatcei and Marketa Marcanikova 8-3. The No. 1 doubles match between Dominika Kanakova and Elixane Lechemia of South Carolina and Intissar Rassif and Klara Dohanlova of the Bulldogs was suspended with the Gamecocks ahead 5-4.

The Gamecocks got off to a hot start in singles, taking courts two through four by 6-0 scores for the first sets. At one, Folland won 6-3 over Dohanlova. Lechemia ended up finishing first with a 6-0, 6-1 victory against Khatcei at No. 2 singles and Blevins followed quickly afterward, winning 6-0, 6-2 on court four versus Marcanikova.

South Carolina had to wait for a little while after earning two quick points in singles to go ahead 3-0 before it could clinch the match. Popova seemed like the best candidate after going ahead 4-1 in the second against Rassif on court three. Rassif, though, battled back to make the score 4-all, but Popova countered to take the next game for a chance to close out the match with a break of serve. Raffif held for 5-all, but Popova wasted no time holding her serve and then broke Rassif to clinch the Gamecocks’ seventh win. With the victory, Popova improved to a team-best 7-1 in dual matches this year.

Prior to Popova’s win, Folland ended up losing the second set to Dohanlova 6-3 to force a full third set. At five, Dailey earned the first set 6-1 over Van Der Goot and Natalie Looney came back from a 3-1 deficit to Brown to win the first 6-4 at No. 6 singles. Folland snatched a 4-2 lead on Dohanlova after six games in the third, but Dohanlova kept fighting and found a way to win four straight games to give the Bulldogs their lone point of the day.

Dailey led 3-0 to start the third set, but Van Der Goot crept back into the contest and eventually made the score 4-3. The Gamecock freshman took the next game for a 5-3 advantage, but Van Der Goot survived the next game to stay alive. Dailey managed to put her opponent away in the next game for a 6-1, 6-4 final. Dailey now leads the Gamecocks in overall singles wins this season with a 13-6 record.

Once Dailey upped the margin to 5-1 for South Carolina, Looney found herself tied 2-all in the second with Brown at six. Looney scored three straight games in her favor for a chance to serve out the match up 5-2, but Brown posted a break after several deuces to extend the match. Looney bounced back with a break of her own in the ensuing game to pick up the 6-4, 6-3 triumph.

1. Klara Dohanlova, SCSU, def. #112 Brigit Folland, USC, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. Elixane Lechemia, USC, def. Victoriia Khatcei, SCSU, 6-0, 6-1
3. #T-69 Katerina Popova, USC, def. Intissar Rassif, SCSU, 6-0, 7-5
4. Meghan Blevins, USC, def. Marketa Marcanikova, SCSU, 6-0, 6-2
5. Caroline Dailey, USC, def. Nynke Van Der Goot, SCSU, 6-1, 6-4
6. Natalie Looney, USC, def. Dakota Brown, SCSU, 6-4, 6-3

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

1. Dominika Kanakova/Lechemia, USC, vs. Rassif/Dohanlova, SCSU, 5-4 susp.
2. Folland/Popova, USC, def. Brown/Van Der Goot, SCSU, 8-2
3. Blevins/Dailey, USC, def. Khatcei/Marcanikova, SCSU, 8-3

Order of Finish: 2, 3