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Aug. 24, 2015

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina women’s tennis head coach Kevin Epley announced his team’s 2015-16 schedule on Tuesday. The Gamecocks have four tournaments scheduled for the fall and 25 dual matches in the spring, including 15 matchups with NCAA Championship teams from a year ago.

Following their 21st-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the Gamecocks begin the season Sept. 18-20 with an event at William & Mary, where Epley coached from 2003-08. The spring non-conference slate is highlighted by dates with Virginia (Jan. 29) and Clemson (Feb. 20). The Gamecocks begin SEC play on March 3 as they take on Missouri. The SEC home slate features five opponents that finished ranked in the top 25 of the 2015 ITA rankings and includes Missouri, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Florida, Texas A&M and LSU.

“It goes without saying when you are an SEC school, you are playing the best week-in and week-out,” Epley said. “This year, our schedule likely includes six of the top 10 teams in the nation, so we have plenty of opportunities to get some big wins, which is an exciting prospect. Additionally, we have added some teams in the No. 30-60 ranking range, in an effort to get a little more diversity in match experience.”

Following an event at William & Mary, the Gamecocks play at the Furman Invitational (Sept. 25-27), come back to Columbia to host the SC Invitational (Oct. 2-5) and then travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., consecutively for the ITA Carolina Regionals (Oct. 22-26) and the 12th annual Kitty Harrison Invitational (Nov. 6-7).

South Carolina kicks off its spring slate at home with a pair of doubleheaders. The Gamecocks will take on Furman and South Alabama on Sun., Jan. 17, before facing Coastal Carolina and the College of Charleston on Sat., Jan. 23.

The Gamecocks will hit the road for a tough stretch as they travel to the University of Virginia, Marshall and William & Mary. The Gamecocks head to Virginia for the third-consecutive year looking to avenge last season’s NCAA Championship second-round loss. Likewise, William & Mary is coming off an NCAA Championship appearance in 2015.

Epley’s squad will host Georgia State and UNC Charlotte in a doubleheader on Sat., Feb. 13, before closing non-conference action against a pair of ACC teams. Clemson comes to Columbia on Sat., Feb. 20, for the Palmetto Series and the 51st meeting overall between the two programs, and the Gamecocks go to Winston-Salem, N.C., on Sun., Feb. 28, to take on Wake Forest.

South Carolina begins SEC play with its first four matches at home as Missouri, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Kentucky all come to Columbia in early March. The Gamecocks will be tested, however, with four road contests to close out the regular season as they travel to Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia throughout the month of April.

SEC Tournament play will take place the week before final exams from April 20-24 in Baton Rouge, La. NCAA first- and second-round action is set for May 6-8. NCAA Team, Singles and Doubles Championships will take place in Tulsa, Okla., from May 19-30.

The Gamecocks went 15-11 last year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships for the 18th time in the last 21 seasons. They return six letterwinners from last year’s squad, which finished the season ranked No. 29 in the nation.