Feb. 20, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 20th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team takes on its final non-conference opponent Saturday in Greenville, S.C., when it faces Furman at 11 a.m. at Minor Herndon Mickel Tennis Center.
The Gamecocks (6-2) are coming off a pair of wins from a doubleheader last Saturday against Charlotte and College of Charleston. Against the 49ers, South Carolina swept all three doubles positions and used wins from Caroline Dailey, Ximena Siles Luna and Meghan Blevins to earn a 4-0 victory. Carolina took the doubles point from the Cougars as well and then got straight set triumphs from Elixane Lechemia, Blevins and Brigit Folland to secure the match. Dailey added a three-set win to cap off a 5-0 decision.
Blevins continues to lead the team in total singles victories this season with an impressive 17-4 record. She enters Saturday’s match having won three straight and is 5-2 in dual matches this year with wins coming at the Nos. 2-4 spots. She owns one of the team’s best individual doubles marks as well with a 20-5 slate. Blevins and Folland comprise the Gamecocks’ most productive doubles unit with an 18-3 record. They are 6-1 in duals and have played the past two matches at the No. 1 position. Folland is 23-4 in doubles individually to lead the team.
South Carolina currently has two ranked singles players with Lechemia at No. 111 and Dailey at No. 121. For Dailey, it is her first career ranking and is due to her victory against Danielle Collins of Virginia on Jan. 30. Collins is the defending NCAA champion and currently ranked No. 42. In doubles, Lechemia and Hadley Berg are rated No. 46 with an 8-5 record. They have played four matches this season at No. 1 doubles and one at No. 2.
Furman (1-6) has lost six consecutive matches since opening the season with a 7-0 win against USC Upstate on Jan. 21. The Paladins began the year ranked No. 60 and were No. 67 before the latest poll saw them dropped from the top 75. Furman played Georgia State and Miami (Ohio) in a doubleheader in Atlanta a week ago and suffered a 7-0 loss to GSU and a 5-2 setback to the Redhawks. Alex Moreno-Kaste has the team’s best singles record in dual matches with a 4-2 mark playing the Nos. 1-2 positions.
The Gamecocks and Paladins have a long history that dates back to 1974. Furman won the first six matches in the series from 1974 to 1976, but South Carolina has won 31 straight since then to lead the all-time series 31-6. Carolina won last year’s match in Columbia, S.C., by a 7-0 score and picked up a 6-1 victory the last time it visited Greenville in 2013. The two teams have played every year since 1999.
South Carolina gets SEC play started the following week after facing Furman when it hosts No. 27 Auburn at 5 p.m. at Carolina Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 27. Eighth-ranked Alabama then visits the Palmetto State for a noon match-up on Sunday, March 1.