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March 9, 2016

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Series Breakdowns
Opponent Last Meeting (Date) Series
Murray State W, 6-0 (4/11/14) USC, 1-0
Vanderbilt L, 4-0 (3/29/15) USC, 15-12

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina men’s tennis (7-8, 0-1) is back on the road for a pair of matches on Thursday, March 10, in Nashville, Tenn. The Gamecocks, who were on the road for the entire month of February, square off with Murray State at 11:30 a.m., before an SEC matchup with Vanderbilt at 6 p.m.

Last Time Out

The Gamecocks came up short in a pair of hard-fought matches last weekend. Carolina dropped a 5-2 decision to Alabama on Friday before falling by the same score to Mississippi State on Sunday. Sophomore Gabriel Friedrich put together a dominant performance at No. 1 singles in his team’s loss to the Bulldogs, taking down No. 44 Mate Cutura in straight sets for the Gamecocks’ highest-ranked singles win of the season. The Brazilian has won three of his last four matches.

A Force in Doubles

Doubles play has been a strength for South Carolina, which features two ranked tandems. Junior Alex Fennell and sophomore Harrison O’Keefe are ranked No. 54 with a 4-1 record at the top of the lineup, while Fennell is also ranked with teammate Thomas Mayronne at No. 69. The Gamecocks have taken the doubles point in four of the last five matches.

Counting the Miles

Home matches have been a rarity for the Gamecocks this spring, as last weekend’s matches were their first home contests since January 30. South Carolina logged over 2,000 miles of travel over four weeks in February, playing an intense slate of road matches that included four teams who have been ranked in the Oracle/ITA Top 25 this spring. The Gamecocks will add to that mileage with their trip to Nashville, Tenn., as they look to improve their win total away from home, where they are 4-2.

Quotable

Head Coach Josh Goffi: “We’re looking to build on what we did last weekend. Wins and losses are secondary to building. We know that if we can put a complete match on the court, the wins are coming. We have the pieces; we just have to make sure the pieces are all coming to play on the same day. We had a great doubles point in our last match, and it has been getting better throughout the season. I think the guys firmly believe that they are a good doubles team right now. Gabriel Friedrich showed that he can play with anybody in the country. That guy that he beat last weekend is ranked No. 36 in the country this week. That’s a good win. He’s starting to gain confidence, and he’s looking in shape. Yancy Dennis is coming back to the lineup this week, and that’s something that the team likes. The guy is a mean competitor when he gets out on the court, and we need that. We’ve got a lot of points coming to the table right now. We’re starting to feel good about where we are, and we’re going to keep building. Those guys that have been bringing it, they can’t go away right now. We’re going to bring it and keep building.”

Scouting Murray State

  • The Racers (2-8) enter the match on Thursday having lost seven of their last eight matches.
  • Murray State split a doubleheader with Tennessee Wesleyan College Tuesday night, scoring a 4-3 win before taking a 4-2 loss.
  • The Racers are led by sophomore Marcel Ueltzhoeffer, who is 2-2 in dual matches this season at No. 2.

Scouting No. 56 Vanderbilt

  • The Commodores are kicking off their SEC slate after suffering a 7-0 defeat to No. 1 North Carolina last Friday.
  • Vanderbilt is 8-6 this season and 2-6 against ranked foes.
  • Ranked in singles: No. 54 Daniel Valent
  • Ranked in doubles: No. 76 Valent and Pen Binet

Up Next

Following Thursday’s action, Carolina returns home to host No. 7 Georgia on Sat., Mar. 19, at 5 p.m. The Bulldogs, who finished as the SEC Runner-Up last season, are currently 7-3 and 2-0 in the SEC after topping Mississippi State and Alabama in Athens, Ga., last weekend.

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