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April 28, 2015

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 30-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team earned its 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament bid Tuesday and will face No. 43 Princeton in the first round May 9 at 9 a.m. at the Sheridan Snyder Tennis Center in Charlottesville, Va.

Also competing in the Charlottesville regional are host and No. 10-ranked Virginia and VCU, who play May 9 at noon. The winners will square off May 10 at noon for the right to play at Baylor University’s Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas, at the NCAA Championships from May 15-19.

South Carolina and Princeton have little history with the Gamecocks winning the only previous meeting, 7-2, in 1985. The Gamecocks and UVa have played five times with South Carolina holding a 3-2 edge, and Carolina holds a 5-2 advantage over VCU. South Carolina has played Virginia in Charlottesville the past two seasons with the Cavaliers winning 5-2 both times.

The Gamecocks enter the tournament with a 14-10 record overall and went 6-7 in SEC play. Individually, Elixane Lechemia is ranked No. 43, which is the highest ranking of her career, and she earned second-team All-SEC honors. In doubles, Caroline Dailey and Hadley Berg top the Gamecocks’ list with a No. 41 ranking, while Meghan Blevins and Brigit Folland are No. 61. Lechemia holds a No. 81 ranking with Berg as well. Blevins, this year’s team MVP, owns a 27-8 singles record to lead the team and she went 27-11 in doubles contests. Her 54 combined victories this season is tied for the sixth most in a single season in South Carolina history. Blevins’ win total is also the highest by a Gamecock in over two decades.

Overall, South Carolina has now been selected for the NCAA Tournament 25 times in 34 years. With 25 bids, South Carolina has the 13th most NCAA appearances in the country. South Carolina’s 21 NCAA appearances in a row are tied for the 11th longest active streak in the nation as well. South Carolina has reached the round of 16 six times (1983, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009) and advanced as far as the quarterfinals twice (1982, 2009). The Gamecocks have also won at least one round in the tournament 17 times during their previous 20 appearances.

Individual selections for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be posted Wednesday on after 6 p.m. Baylor will also host the individual championships from May 20-25.