March 2, 2016
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 12 South Carolina women’s tennis launches its SEC slate with a pair of home matches this weekend at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks take on No. 57 Missouri on Thurs., Mar. 3 at 5 p.m., and No. 35 Arkansas on Saturday at 1 p.m. Attendance and parking at all home matches is free.
Carolina (8-2) improved to 3-0 against top-30 teams last Sunday as it earned a road victory against then-No. 27 Wake Forest. Missouri enters the weekend with its first national ranking since 2014 as it boasts a 12-1 record this spring. Arkansas (6-4) comes in to Columbia following a pair of 4-3 wins over Old Dominion and Wichita State.
Head Coach Kevin Epley: “The last few weeks we have come into form, and it’s a great way to enter the SEC season. We still think we can play better tennis, and that’s what we are aspiring to do in our first weekend of league play. Our goal is to have complete matches across the board with every player in doubles and singles. If we can do that, we will be in a good position for a strong start to the conference season.”
In The Rankings
South Carolina rose five spots to No. 12 in this week’s Oracle/ITA Rankings, its highest team ranking since 2002. This comes a week after the team jumped up 20 spots to No. 17. Three Gamecocks are also ranked individually. Junior Caroline Dailey is No. 71, while freshmen Paige Cline (No. 108) and Ingrid Gamarra Martins (No. 118) also make the cut.
South Carolina Notables
- The Gamecocks are 3-0 against top-30 opponents this season.
- Seven of the Gamecocks’ 10 opponents have been ranked in the Oracle/ITA Rankings at some point this season.
- The Gamecocks have won the doubles point in eight of 10 matches this spring, posting a 1-1 record when dropping the point.
- Playing at No. 1 doubles, sophomore Hadley Berg and freshman Paige Cline have posted a 4-0 record.
- Carolina is a combined 16-2 in the No. 4 and 5 spots of the singles lineup this spring.
- Berg is perfect in her first eight singles results, capturing all eight matches in straight sets.
- Junior Brigit Folland has racked up four straight victories, including a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 4 last week, en route to a 6-1 spring record.
- Freshman Ingrid Gamarra Martins, ranked No. 118 individually, is 8-2 this spring in singles, and leads the team at 2-0 in three-set matches.
Scouting No. 57 Missouri
- Missouri is under the direction of fifth-year head coach Sasha Schmid, who led the Tigers to a 9-18 record a year ago.
- The Tigers returned 84 percent of their singles wins and 77 percent of their doubles wins from 2015.
- Missouri’s lone loss this season came against No. 13 Wichita State.
- The doubles tandem of junior Beatriz Machado Santos and senior Kelli Hine is ranked No. 46.
- Santos is 9-2 at No. 1 singles, while Hine and sophomore Brianna Lashway are a combined 21-3 at the No. 2 and 3 positions.
Scouting No. 35 Arkansas
- Michael Hegarty is in his 13th season as head coach at Arkansas, where he is the programs’ all-time winningest coach (163-144).
- Arkansas’s four losses have all come to teams currently ranked in the Top 25.
- There are four seniors and six international players among the 12-person roster.
- Freshman Ana Oparenovic leads the team in singles with a 7-3 dual match record, going 5-2 at No. 2.
- The doubles tandem of senior Yuliya Lysa and junior Shannon Hudson is ranked No. 45.
Carolina continues its SEC home slate next week with a pair of matches. The Gamecocks battle Vanderbilt on Wed., Mar. 9, at 5 p.m., and square off with Kentucky on Sat., Mar. 12, at 1 p.m. Following the match against the Wildcats, the Gamecocks will take on South Carolina State in a non-conference matchup.