Feb. 18, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — University of South Carolina men’s tennis continues its month-long February road slate in Tampa, Fla., this weekend as it takes on a pair of top-20 opponents. The Gamecocks, ranked No. 55, battle No. 14 South Florida on Fri., Feb. 19, before squaring off with No. 17 San Diego on Saturday. Both matches begin at 2 p.m., and will be played at the USF Tennis Complex.
South Carolina (5-4) was idle last week after a trio of road matches in the state of North Carolina the weekend prior against No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 32 NC State and Bryant. South Florida (4-3) and San Diego (4-4) enter the weekend on the heels of competition at the National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., where the Bulls and Toreros met to close out Sunday’s consolation draw with the Bulls claiming a 4-2 win.
Head Coach Josh Goffi: “We are heading into a big weekend versus a couple of top-tier teams, and we can’t wait to take on that level of play. The boys are excited to be playing outside, where the tennis is much more physical than indoors. That’s our goal — to be physical and get to the deep part of the matches. To have a shot at being successful this weekend, we’ll need to come out swinging from the start, which is something we haven’t done well so far this year. It’ll be clear early in the match if we came to play.”
After going just 7-16 and 4-10 in dual-match play last season, sophomore Thomas Mayronne has shown vast improvement in his second season. The Monroe, La., native leads the team with an 8-1 mark in dual play and a 21-5 record overall this season. He received high praise from his coach this fall for his drive and effort, pushing his teammates throughout the fall season to match his own intensity. His leadership certainly paid dividends as it aided the Gamecocks to five individual fall titles, while Mayronne is currently a winner in nine of his last 10 singles matches. The development in his game has allowed him to move up the lineup this spring to as high as No. 3, two spots higher than he played at any time last season.
No Place Like Home
Following this weekend’s action, South Carolina will travel to Clemson to round out its non-conference slate with its sixth-consecutive match away from home. The Gamecocks finally return home as they open SEC play against Alabama on Mar. 4, their first home match since Jan. 30. Carolina is 4-0 at home this season, including a win over No. 39 Georgia Tech.
Scouting No. 14 South Florida
- The Bulls are led by third-year head coach Matt Hill, who took USF to its first ever NCAA Sweet 16 last season.
- Last season — South Florida went 19-6 and finished ranked No. 19 after winning the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
- Senior Roberto Cid, ranked No. 7 in singles, is 6-1 at the top of the lineup this spring after being named the 2015 ITA Southeast Region Player to Watch.
- Senior Dominic Cotrone, a two-time All-ACC performer at Florida State, is ranked No. 26 in singles, accumulating a 3-2 record for the Bulls this season at the No. 2 position.
- The doubles tandem of Cotrone and sophomore Justin Roberts (No. 40) is 4-1 at the No. 1 position this spring.
Scouting No. 17 San Diego
- The Toreros are under the leadership of first-year head coach Ryan Keckley.
- Last season — San Diego finished 23-5 and won the West Coast Conference for the second-straight year and third time in five seasons.
- Senior Uros Petronijevic, ranked No. 20 in singles, is the reigning WCC Player of the Year. This season he is 2-4 at the No. 1 position.
- Senior Jordan Angus, ranked No. 24 in singles, earned Second-Team All-WCC last season. He is 2-1 at the No. 2 position in 2016.
- Also ranked in singles is senior Jaan Kononov (No. 98) of Estonia and senior Romain Kalaydjian (No. 120) of France.
- The doubles tandem of Angus and junior Filip Vittek (No. 18) is 3-2 at No. 1 and 13-5 overall this season.
South Carolina wraps up its month-long road slate with a match at in-state rival Clemson. The 109th meeting between the two schools will take place on Fri., Feb. 27, at 11 a.m., at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center with the Gamecocks looking for their seventh win in the last nine meetings.