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March 5, 2015

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 26th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team begins a four-match SEC stretch away from home when it faces Texas A&M on Friday at 3 p.m. in College Station, Texas. The Gamecocks then take on No. 46 LSU on Sunday at noon in Baton Rouge, La.

The Gamecocks (8-3, 1-1 SEC) went 1-1 on the opening weekend of SEC play, pulling off a 4-1 upset of then-No. 30 Auburn and falling just short in a nearly six-hour match against No. 9 Alabama that saw South Carolina fall 4-2. Against Auburn, the Gamecocks dropped the doubles point but fought back to win three singles matches in three sets at the Nos. 2-4 positions. Elixane Lechemia also registered an upset win over No. 55 Pleun Burgmans at the top position to help the Gamecocks overcome the doubles point. Brigit Folland, who was named this week’s SEC Player of the Week, secured the victory for South Carolina on court three with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 triumph over Emily Flickinger. Folland trailed Flickinger 5-2 in the first set before winning five straight games and she erased a 4-1 deficit in the third set as well with another string of five consecutive games to lift her team to victory.

Versus the Tide, South Carolina won an emotional doubles point with victories on courts two and three. The three set matches in singles, however, did not favor South Carolina the way they did against Auburn, as Alabama won two of three contests, one of which ended in a tiebreaker at No. 2 singles. Folland, though, did manage another big win for South Carolina by upsetting No. 56 Maya Jansen by a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 score, coming back from a 3-1 hole in the third to keep Carolina’s hopes alive in the match.

Texas A&M (3-3, 1-1 SEC) opened SEC play with a 7-0 victory at Tennessee to improve to 3-0 in the all-time SEC series against the Lady Vols. A&M, however, was unable to get its first-ever victory in 10 all-time meetings against Georgia two days later. Texas A&M won an exciting and tightly contested doubles point, but the Bulldogs won five of six singles matches to get the 5-2 victory. Junior Ines Deheza went a combined 4-0 for the week, including a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Georgia All-American Silvia Garcia at the No. 4 line. Deheza and partner Stefania Hristov teamed together for the first time in their careers and went 2-0 in doubles, including a thrilling 8-7(11) victory over UGA’s 16th-ranked Garcia and Kennedy Shaffer to clinch the doubles point against the Bulldogs.

The LSU women’s tennis team (9-4, 1-1 SEC) split its matches versus Georgia and Tennessee on the road this past weekend. The Lady Tigers dropped a 6-1 decision to the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. Skylar Holloway earned the lone win on court six over No. 111 Caroline Brinson for the first win over a ranked opponent in her career. The Lady Tigers came back strong on Sunday to defeat Tennessee 5-2 in Knoxville, Tenn. After dropping the doubles point, LSU stormed back to win the next three points. Even after dropping the point on court two, LSU won the next two courts. No. 39 Joana Vale Costa clinched the win on court one for LSU in three sets.

South Carolina took a 5-2 loss to the Aggies in Columbia last year and suffered the same fate two years ago in College Station. Friday marks the 11th all-time meeting between South Carolina and Texas A&M. The Gamecocks won six in a row over A&M from 1990 to 1995 but they have yet to beat the Aggies since they joined the SEC for the 2012-13 school year.

South Carolina has dominated the Tigers over the years with a 21-4 advantage. The Tigers have only won once in Columbia and have never won there since South Carolina joined the SEC. The Gamecocks picked up a 4-1 win over LSU in Columbia last season and were 5-1 winners in Baton Rouge in 2013. Carolina’s win in 2013 snapped a two-match losing streak on the Tigers’ home courts, as they took a 4-0 loss there in 2011 and were 5-2 losers in 2009. South Carolina is 8-3 all-time against LSU in Baton Rouge.

The Gamecocks will make another trip west of the Mississippi next weekend as well. South Carolina faces Missouri on March 13 at 6 p.m. and Arkansas on March 15 at noon.