March 30, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 8 South Carolina women’s tennis concludes its home slate this weekend with a pair of critical matchups that will help separate the pecking order in the SEC standings. The Gamecocks welcome No. 25 Texas A&M to town on Thurs., March 31, for a 5 p.m. meeting, before taking on No. 15 LSU on Sat., April 2, at noon.
The Gamecocks (14-3, 6-1) look to bounce back following their first SEC loss of the season last Saturday against then-No. 7 Florida. The Gamecocks have exceeded expectations this season and find themselves tied for second in the SEC standings with No. 4 Georgia after being picked to finish seventh in the SEC Coaches’ Preseason Poll. South Carolina is 5-1 against top-25 opponents with two wins against top-10 opponents and has its highest ranking since 1983.
Carolina looks to break a streak of three straight losses to the Aggies. Texas A&M (12-7, 4-4) split a pair of home contests last weekend, sweeping Missouri, 7-0, Thursday before dropping a tight 4-3 battle to Arkansas on Saturday. The Gamecocks, meanwhile, have won three of their last four against LSU, which topped Missouri and Arkansas last weekend.
Admission and parking at all home matches are free. Live scoring is available here. For updates, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram.
Head Coach Kevin Epley: “We have two tough teams coming into Columbia this week, and we are anxious to bounce back after a tough defeat against Florida last weekend. We are focusing on getting back to basics, being tough, gritty competitors and committing to our game plans. We lost to both of these teams last year, so we will have to be ready for a fight to get the victories.”
Senior Day Saturday
Saturday’s match against LSU marks senior day for the women’s tennis program, and the University of South Carolina will recognize the team’s lone senior, Ximena Siles Luna. A senior-day ceremony will take place prior to the match honoring the senior, who came to Columbia, S.C., from Lima, Peru.
In The Rankings
South Carolina is one of 11 teams nationally with four or more ranked singles players. Junior Caroline Dailey is the team’s highest-ranked player at No. 67, while freshman Ingrid Gamarra Martins is right behind her at No. 75. Sophomore Hadley Berg, the first Gamecock to start the spring 14-0 since 1995, made her rankings debut last week at No. 89, and freshman Paige Cline slid up to No. 102. The Gamecocks’ top doubles team of Cline and Berg, which defeated the nation’s No. 5 doubles tandem last Saturday, 6-1, is ranked No. 34.
Four Gamecocks have tallied a total of five weekly honors from the SEC office this spring. Sophomore Hadley Berg is the latest to be recognized as her tremendous start to the season earned her SEC Player of the Week honors on March 23. Junior Caroline Dailey was named SEC Player of the Week on Feb. 24, after her victory over the nation’s 11th-ranked player helped her squad rally to beat No. 21 Clemson. Freshman Ingrid Gamarra Martins has been tabbed the SEC Freshman of the Week twice, most recently on March 2nd after she helped clinch two points for South Carolina in its win over No. 27 Wake Forest. Freshman Paige Cline also earned a Freshman of the Week nod two weeks ago after helping her team jump out to a 2-0 start to SEC action.
- The Gamecocks remain in the Top 10 for the third-consecutive week.
- The Gamecocks put together their longest winning streak since 1999, winning nine in a row before last week’s loss to then-No. 7 Florida.
- South Carolina’s win over then-No. 5 Vanderbilt on March 10 marked its first win over a top-5 team since 2005.
- South Carolina has multiple wins over top-10 opponents in a season for the first time since 2004.
- All but two of the Gamecocks’ 17 opponents have been ranked in the Oracle/ITA Rankings at some point this season.
- The Gamecocks have won the doubles point in 13-of-17 matches this spring, posting a 3-1 record when dropping the point.
- Carolina is a combined 26-4 in the No. 4 and 5 spots of the singles lineup this spring.
- With sophomore Hadley Berg holding down the No. 4 position, junior Brigit Folland has been key from No. 5, amassing an impressive 12-2 record this spring.
- Freshman Ingrid Gamarra Martins, now at the No. 2 position in singles, leads the team with four three-set wins this spring.
Scouting No. 25 Texas A&M
- Texas A&M enters Thursday’s matchup eighth in the SEC standings a year after finishing tied for second in the conference and advancing to its second straight NCAA Round of 16.
- The Aggies are 1-4 against Top 25 opponents and 3-6 away from home this season.
- Ranked in singles: Saska Gavrilovska (32)
- Ranked in doubles: Eva Paalma and Rachel Pierson (42), Rutuja Bhosale and Anna Mamalat (44)
Scouting No. 15 LSU
- The Tigers, ranked as high as No. 9 this spring, enter the weekend two games behind the Gamecocks in the SEC standings having won three of their last four.
- LSU is 2-3 against Top-25 teams and 6-4 away from home this season.
- Ranked in singles: Joana Vale Costa (19), Jessica Golovin (48)
- Ranked in doubles: Vale Costa and Ryann Foster (70)
Carolina closes its regular season with four road matches. The Gamecocks are at No. 14 Auburn and No. 51 Alabama the weekend of April 8-10, before going to No. 63 Tennessee and No. 4 Georgia April 15-17.