Jan. 23, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 28th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team improved to 3-0 on the season with a 7-0 sweep of Coastal Carolina Saturday at the USC Field House. The match was moved up to a 2 p.m. start after the morning match of the doubleheader against College of Charleston was cancelled due to poor travel conditions.
A crushing forehand return by freshman Ingrid Gamarra Martins gave the Gamecocks the early advantage in doubles, as the Brazilian and junior Caroline Dailey defeated Libby Scott and Sara Bondar, 6-1. Another freshman clinched the doubles point for South Carolina as Rachel Rohrabacher placed a volley just inside the line to give her and teammate Megen Cochran a 6-2 win.
With South Carolina leading 1-0, it was freshman Paige Cline giving the Gamecocks their next point as she worked through Coastal’s Libby Scott, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1. The 43rd-ranked player in the nation is now 3-0 this spring playing at the top of the lineup. Folland pushed the Gamecock lead to 3-0 with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 4. Martins earned her first win over a ranked opponent and a match-clinching win as she put away No. 114 Romane Delay, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 3.
Dailey continues to work herself back into form after her fall surgery. She grinded out a 6-4, 6-4 win to improve to 2-1 at the No. 2 position. Senior Ximena Siles Luna was impressive in her 6-2, 6-0 conquest of Marie Babayan, while sophomore Megen Cochran seized control early on her way to a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
Quoting Coach Kevin Epley
“I’m real happy with our performance today. We are pleased with our progression the last few weeks. We were kind of taken off guard this morning by not playing the morning match, so we had to regroup and get ready for this match. We wanted to see some improvements based on what we saw last week, and I think we stepped up to the plate. Everybody is competing hard and playing pretty consistent tennis. We are just geared up for Virginia next week. We want to go to Charlottesville (Va.) and show what we can bring to the table because we feel like we are a pretty competitive team right now.”
The Gamecocks set the tone for the match by earning the doubles point and jumping out to big first-set leads at courts one, three and four courtesy of Cline, Martins and Folland.
- The Gamecocks’ first match of the day against College of Charleston was cancelled due to poor travelling conditions.
- Head Coach Kevin Epley is now one win away from career-win 200. He entered the day with 198 career wins.
- The Gamecocks have beaten their first three opponents by a combined score of 20-1.
- Freshman Paige Cline (43) has made it look easy at the top of the lineup ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” the scores of her last five sets: 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-1.
South Carolina hits the road for the first time this spring, travelling to Charlottesville, Va., Jan. 29-31 for a pair of matches. Coming off back-to-back ACC titles, the eighth-ranked Virginia Cavaliers host the Gamecocks on Jan. 29 at 5 p.m., before South Carolina squares off with Marshall on a neutral court two days later at 9 a.m.