Jan. 22, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 23 South Carolina women’s tennis team begins dual match play Friday when it travels to Albuquerque, N.M., for a doubleheader against Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona at noon and 4 p.m. ET at the Linda Estes Tennis Complex. The Gamecocks continue their trip out west with a Saturday contest against Kansas at 4 p.m. and conclude their stay Sunday taking on New Mexico at 1 p.m.
South Carolina opened its season last weekend at the Michigan Invitational over Jan. 17-19. Seven Gamecocks competed in Ann Arbor, Mich., against the host Wolverines, Texas Tech and USF. Freshman Hadley Berg produced strong results in the event with a 2-1 record in singles and doubles. The Greenbrae, Calif., native played each doubles contest at the top position and played matches at the Nos. 2-4 spots in singles. She picked up her first career win over a ranked opponent in beating No. 89 Sarah Dvorak of Texas Tech on the final day of the event.
Sophomore Brigit Folland also had a good weekend for the Gamecocks in Michigan. She posted an identical record to Berg and played doubles with the rookie for the first two days of the tournament. Folland leads the team in individual doubles victories with an impressive 17-3 mark. She is also tied for the team lead in singles victories with senior Meghan Blevins at 12.
Folland’s classmate Caroline Dailey played the No. 1 singles spot for all three of her matches in Ann Arbor and she nearly defeated two top-35 opponents, losing in three sets to players from Michigan and Texas Tech. Dailey did score a straight set victory against USF. She went 2-1 in doubles playing a couple matches with junior Ximena Siles Luna at two and then one at the No. 1 spot with Berg.
South Carolina has two ranked players in singles to begin the season with Blevins at No. 99 and senior Elixane Lechemia at No. 120. Blevins, who did not compete in Ann Arbor, went 12-2 in singles and 14-4 in doubles during the fall to lead the squad. She and Folland have a 12-2 record together and are ranked No. 33 nationally. Lechemia, a first-team All-SEC honoree a year ago, played sparingly during the fall with injuries and was held out last weekend to continue letting her ailments heal. Dailey and freshman Megen Cochran are rated No. 58 in doubles as well.
The Gamecocks have virtually no history with any of the four teams they will face this weekend. South Carolina’s only previous meeting with any of the schools came against New Mexico in 1986, an 8-1 win for the Gamecocks. All five teams are competing in their first dual matches of the season in Albuquerque.
Carolina continues its season on the road next weekend as well taking on two of the nation’s best squads at No. 5 Virginia on Jan. 30 and at No. 14 Clemson on Feb. 1.