Jan. 6, 2015
OLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis will make its spring season debut ranked No. 27 in the nation, the ITA announced today. Seniors Kyle Koch and Thiago Pinheiro and sophomore Andrew Schafer earned spots in the singles rankings, while the freshman doubles team of Thomas Mayronne and Harrison O’Keefe is among the nation’s top 50 tandems.
The Gamecocks played a light schedule in the fall, focusing their attention on preparing for their always grueling spring schedule, which kicks off on Sat., Jan. 17, with a doubleheader against No. 55 Elon and Furman. South Carolina closed the 2013-14 season ranked No. 27 after reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. The Gamecocks rallied down the stretch of the season, turning a 10-10 record into a 14-12 mark at the end of the regular season to earn their third-straight bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks return four of six entries from last season’s regular singles lineup with senior Andrew Adams holding down the No. 1 position. He enters the spring unranked after a challenging fall, but has shown he can deliver from the top spot in dual-match play.
Pinheiro launches his senior season ranked No. 71 in the nation after posting a 7-2 record in the fall, during which he notched a pair of wins over ranked opponents and reached the round of 16 at the ITA Regional. Sophomore Andrew Schafer went 7-5 in the fall and enters the spring ranked 83rd in the nation. His fall resume includes a win over the 15th-ranked player in the nation and a tough three-set loss to the No. 7 player. His SEC All-Freshman campaign last season saw him ranked as high as No. 88 prior to SEC action, and he finished the year with a 27-10 record. Koch rounds out the trio of ranked Gamecocks at No. 118 behind a 9-4 fall effort that included a pair of ranked wins. Koch powered into the quarterfinals of the SEC Fall Classic and reached the round of 16 at the ITA Regional.
Newcomers Mayronne and O’Keefe spent their redshirt spring of 2014 well and gelled into the nation’s 46th-ranked doubles team to open their 2015 campaign. The duo gave notice to its SEC foes early with a march to the final of the SEC Fall Classic, falling to the then-No. 42 team from Florida.
The Gamecocks’ spring schedule includes 21 matches against nationally ranked teams, including 12 against top-30 opponents. South Carolina will host 15 matches with six top-30 teams visiting Columbia. Admission and parking for all tennis matches is free.