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May 19, 2015

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Senior and 45th-ranked Elixane Lechemia from the South Carolina women’s tennis team begins play in the 64-woman NCAA Singles Championship on Wednesday at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas. Lechemia faces senior and No. 21 Chanelle Van Nguyen of UCLA in the first round with play scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. CT.

Lechemia has been ranked as high as No. 43 this season and went 14-10 overall. She was 11-9 during the spring playing at the No. 1 singles position to include a 6-5 mark in SEC play. Her efforts earned her a place on the All-SEC Second Team to mark her second appearance on an all-conference team in as many years.

Van Nguyen plays the No. 2 spot for the Bruins, who are looking to win consecutive NCAA titles when they take on Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. CT today. Van Nguyen has been ranked as high as No. 3 this spring and is 21-10 overall. She is 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament thus far and earned Pac-12 Second Team honors earlier this month.

This year’s tournament marks Lechemia’s first appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship. Last season, she played in the 32-team NCAA Doubles Championship alongside 2014 senior Dominika Kanakova. Lechemia is just the ninth Gamecock to have played in both championship events during her career. The last to do so was Ana Marija Zubori when she competed in the singles and doubles championships in 2009.

South Carolina has placed a singles competitor or doubles team in 27 of 34 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Laura Bernstein remains the only Gamecock to advance as far as the round of 16 in singles, doing so in 1983. Anya Morgina was the last player from South Carolina to compete in the singles tournament in 2012 when she reached the second round.