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Feb. 6, 2015


COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 23 South Carolina lost to No. 18 Wake Forest 5-2 Saturday at the USC Fieldhouse. It was the Gamecocks’ first home loss this season and the first time they did not capture the doubles point. Senior Kyle Koch claimed the first point for South Carolina (4-2) with his three-set comeback win in the No. 4 spot in the lineup, and sophomore Sam Swank closed the match with a win in the No. 6 position.

“Wake Forest is a very talented team up and down the lineup, and we had a really sluggish start today,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “Losing the doubles point gave us a tough mountain to climb, but the way we lost that point made it really difficult to come back. If we want to be a good team, we can’t allow that to happen any more. The positive from the match is that the team showed the grit and character that is the foundation of our program, and we were almost able to turn the match around. It’s good to know that we can count on that from match to match as we go through the season.”

Dominant so far this season in doubles, the Gamecocks struggled for the first time against the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest’s No. 3 pair struck first, dispatching Andrew Schafer and Sam Swank 6-2 just ahead of the No. 2 match wrapping up in a 6-3 decision for the Demon Deacons. The Gamecocks trailed 2-0 after Wake Forest’s Noah Rubin, the top recruit in the nation last year, upended Andrew Adams at the top of the singles lineup.

While No. 71 Thiago Pinheiro claimed his first set and the other two matches on court were on serve, the Gamecocks soon found themselves behind the eight ball as No. 83 Schafer and No. 118 Koch suffered late service breaks to drop their opening sets 7-5 in the Nos. 3 and 4 positions, respectively. Both rallied with a service break in the opening game of the second set and rallied for second-set victories. Pinheiro was poised to put the Gamecocks on the board as he jumped out to a 3-0 lead in his second-set tiebreak with No. 12 Romain Bogaerts, but the Demon Deacons’ junior rallied to win seven of the next nine points to force a third set.

Koch notched the Gamecocks’ first win when he completed his comeback over Skander Mansouri in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory to make it a 2-1 match. Schafer had fallen behind No. 52 Jon Ho early in his third set, though, and the 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 decision brought Wake Forest within a point of the match. Buoyed by his tiebreak victory, Bogaerts clinched the team win with a 6-0 final set over Pinheiro.

The teams split the final two matches to finish with Wake Forest taking the No. 5 spot and South Carolina’s Swank powering past Sam Bloom 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 6 matchup.

South Carolina is back in action on Sunday, hosting No. 29 NC State at 11 a.m. and Wofford at 4 p.m. The Gamecocks’ match against the Wolfpack will be their fifth consecutive match against a ranked opponent. Both matches will be played in the USC Fieldhouse.

#18 Wake Forest 5, #23 South Carolina 2

Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 2*)
1. Noah Rubin/Jon Ho (WF) vs. Kyle Koch / Thiago Pinheiro (SC). 4-4 (susp.)
2. Christian Seraphim/Skander Mansouri (WF) def. (46) Thomas Mayronne / Harrison O’Keefe (SC) 6-3
3. Romain Bogaerts/Keivon Tabrizi (WF) def. Andrew Schafer / Sam Swank (SC) 6-2

Singles (Order of Finish: 1, 4, 3, 2*, 5, 6)
1. Noah Rubin (WF) def. Andrew Adams (SC) 6-1, 6-0
2. (12) Romain Bogaerts (WF) def. (71) Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0
3. (52) Jon Ho (WF) def. (83) Andrew Schafer (SC) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
4. (118) Kyle Koch (SC) def. Skander Mansouri (WF) 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
5. Christian Seraphim (WF) def. Harrison O’Keefe (SC) 6-3, 6-4
6. Sam Swank (SC) def. Sam Bloom (WF) 7-5, 6-4