Sept. 11, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women’s tennis team kicks off the 2014-15 season Friday in Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic hosted by Marquette and The Town Club. In addition to the Gamecocks, Western Michigan, Marquette and Wisconsin will compete in the event that takes place on clay courts at The Town Club through Sunday.
Friday begins with the Gamecocks facing Western Michigan in doubles play followed by singles matches with Wisconsin. On Saturday, South Carolina takes on Wisconsin in doubles and then Marquette in singles. The Gamecocks conclude play with doubles action Sunday versus Marquette and singles matches with Western Michigan.
South Carolina is no stranger to this event, as the Gamecocks competed at the MTC in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, South Carolina dominated the Milwaukee Tennis Classic with a 26-1 record and then posted a 33-0 mark a year later.
This year’s Gamecock squad features two listed among the preseason ITA rankings with senior Elixane Lechemia topping the list at No. 56. Sophomore Brigit Folland is ranked No. 114 and combined the duo is ranked No. 43 in doubles. South Carolina returns all but two from its team last season that finished with a 17-11 record and a second-round showing in the NCAA Tournament. The team closed out the year with a No. 26 ranking.
Lechemia had a breakout year for South Carolina playing the bulk of the spring season at the No. 1 singles and doubles spots. She led the team in overall singles wins with a 22-10 mark and was 12-5 at the top slot in singles. Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova were 10-5 playing the No. 1 doubles spot and earned a bid to the NCAA Doubles Championship before finishing the year ranked 29th. Lechemia ascended as high as No. 67 in singles and placed 80th at season’s end. She picked up All-SEC First Team honors and was named the team’s MVP as well.
Carolina’s other two 20-match winners from a year ago are also back with senior Meghan Blevins and sophomore Caroline Dailey. Blevins won the most SEC matches of any Gamecock with seven and finished with a 16-6 record in duals. She notched a 21-11 record in doubles as well. Dailey went 20-11 as a freshman playing mostly at the Nos. 5 and 6 spots and was at the No. 3 hole in doubles at the end of the season.
The Gamecocks also return starter junior Ximena Siles Luna as well as Folland. Siles Luna came on strong toward the end of last season at No. 6 singles and played alongside Dailey for the third doubles position. Folland played almost every match in the top half of the singles lineup and was half of the Gamecocks’ No. 2 doubles squad for a good portion of the spring.
Two new faces looking to make an impact this season are Megen Cochran and Hadley Berg. TennisRecruiting.net considered both five-star prospects. Cochran was ranked as one of the top 50 prospects in the country all four years of high school, while Berg is coming off a summer that saw her win one ITA Summer Circuit singles and doubles title as well as a singles runner-up finish.