March 3, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina men’s tennis launches its SEC slate with a pair of matches this weekend against Alabama and Mississippi State. The Gamecocks square off with the Crimson Tide on Fri., March 4, at 5 p.m., before hosting the Bulldogs Sunday at 11 a.m. Both matches will take place at the Carolina Tennis Center. Parking and attendance at all home matches is free.
The Gamecocks are coming off a successful weekend in Clemson, S.C., where the Garnet and Black wrapped up a month-long road trip by earning sweeps of Clemson (4-0) and UNC Asheville (7-0) to move to 7-6 on the season. The Crimson Tide participated in the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic last weekend, falling to No. 5 Oklahoma State before defeating Princeton. The Bulldogs, who face No. 16 Georgia on Friday, enter the weekend riding an eight-match winning streak after toppling Tulane, 4-3, in New Orleans two weeks ago.
Head Coach Josh Goffi: “Our guys are looking forward to being home after a long road stretch. We had a good win against Clemson, and now they’re looking forward to getting into SEC play. It’s a new season. We call it season three. The indoor season was season one, season two was the road trip for an entire month and now we are in season three. We’re excited to start it with a homestand against two good teams, which we lost to last year, so we are looking to get a little bit of revenge on them at home. There’s always a bit of a rivalry between us and Alabama and we haven’t beaten MSU since I’ve coached here. It’s going to be a good start to the SEC, and it will be great to play in front of so many alumni.”
Friday’s match against Alabama marks the first home match for the Gamecocks since Jan. 30. South Carolina played an intense slate of road matches throughout the month of February, consisting of four teams who have been ranked in the Oracle/ITA Top 25 this spring. The Gamecocks are 4-0 at home this season, including a win over then-No. 39 Georgia Tech.
Honoring the Past
Head Coach Josh Goffi and the men’s tennis program is hosting its first annual Alumni Weekend, as over 40 former Gamecock men’s tennis players and coaches from around the globe will return to Columbia, S.C., to be honored and take part in various activities surrounding the match dates.
Scouting No. 49 Alabama
- Alabama comes in with an 8-5 record, with all five losses by way of top-30 teams.
- The Tide has three ranked players in singles: freshman Mazen Osama (No. 93), sophomore Korey Lovett (No. 118) and senior Becker O’Shaughnessey (No. 121).
- The Crimson Tide are 0-3 when losing the doubles point.
- The doubles tandem of freshman Spencer Richey and sophomore Matthew Rossouw are 8-2 in dual match play.
Scouting No. 50 Mississippi State
- The Bulldogs enter the weekend with an 8-2 record this season after going 20-8 and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2015.
- The Bulldogs have two ranked players in singles: junior Mate Cutura (No. 44), junior Rishab Agarwal (No. 74).
- The Bulldogs are 1-2 when losing the doubles point.
- Freshmen Nuno Borges and Niclas Braun form the Bulldogs’ top doubles tandem, boasting a 7-2 dual-match record.
Carolina is back on the road for a pair of matches on Thursday, Mar. 10, in Nashville, Tenn. The Gamecocks square off with Murray State at 10:30 a.m., before an SEC road match against Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. The Gamecocks fell to the Commodores last season, but lead the head-to-head series, 15-12.