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Feb. 21, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 33rd-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team capped off its Friday doubleheader with a 7-0 victory against North Florida at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The win upped the Gamecocks’ record to 8-2 while handing the Ospreys (3-1) their first loss of the season.

South Carolina claimed the doubles point from the Ospreys by taking courts one and two. Court three, however, finished first in favor of UNF. Marina Cunningham and Taylor Hollander raced ahead of the Gamecocks’ Meghan Blevins and Caroline Dailey 5-2 and later led 7-3. Blevins and Dailey refused to go down without a fight and won three games in a row to cut the deficit to just one, 7-6. UNF, though, managed to snag the next game for an 8-6 victory.

Soon after court three exited, Dominika Kanakova and Elixane Lechemia dispatched Rebeca Pereira and Michelle Valdez by an 8-3 score at No. 1 doubles. All eyes then turned to court two where Brigit Folland and Katerina Popova secured a 7-5 advantage with the serve. The Gamecock duo had led 7-2 before Esther Zuniga and Simona Weymar claimed three straight games, but Folland and Popova closed it out in the 13th game for an 8-5 victory.

The Gamecocks had little trouble taking care of the Ospreys in singles. Meghan Blevins cruised by Pereira at No. 4 singles to put South Carolina ahead 2-0, winning 6-3, 6-0 to improve to 7-1 on the year in dual match play. Soon afterward, Folland made the score 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-0 decision of her own over Zuniga at the second spot. Siles Luna provided South Carolina with the clincher on court five, downing Valdez 6-1, 6-2.

Popova added to South Carolina’s total with a 6-4, 6-1 victory against Cunningham on court three to make it 5-0. For the senior, it was her team-leading eighth dual match win of the year. Lechemia added another win at No. 1 singles 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 to improve to 13-6 on the season overall and 7-2 in duals. Dailey completed the singles sweep for the Gamecocks with a three-set triumph versus Hollander on court six 4-6, 6-4, (10-4).

South Carolina returns home to face No. 55 William & Mary on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Carolina Tennis Center in its final regular-season non-conference match of the spring.

1. Elixane Lechemia, USC, def. Simona Weymar, UNF, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1
2. #112 Brigit Folland, USC, def. Esther Zuniga, UNF, 6-3, 6-0
3. #T-69 Katerina Popova, USC, def. Marina Cunningham, UNF, 6-4, 6-1
4. Meghan Blevins, USC, def. Rebeca Pereira, UNF, 6-3, 6-0
5. Ximena Siles Luna, USC, def. Michelle Valdez, UNF, 6-1, 6-2
6. Caroline Dailey, USC, def. Taylor Hollander, UNF, 4-6, 6-3, (10-4)

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

1. Dominika Kanakova/Lechemia, USC, def. Pereira/Valdez, UNF, 8-3
2. Folland/Popova, USC, def. Weymar/Zuniga, UNF, 8-5
3. Cunningham/Hollander, UNF, def. Blevins/Dailey, USC, 8-6

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2