Oct. 15, 2015
CARY, N.C. – The South Carolina men’s tennis team is set to begin play Friday at the USTA/ITA Carolina Regional Championships at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. Three Gamecocks were seeded in the top 16 of the 128-player singles field, which kicks off the action on Friday at 8:30 a.m. with two rounds of play. Play in the 64-team doubles bracket begins on Sat., Oct. 17.
Sophomore Gabriel Friedrich received an eight seed for the event, while juniors Andrew Schafer and Alex Fennell drew the No. 14 and 15 seeds. Friedrich takes the court at 8:30 a.m., as he faces USC Upstate’s Ramon Simonetti. Fennell also opens play at that time with a matchup against Appalachian State’s Zach Bost. Schafer, who is 5-3 this fall, steps onto the court at 10:30 a.m. to take on Winthrop’s Tremayne Mitchell.
“We’re very excited to see what our guys can do,” head coach Josh Goffi said. “I think our guys are in really good places with their game and mentality. We had five guys go to the South Carolina Collegiate event who came back with a lot of wins and confidence. They’ve carried that through into two really good weeks of practice. The other three guys had great tournaments previously at the Georgia Tech Invitational, so they’re coming with some confidence also. It’s an open field for our guys, and this is where we want them to shine.”
Sophomore Thomas Mayronne and junior Sam Swank, who each lead the team in wins this fall, join Friedrich and Fennell with matches at 8:30 a.m. Swank will be tested by Ollie Casey of Appalachian State, while Mayronne does battle with Connor Thompson of UNC Greensboro.
Freshman Yancy Dennis, who has won three of his last four matches, follows the quartet with a match against Furman’s Ben Horst. Sophomore Harrison O’Keefe is paired with No. 7 seed Vincent Lin of Duke, and Wood Benton faces off against Gardner-Webb’s Maximillian Scholl.
The finalists in the singles draw receive wildcard bids to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in November in Flushing, N.Y. South Carolina is looking to send its first player to the event since Diego Cubas qualified in 2009.
“The goal for this weekend is to see if we can get somebody through,” Goffi said. “That is something we haven’t done in a long time here at South Carolina. We also realize there’s not an easy match in this tournament. You can be playing great and get knocked out in the first round. Our guys have to bring it, and they’re aware of that.”
The doubles draw will be released Friday morning. Goffi plans to use this tournament as a chance to tinker with his doubles tandems and expose them to high-level competition.
“We are trying new doubles pairings this weekend,” Goffi said. “We’ve got a few that could work this season, but we are still searching for the perfect combinations. It’s a process throughout the fall. We’re not necessarily going for results, but looking for the product on the court and level of play. Then, we’ll refine those teams as we get closer to the spring.”
Carolina has had doubles tandems advance to the quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons. Departed seniors Andrew Adams and Kyle Koch advanced to the quarterfinals in 2014, while Tsvetan Mihov and Thiago Pinheiro reached the semifinals in 2013.
The event marks the third of the fall for the Gamecocks, who won the singles and doubles titles at the South Carolina Collegiate Invitational earlier this month. Carolina continues the fall season next weekend when it takes split squads to the NC State Invitational and the SEC Invitational Oct. 23-25.
Singles – First Round Schedule
8:30 a.m. Sam Swank (SC) vs. Ollie Casey (App. State)
8:30 a.m. (8) Gabriel Friedrich (SC) vs. Ramon Simonetti (USC Upstate)
8:30 a.m. Thomas Mayronne (SC) vs. Connor Thompson (UNCG)
8:30 a.m. (15) Alex Fennell (SC) vs. Zach Bost (App. State)
10:00 a.m. Yancy Dennis (SC) vs. Ben Horst (Furman)
10:30 a.m. (14) Andrew Schafer (SC) vs. Tremayne Mitchell (Winthrop)
11:30 a.m. Harrison O’Keefe (SC) vs. (7) Vincent Lin (Duke)
12:00 p.m. Wood Benton (SC) vs. Maximillian Scholl (GWebb)
Friday, Oct. 16 l 8:30 AM
Singles Opening Round, Singles Round of 64, Singles Consolation Round of 64
Saturday, Oct. 17 l 9:00 AM
Singles Round of 32, Doubles Round of 64, Doubles Round of 32, Doubles Consolation Round of 32
Sunday, Oct. 18 l 9:00 AM
Singles Round of 16, Singles Quarterfinals, Doubles Round of 16
Monday, Oct. 19 l 10:00 AM
Singles Semifinals, Doubles Quarterfinals, Doubles Semifinals
Tuesday, Oct. 20 l 10:00 AM
Singles Finals, Doubles Finals