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Gamecocks Fall to No. 11 Aggies in SEC Quarterfinals
Men's Tennis  . 

Gamecocks Fall to No. 11 Aggies in SEC Quarterfinals

April 18, 2014

NASHVILLE – No. 30 South Carolina made a late push to hold off No. 11 Texas A&M, but fell 4-1 to the Aggies in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals Friday afternoon at Currey Tennis Center. Junior Kyle Koch picked up the lone point for the Gamecocks (15-13), stretching his win streak to 11 matches. South Carolina fell behind early, but held off the Aggies at 3-1 until the tournament’s second seed finally claimed the win.

“The doubles point was there for the taking and we didn’t take advantage of some of those points that were there,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “It would have swung the match our way. That kind of goes to the pecking order of things, where it’s Texas A&M vs. South Carolina, and that’s where our guys have to get better at not cowering in those moments. The same thing happened in singles, but in the end we always figure out that, while Texas A&M is a good team, we’re a good team also. In the end, we made a push and unfortunately came up short.”

South Carolina struggled early in doubles with the Aggies taking early breaks for a 3-1 at the top and bottom of the lineup. But, the Gamecocks’ No. 2 tandem of Andrew Adams and Koch was on serve against No. 64 Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant late into their set. The Aggies wrapped up the 8-5 win at the top of the lineup as No. 6 Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow survived late pressure from No. 23 Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov. A break put Adams/Vinsant up 6-5 in the No. 1 match, and both the Nos. 2 and 3 matches were down to the Aggies serving for the win a 7-6. Adams/Vinsant wrapped up their 8-6 win over Adams and Koch to clinch the first point for Texas A&M.

Singles was close early in five of the six matches on court, but the longer first sets went on the more they trended toward the Aggies. No. 55 Adams jumped out to a 3-0 lead on No. 14 Harrison Adams, but the Aggies’ sophomore was battling back after No. 23 Vinsant had taken the first set from No. 107 Mihov 6-0. Thiago Pinheiro had fallen behind 1-3 in the No. 3 match to No. 57 Jeremy Efferding, and moment later Cox feel behind Ore 3-5 in the No. 4 contest. While Koch was also struggling with his serve against Withrow, the Gamecocks’ junior was able to break back each time to stay on serve late in their first set. Andrew Schafer had managed to get back on serve at 3-2 in his first set as well.

Each game became a battle with the Aggies absorbing the pressure slightly better than the Gamecocks, who were staving off break points to stretch out games. Koch was the first Gamecock to get past his opponent, scoring a break with a great backhand volley to win his first set over Withrow 6-4 in the No. 5 match. By that time, Cox had dropped his first set to Ore 6-3, and Pinheiro had fallen to Efferding 6-2 in the No. 3 contest. South Carolina’s Adams was fighting hard at the top of the lineup, but his Aggie opponent continued to surge, leveling the set at 3-3. At the bottom of the lineup, Schafer stayed on serve to keep the Gamecocks in the hunt.

After winning his first set 6-4, Koch stormed past Withrow in the second 6-2 to level the team score at 1-1. It was not enough to disrupt the charging Aggies, who had won the first sets in the Nos. 1 and 6 matches as well. Mihov was on serve late in his second set, giving Vinsant all he could handle, but as the Gamecocks’ senior served to stay in the match, Vinsant got the break for the 6-0, 6-4 victory that put the Aggies up 2-1. Shortly after, Texas A&M got within a point of the win, though, as Efferding closed out his win over Pinheiro 6-2, 6-1.

Still the Gamecocks battled. Cox was on serve late in his second set with Ore, but appeared more in control of the set. After a tough hold to take a 6-5 lead, he won the set 7-5 when Ore sent his shot long on break point. Schafer was working to come back from an early break at No. 6, and Adams was also on serve early in the second set at the top of the lineup, where every game became a war of attrition, going to deuce multiple times.

Just as Cox was starting his third set, Schafer was pressuring Jordan Szabo to get a break. After trailing early in Szabo’s service game at 3-4, Schafer fought back to deuce. The Aggies’ junior recovered, though, to win the game and maintain his 5-3 lead. After holding serve, Schafer had one more chance to get back in the second set, but the veteran would not be denied, closing out the Gamecock freshman 7-5, 6-4 to seal the victory for Texas A&M.

South Carolina now awaits the NCAA Tournament field announcement, which will be on April. 29.

#11 Texas A&M 4, #30 South Carolina 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2)
1. (6) Junior Ore/Jackson Withrow (TAM) def. (23) Chip Cox/ Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 8-5
2. (64) Harrison Adams/Shane Vinsant (TAM) def. Andrew Adams/Kyle Koch (SC) 8-6
3. (66) Jordan Szabo/Jeremy Efferding (TAM) led Thiago Pinheiro/Andrew Schafer (SC) 7-6 suspended

Singles (Order of Finish: 5, 2, 3, 6)
1. (55) Andrew Adams (SC) vs. (14) Harrison Adams (TAM) 3-6, 4-2 suspended
2. (23) Shane Vinsant (TAM) def. (107) Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 6-0, 6-4
3. (57) Jeremy Efferding (TAM) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-2, 6-1
4. Chip Cox (SC) vs. Junior Ore (TAM) 3-6, 7-5, 1-1 suspended
5. Kyle Koch (SC) def. Jackson Withrow (TAM) 6-4, 6-2
6. Jordan Szabo (TAM) def. Andrew Schafer (SC) 7-5, 6-4