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April 9, 2015

Preview | Live Scoring | Schedule | Roster | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Gamecocks Host SEC Tournament


Elixane Lechemia Feature

Special USTA Event Friday Evening

During the Gamecock women’s tennis match against Tennessee, six wheelchair tennis players from across the state will get to know members of the Gamecock men’s tennis team during a meet and greet. The event is part of “Wheelchair Tennis Day” through USTA South Carolina and the University of South Carolina and is being hosted to promote wheelchair tennis.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 26th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team has its final two regular-season matches this weekend hosting No. 66 Tennessee on Friday at 5 p.m. and No. 5 Georgia on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Carolina Tennis Center.

Sunday will be Senior Day with seniors Meghan Blevins, Elixane Lechemia and Alex Martin honored prior to the match. Football coach Steve Spurrier will also be on hand to hit the honorary first serve before play gets underway against the Bulldogs.

South Carolina (13-8) split a pair of road matches at No. 8 Vanderbilt and then-No. 20 Kentucky last week, falling 6-1 to the Commodores before upsetting the Wildcats with a 4-0 shutout. The win at UK marked the Gamecocks’ first road win over a top-20 team since beating then-No. 15 Georgia in Athens, Ga., on April 23, 2010, in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina dominated the doubles point against the Wildcats with victories on courts two and three by scores of 8-4 and 8-2. Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna clinched the point at three and dropped just three games the entire weekend. In singles, Caroline Dailey, Blevins and Hadley Berg all won their singles matches in straight sets on courts two, four and six. Dailey got the clincher at two by scores of 6-4, 6-4 over then-No. 76 Nadia Ravita.

Several Gamecocks appear in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings this week headlined by Lechemia at No. 60 in singles. In doubles, Blevins and Brigit Folland are holding steady at No. 37, Berg and Dailey moved up 17 spots to No. 58, and the combo of Lechemia/Berg is rated No. 71.

Tennessee (11-12, 3-8 SEC) also split its matches last weekend against Mississippi State and Ole Miss. On Friday, the Volunteers upset the then-44th-ranked Bulldogs after winning the doubles point and won three of the four singles matches that finished. The then-No. 26 Rebels came to town for Senior Day on Sunday and quickly took the match in a 4-0 sweep.

UT has one ranked singles player with Joanna Henderson at No. 96. She and Caitlyn Williams are ranked No. 38 together in doubles as well.

The Vols own the edge 26 to 17 and have won 13 of the past 15 match-ups with South Carolina, but seven of those 13 victories have come by 4-3 margins. In fact, four of the past six meetings in the series have been decided by one point. South Carolina’s two victories in the past 15 contests with Tennessee have actually come in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2007 and 2009. South Carolina’s last win in the series in 2009 came in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and helped propel them to an Elite 8 appearance. The Gamecocks’ last win over UT in Columbia came in 2002 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. Carolina defeated Tennessee at home during the regular season as well that year.

Georgia (17-4, 10-1 SEC) hosted its final two home matches of the regular season a week ago and won both, beating Ole Miss, 4-0, and Mississippi State, 7-0. Georgia was a perfect 9-0 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex during the regular season and the Bulldogs are currently riding an eight-match winning streak. Lauren Herring celebrated Senior Day in the Mississippi State match and fittingly clinched the contest with a 6-2, 6-2 win on court one. Georgia faces No. 6 Florida on Friday in Gainesville, Fla., before taking on the Gamecocks.

The Bulldogs’ lineup features national rankings for all six of its competitors. Herring tops the list at No. 8 followed by Ellen Perez (59), Kennedy Shaffer (69), Hannah King (82), Silvia Garcia (91) and Caroline Brinson (110). Georgia also has three ranked doubles combinations with Herring/Perez (19), Garcia/Shaffer (24) and Brinson/Mia King (78).

South Carolina has played Georgia more than any other team in its history since first fielding a varsity team in spring 1974. Sunday marks the 59th time the two schools have played and the Bulldogs own the advantage 43 to 15. The Gamecocks’ last win over UGA came in Athens in 2010 by a 4-1 margin in the quarterfinal round of the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs took a 4-0 win last year in Athens and grabbed a 7-0 triumph the last time they visited Columbia in 2013. South Carolina’s last home win versus the Bulldogs was in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament in 2002 when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 in the nation.

The Gamecocks remain at home next week, as they host the SEC Tournament from April 15-19. South Carolina lasted hosted the conference tournament in 2002.