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Feb. 20, 2015

SAN DIEGO – No. 21 South Carolina dropped a tough 7-0 decision at San Diego State Friday afternoon at Aztec Tennis Center. The Aztecs (5-4) rallied to win the doubles point and got the Gamecocks (8-4) on their heels early in singles en route to the victory. South Carolina forced three third sets in the match, but not until after the team match was decided.

The two teams battled to the bitter end in the No. 2 and 3 doubles matches. San Diego State led early at the top of the lineup, but the Gamecocks were up a break in the No. 2 contest as No. 46 Thomas Mayronne and Harrison O’Keefe seemed to be turning the tide. Neither team could get an advantage in the No. 3 match behind solid play from sophomores Andrew Schafer and Sam Swank. As the Aztecs took the win in the No. 1 match, Mayronne/O’Keefe closed out their win at No. 2. The doubles point came down to the hotly contested No. 3 spot, where a late service break delivered the 7-5 win to the Aztecs for an early 1-0 lead in the team scoring.

South Carolina welcomed Thiago Pinheiro back to the lineup after he missed the last four matches with an injury, and the senior returned to the No. 3 spot in the singles lineup behind classmates Andrew Adams and Kyle Koch in the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. Koch was the first to go up a break against Thorsten Bertsch, opening with a 3-0 advantage, and Schafter closely followed with a 4-1 lead in the No. 4 contest against Marko Goles-Babic. The Aztecs were up a break in the Nos. 1, 3 and 6 matches.

As Freddy Gelbrich claimed his first set over Adams at the top of the lineup, Bertsch won the next three games against Koch. Goles-Babic was also mounting a rally against Schafer, forcing a tiebreak in the first set just after the Aztecs took first sets in the Nos. 3, 5 and 6 contests. The Gamecocks hoped that Schafer’s 7-6 (5) win would shift the energy, but Koch could not hold back the charting Bertsch, who closed out their first set with a hard-fought 7-6 (6) tiebreak.

Milen Ianakiev made it a 2-0 San Diego State lead with his 6-4, 6-0 win over O’Keefe in the No. 5 match. Pinheiro and Koch were battling back in their second sets, and Schafer was up a break in his, but the Aztecs sensed the finish line. Gelbrich held off Adams to make it a 3-0 lead with his 6-1, 6-4 victory, and Andranik Khachatryan clinched the team win with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Swank on Court 6.

Although the team decision was sealed, the Gamecocks continued their individual efforts. Koch dominated Bertsch in a 6-0 second set, and Pinheiro similarly turned the tables on Jebens with a 6-3 second-set win. A late service break delivered a 5-7 second-set loss to Schafer, who joined his teammates in a third-set super-tiebreaks, all of which went the Aztecs’ way.

South Carolina will look to split their San Diego weekend with another match on Sun., Feb. 22, against University of San Diego at 4 p.m.

San Diego State 7, #21 South Carolina 0

Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3)
1. Freddy Gelbrich/Hendrik Jebens (SDSU) def. Thiago Pinheiro / Kyle Koch (SC) 6-3
2. (46) Thomas Mayronne / Harrison O’Keefe (SC) def. Thorsten Bertsch/Jonas Meinzer (SDSU) 6-4
3. Marko Goles-Babic/Andranik Khachatryan (SDSU) def. Andrew Schafer / Sam Swank (SC) 7-5

Singles (Order of Finish: 5, 1, 6, 3, 2, 4)
1. Freddy Gelbrich (SDSU) def. Andrew Adams (SC) 6-1, 6-4
2. Thorsten Bertsch (SDSU) def. (103) Kyle Koch (SC) 7-6 (6), 0-6, 1-0 (4)
3. Hendrik Jebens (SDSU) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (6)
4. Marko Goles-Babic (SDSU) def. (120) Andrew Schafer (SC) 6-7 (5), 7-5, 1-0 (9)
5. Milen Ianakiev (SDSU) def. Harrison O’Keefe (SC) 6-4, 6-0
6. Andranik Khachatryan (SDSU) def. Sam Swank (SC) 6-4, 6-2