March 24, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina men’s tennis gears up for a big SEC weekend as it travels to take on No. 18 Kentucky on Fri., March 25, before returning home to square off with Tennessee on Sun., March 27. First serve against the Wildcats is set for 3 p.m., at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky. Carolina then tackles Tennessee at 12 p.m., Sunday, at the Carolina Tennis Center. Parking and attendance at all home matches are free.
Coming off a doubleheader sweep at No. 56 Vanderbilt and against Murray State, the Gamecocks (9-9, 1-3) suffered a tough loss to No. 19 Georgia last Saturday where they fell short in tight battles across multiple singles courts.
The Wildcats dropped a 4-3 match to Vanderbilt last Friday before sweeping a doubleheader on Tuesday against No. 10 Illinois and Morehead State. Meanwhile, the Volunteers fell to Vanderbilt on Sunday and take on Georgia this Friday prior to Sunday’s matchup with the Garnet and Black.
Getting a Boost
Freshman Yancy Dennis has made his way into the lineup after a few weeks on the sidelines with an arm injury. The Reisterstown, Md., product brings a level of energy and vigor that could provide a spark for the team as they make their way through the remainder of their SEC slate. Dennis has been competitive in his first two SEC singles matches, and he was in prime position for a doubles victory against Georgia with teammate Thomas Mayronne before play concluded.
Coming Into Form
Redshirt sophomore Gabriel Friedrich put together an impressive performance at No. 1 singles against Vanderbilt, defeating No. 54 Daniel Valent, 6-4, 6-3, after topping his opponent from Murray State in straight sets. The Brazilian, who had surgery in November, looks to have found his form as he has won five of his last seven matches, including two straight-set victories against ranked opponents.
O’Keefe Earns Honor
Sophomore Harrison O’Keefe was named SEC Player of the Week on Feb. 3 after a 2-0 showing in a doubleheader sweep of No. 39 Georgia Tech and The Citadel on Jan. 30. The Salem, Va., native helped South Carolina erase a 2-0 deficit against Georgia Tech with his 7-5, 6-3 victory at No. 3, before posting a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 2 against The Citadel. O’Keefe is currently tied for the team lead in wins this spring with 13 and possesses a 2-1 mark in the SEC.
Scouting No. 18 Kentucky
- The Wildcats are 13-4 on the season with a 3-2 mark in SEC play.
- Sophomores William Bushamuka (No. 1 singles) and Trey Yates (No. 5 singles) are a combined 7-2 in SEC play.
- Ranked singles players: Bushamuka (27)
- Ranked doubles tandems: Bushamuka and Beck Pennington (49)
- The Volunteers have dropped five matches in a row and enter the weekend at 6-9, 0-2 in the SEC.
- Srdjan Jakovljevic leads the way at 3-1 in conference from the No. 4 position in the singles lineup.
- Ranked doubles tandems: Luis Valero and Jack Schipanski (26)
The Gamecocks make the trek to Baton Rouge, La., to take on LSU on Fri., April 1, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Carolina will then head over to College Station, Texas, on Sunday for a matchup with No. 7 Texas A&M at 1 p.m. ET.