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March 21, 2014


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The No. 56 South Carolina women’s tennis team came up short to No. 8 Alabama on Friday with a 4-1 loss to the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Gamecocks moved to 10-7 overall and 1-5 in the SEC with the loss, while the Crimson Tide improved to 14-2 and 6-0 in league play.

South Carolina nearly took the doubles point from the Crimson Tide. Alabama struck first at No. 3 doubles with 44th-ranked Luicelena Perez and Emily Zabor defeating Caroline Dailey and Brigit Folland 8-5, but the Gamecocks responded with Meghan Blevins and Katerina Popova winning an 8-7 (7-5) decision against No. 70 Mary Anne Daines and Danielle Spielmann on court two. The No. 1 doubles match also went to a tiebreaker and eighth-ranked Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe prevailed over No. 61 Elixane Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova 9-7 to give the Tide a 1-0 advantage heading to singles play.

Lechemia earned redemption in singles by picking up a straight set victory over No. 58 Daines at the top position 7-6, 6-1 to tie the score at 1-all. Daines is the highest ranked player the Gamecock junior has beaten in her career. With the win, Lechemia improved to 16-8 on the season and 10-4 in dual matches.

No. 59 Routliffe gave the Tide the lead for good on court two after she defeated No. 95 Folland in straight sets 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Perez then held off Ximena Siles Luna at six singles and scored a 7-5, 7-5 triumph to pull Alabama within a point of clinching the match. Zabor then upended Kanakova at No. 5 singles soon afterward 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) to keep the Crimson Tide perfect in SEC matches.

The remaining two matches at three and four were suspended in third sets. At three, No. 112 Blevins trailed Routliffe 5-2 in the third after winning the first 6-4 and losing the second 6-4. Dailey lost her first set to No. 64 Jansen 6-1 at four but claimed the second 6-4 and fell behind 4-2 in the third.

The Gamecocks are back in action Sunday when they take on No. 20 Auburn in Auburn, Ala., at 2 p.m. ET. The Tigers are 14-4 and 4-2 in the SEC following a 4-0 loss to No. 5 Florida today.

1. Elixane Lechemia, USC, def. #58 Mary Anne Daines, UA, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
2. #113 Danielle Spielmann, UA, def. #95 Brigit Folland, USC, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
3. #112 Meghan Blevins, USC, vs. #59 Erin Routliffe, UA, 6-4, 4-6, 2-5 susp.
4. Caroline Dailey, USC, vs. #64 Maya Jansen, UA, 1-6, 6-4, 2-4 susp.
5. Emily Zabor, UA, def. Dominika Kanakova, USC, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2)
6. Luicelena Perez, UA, def. Ximena Siles Luna, USC, 7-5, 7-5

Order of Finish: 1, 2, 6, 5

1. #8 Jansen/Routliffe, UA, def. #61 Lechemia/Kanakova, USC, 8-7 (9-7)
2. Blevins/Popova, USC, def. #70 Daines/Spielmann, UA, 8-7 (7-5)
3. #44 Perez/Zabor, UA, Dailey/Folland, USC, 8-5

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1