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April 4, 2014


OXFORD, Miss. — The No. 44 South Carolina women’s tennis team registered a 4-2 victory against No. 24 Ole Miss on Friday in Oxford, Miss., to improve to 13-8 on the season and 4-6 in the SEC. It also marked the Gamecocks’ third SEC victory in a row. The Rebels dropped to 11-6 overall and 5-5 in league matches.

Despite dropping the No. 3 doubles match quickly by an 8-3 score, the Gamecocks proved resilient on the other two courts. Following Brigit Folland and Caroline Dailey’s loss to Zalina Khairudinova and Julie Jones at three, Meghan Blevins and Katerina Popova scored an 8-4 triumph over Caroline Rohde-Moe and Marija Milutinovic at the No. 2 spot. Then, No. 54 Elixane Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova clinched the point at one over Erin Stephens and Iris Verboven, 8-4.

Ole Miss responded quickly in singles play by knotting the score up at 1-1 thanks to Jones’ 6-3, 6-0 triumph over No. 122 Folland on court three. Popova answered right back for the Gamecocks by making short work of Khairudinova 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 singles to pick up her 17th win of the season and improve to 12-4 in dual matches. The Rebels managed to tie the score back up again following Popova’s win by using Mai El Kamash’s 6-4, 6-4 win over Blevins at four. It was just Blevins’ second loss of the season on court four, dropping her to 12-2.

The final two matches, though, belonged to the Gamecocks. No. 117 Lechemia cruised to a 6-1 victory in the first set over Rohde-Moe at the top position but had to fight hard in order to snag the 6-4 triumph for the second set. With the victory, Lechemia became the team leader in singles victories this season with an 18-9 record. She is also 12-5 in duals and 8-4 at the No. 1 slot.

Ximena Siles Luna did the honors for clinching South Carolina’s first win against a top-25 opponent since March of last season when the Gamecocks beat an Auburn team ranked 18th at the time. Siles Luna, in search of her first win since Feb. 28 versus Missouri, managed to snap a three-match losing streak and upend Verboven 6-4, 6-3 at No. 6 singles to slide her record to 15-7 overall and 8-5 in duals.

The remaining match at No. 5 singles could have favored either team had it played out. Dailey lost the first set to Stephens 6-4 but took the second 6-2. Things were all tied up at one apiece in the third when Siles Luna captured the team victory.

The Gamecocks will take on No. 75 Mississippi State on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET in Starkville, Miss., to complete their stay in the Magnolia State. The match was originally scheduled for Sunday but moved to Saturday due to potential bad weather.

1. #117 Elixane Lechemia, USC, def. Caroline Rohde-Moe, OM, 6-1, 6-4
2. Katerina Popova, USC, def. Zalina Khairudinova, OM, 6-2, 6-2
3. Julia Jones, OM, def. #122 Brigit Folland, USC, 6-3, 6-0
4. Mai El Kamash, OM, def. Meghan Blevins, USC, 6-4, 6-4
5. Caroline Dailey, USC, vs. Erin Stephens, OM, 4-6, 6-2, 1-1 susp.
6. Ximena Siles Luna, USC, def. Iris Verboven, OM, 6-4, 6-3

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

1. #54 Lechemia/Dominika Kanakova, USC, def. Stephens/Verboven, OM, 8-4
2. Blevins/Popova, USC, def. Rohde-Moe/Marija Milutinovic, OM, 8-4
3. #76 Khairudinova/Jones, OM, def. Dailey/Folland, USC, 8-3

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1