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Jan. 31, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 29 South Carolina defeated the No. 28 Clemson Tigers 6-1 Saturday afternoon at the University of South Carolina Fieldhouse. The Gamecocks battled for a competitive doubles point then ran through singles play, capturing the first three singles points and clinching the match before the Tigers registered their first point of the afternoon.

“The quality of tennis wasn’t great initially,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “Everybody was just trying to get their bearings on how each was going to play. But the quality of tennis just grew to phenomenal. That was the best college tennis I have seen in my career here on that last doubles on Court 1. It was unbelievable. This team’s got a lot of character.”

South Carolina captured the doubles point when the Gamecocks’ lead pairing of Thiago Pinheiro / Kyle Koch won a thrilling 7-6(3) match against Clemson’s (60) Hunter Harrington/Alejandro to break a 1-1 tie set up by South Carolina’s Andrew Adams / Andrew Schafer’s 6-4 win over Austin Ansari/Luke Johnson and (46) Thomas Mayronne / Harrison O’Keefe’s 4-6 loss to Clemson’s Christian Harris/Hampton Drake. Pinheiro/Koch improve to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in dual play. The Gamecocks have now taken the doubles point in each of their five matches this spring.

Singles play was even better for the Gamecocks. (83) Schafer, playing out of the No. 4 position, made quick work of Johnson, 6-3, 6-3. After winning a competitive first set, Schafer jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the second before finishing off his match. (71) Pinheiro, playing out of the No. 2 spot this weekend, earned his first dual singles win of the season. After gutting it out in a 7-6(4) first set, the Brazilian was dominant in the second, finishing off his Clemson counterpart, Alejandro Augusto 6-0.

(118) Koch clinched the match for the Gamecocks when he rallied from a set down against Ansari to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Koch posted five service breaks in a match that saw him improve to 3-1 on the season in dual singles play.

“The emotion, the crowd and the team today were all just unbelievable,” Koch said after the match. “I’ve never been a part of a greater environment in my four years as a Gamecock.”

Gamecock freshman Harrison O’Keefe and sophomore Sam Swank each tallied victories after the match had been clinched. O’Keefe overcame a tough first set tiebreak-loss against Drake to win, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3. Swank won in three sets as well, defeating Clemson sophomore Daffra Sanon. After dropping the initial frame 1-6, he returned the favor with a 6-1 in the second set and a hard-fought 7-5 win in the third. Adams dropped the only South Carolina match of the afternoon when he lost, 6-3, 6-3 to (69) Harrington.

South Carolina is back in action next weekend, playing three matches over the course of three days. The Gamecocks take on No. 19 Wake Forest on Friday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. and a doubleheader the following Sunday, Feb. 8 against No. 31 NC State at 11 a.m. followed by a showdown with Wofford at 4 p.m.

#29 South Carolina 6, #28 Clemson 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1*)

1. Thiago Pinheiro/Kyle Koch (SC) def. (60) Hunter Harrington/Alejandro Augusto (CU) 7-6(3)
2. Christian Harris/Hampton Drake def. (46) Thomas Mayronne/Harrison O’Keefe (SC) 6-4
3. Andrew Adams/Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Austin Ansari/Luke Johnson (CU) 6-4

Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 2, 3*, 1, 5, 6)
1. (69) Hunter Harrington (CU) def. Andrew Adams (SC) 6-4, 7-6(4)
2. (71) Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Alejandro Augusto (CU) 7-6(4), 6-0
3. (118) Kyle Koch (SC) def. Austin Ansari (CU) 2-6, 6-2, 6-0
4. (83) Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Luke Johnson 6-3, 6-3
5. Harrison O’Keefe (SC) def. Hampton Drake (SC) 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3
6. Sam Swank (SC) def. Daffra Sanon (CU) 1-6, 6-1, 7-5