April 8, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 47 South Carolina is set for its final push into the postseason with three matches this weekend, beginning Thu., April 9, against No. 14 Ole Miss. The Gamecocks will look to their seniors to set the tone in their final trio of outings, including two at Carolina Tennis Center. Thursday night’s match is set for 5 p.m. with Sunday’s split doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. against No. 71 Arkansas with a ceremony honoring the three seniors to take place15 minutes prior to the start of the match. The Gamecocks will then travel to South Carolina State for a Sunday afternoon contest to cap off their regular-season schedule.
Seniors Andrew Adams, Kyle Koch and Thiago Pinheiro have had the challenge of leading an otherwise young team through a season marred by injuries and other obstacles, but the trio is rounding into form just in time for a late surge into postseason action. Koch has been the steadying force in both the singles and doubles lineups this season, leading the team with 22 singles wins and 21 in doubles, working with three different partners. The ultra competitive Irmo, S.C., product has played the season in the top half of the singles for the first time in his career and still has a 13-6 dual-match record that includes a 3-3 slate in SEC action. Adams and Pinheiro have each been sidelined by injuries this season, but have played some of their best, most competitive tennis in the last week. Adams’ 6-14 dual-match singles record has come mostly in the Nos. 1 and 2 positions, where he squares off against some of the best players in the nation, and includes a win over a top-65 opponent earlier this season. Pinheiro has wins in two of his last three outings, including a commanding straight-set effort against a ranked foe last weekend. His confidence spills over to the rest of the team and will be an asset going into the home stretch of the season.
No. 14 Ole Miss comes to Columbia with a 15-6 record that includes a 7-3 mark in SEC action after winning three of its last four outings. The Rebels have been nearly unstoppable at home, but just 5-5 outside of Oxford. Three-time All-American Nik Scholtz is locked into the Rebels’ No. 1 spot in the order with a 12-3 record, including a 9-1 slate against ranked foes to help him a No. 14 national ranking. Out of the second spot in the singles lineup, Stefan Lindmark is enjoying a huge junior campaign that has him 84th in the country behind a 19-9 overall record that is highlighted by his undefeated 7-0 mark in SEC action. The Rebels boast a pair of top-50 doubles teams as well.
Ranked 71st in the nation, Arkansas travels to Georgia and South Carolina this weekend looking to snap an eight-match skid that leaves the Razorbacks with an 11-13 record and a 1-8 mark in SEC play. Junior Giammarco Micolani leads the team with a No. 93 national ranking with a 9-9 record out of the top spot in the Arkansas singles lineup. The Razorbacks have been steadily getting points at the bottom of the lineup with David Herrerias posting a 10-5 dual-match record out of the Nos. 5 and 6 positions combined. Arkansas has struggled in doubles this season just a 24-17 team record in dual-match doubles this season.
South Carolina State is 12-2 this season with a 4-0 record in MEAC play, which has them sitting atop the conference standings. Senior Rodney Carey leads the Bulldogs in the singles lineup, boasting a 9-6 record. Sophomore Martin Figura took over the No. 2 spot in the order in mid-March and quickly built a 4-2 record that has buoyed the Bulldogs.
Following this weekend’s action, the Gamecocks head to College Station, Texas, for the SEC Tournament, which begins on Wed., April 15.