COLUMBIA, S.C. — A dominant performance in singles helped No. 59 South Carolina secure a 5-2 win over No. 39 Georgia Tech, before the earning a 7-0 sweep of The Citadel Saturday at the USC Field House. The Gamecocks, who improved to 4-2 on the season, won in straight sets in all 11 of their singles wins on the day.
The Yellow Jackets outlasted the Gamecocks in a tightly contested doubles session to open play. Georgia Tech’s duo of brothers Michael and Casey Kay, ranked No. 36 nationally, pulled out a 6-4 win at court two. The Gamecocks came fighting back as junior Alex Fennell and sophomore Thomas Mayronne forced a tiebreak at court one after facing a 5-3 deficit, and sophomore Gabriel Friedrich and freshman Yancy Dennis went to a tiebreak at court three. Georgia Tech’s experience on court three eventually prevailed as they pulled out the 7-2 tiebreak victory to take doubles, 2-0.
It was on to singles where Christopher Eubanks, the sixth-ranked player in the nation, took down sophomore Gabriel Freidrich, 6-3, 6-4, in Friedrich’s 2016 singles debut. From there, South Carolina mounted their rally as they claimed first-set wins at courts two, three and four. Fennell, ranked No. 116, fought to a 6-3, 6-4 win at two just as junior Andrew Schafer topped his opponent by the same score at four. No. 65 Harrison O’Keefe powered to a 6-2, 7-5 win, surging the Gamecocks to a 3-2 advantage. Mayronne continued his impressive play this spring as he clinched the match for the Gamecocks with a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 5. The win moves him to 5-0 in singles this spring. Freshman Wood Benton closed out the match with a 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 6 to give South Carolina its third win of the season.
In the second match of the day, Carolina quickly collected a 1-0 lead thanks to a pair of 6-0 victories in doubles by Swank and O’Keefe at No. 1 and Dennis and Benton at No. 2. Fennell and Mayronne made it a sweep in doubles with a hard-fought 7-5 triumph on court one. The Gamecocks carried that effort into singles as O’Keefe (6-1, 6-0), Mayronne (6-0, 6-1) and Fennell (6-2, 6-0) each attained quick victories to clinch the match for the home squad. Swank fought back in his first set from down 5-3 to win it, 7-5, on his way to a straight-set win. Dennis (6-1, 6-1) and Benton (6-0, 6-1) made it a 7-0 sweep with wins at No. 5 and No. 6.
Head Coach Josh Goffi: “It was good to have Gabriel (Friedrich) back in the lineup. He needed to see some action today and test his level out against a very good player. He did very well, and it brought some confidence to the guys on the team. We lost the doubles point against Georgia Tech, but the guys responded well. We came back and won five-out-of-six singles matches. That’s something that a good team does, and that’s something we needed to do early in the season to build off of. That gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
In their first match of the day, the Gamecocks turned the match around in singles on courts two, three and four, picking up wins on each court and rallying from down 2-0 to on top 3-2. Carolina would go on to win the match, 5-2.
- The Gamecocks did not drop a set in any of today’s 11 singles wins.
- Sophomore Gabriel Friedrich made his first singles appearance of the spring after surgery in October.
- Playing in the middle of the lineup, sophomore Thomas Mayronne is now 5-0 in 2016 and leads the team with 18 wins this season.
- Sophomore Harrison O’Keefe has not surrendered more than two games in a set in any of his three singles wins this spring.
A road date at No. 11 Wake Forest on Fri, Feb. 5, launches a six-game road trip for the Gamecocks that encompasses the entire month of February. The road trip is highlighted by contests with No. 36 NC State, No. 13 South Florida, No. 16 San Diego and rival Clemson.