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May 11, 2017

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 20 South Carolina men’s tennis will face East Tennessee State Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., at 10 a.m. The winner advances to play the winner of host North Carolina, the national No. 9 seed, and Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday 1 p.m. The team that wins the Chapel Hill Regional heads to the Dan Magill Tennis Center in Athens, Ga., to begin play in the NCAA Championships starting May 18.

PROJECTED GAMECOCK LINEUP

Singles

  1. #49 Gabriel Friedrich
  2. #71 Harrison O’Keefe
  3. Andrew Schafer
  4. Yancy Dennis
  5. Alex Fennell
  6. Paul Jubb

Doubles

  1. #13 Harrison O’Keefe/Yancy Dennis
  2. Alex Fennell/Gabriel Friedrich
  3. Thomas Mayronne/Andrew Schafer

NCAA EXCELLENCE

South Carolina is 17-21 all-time in its 21 previous NCAA Tournament matches. The Gamecocks last made the field in 2014. South Carolina has played in the Round of 16 six times, most recently in 2005, and the program’s best showing was a spot in the semifinals of the 1989 tournament. The Gamecocks earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for 13 straight seasons from 1994 through 2006.

ABOUT THE GAMECOCKS

The Gamecocks finished the season 20-6, the most wins in a season since 2005, and 9-3 in the SEC, a program record for SEC wins. South Carolina also tied a program-best regular-season SEC finish at third. Individually, two Gamecocks are ranked with Gabriel Friedrich coming in a No. 49, while Harrison O’Keefe is No. 71. The duo of O’Keefe and Yancy Dennis is ranked No. 13. Andrew Schafer leads the team with 27 singles victories on the year, including a 19-6 record in dual matches and an 8-5 record in the SEC.

SCOUTING THE BUCCANEERS

East Tennessee State enters the postseason with a 16-7 record and a 7-0 record in the Southern Conference. The Buccaneers have won 14 of their last 15 matches and won their third straight SoCon Tournament title. ETSU has won the regular season or conference tournament 15 years in a row. Senior David Biosca was selected to compete in the NCAA singles competition and was named SoCon Most Outstanding Player.

SCOUTING THE TAR HEELS

No. 9 North Carolina serves as the host for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament and faces VCU at 1 p.m. in the first round. The Tar Heels are 24-4 this season and finished 9-3 in the ACC to take third place. UNC is making its 22nd tournament appearance in the past 24 seasons. Three players are ranked in singles play with William Blumberg (16), Ronnie Schneider (22) and Robert Kelly (116). In doubles, Blumberg and Kelly come in at No. 12, and Jack Murray and Simon Soendergaard make it in the rankings at No. 82.

SCOUTING THE RAMS

Virginia Commonwealth enters tournament play with a 14-11 record overall and is coming off an A-10 conference tournament title to receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The A-10 title is VCU’s first since 2010 and 18th in 27 seasons under coach Paul Kostin.

GAMECOCK TRIO RECEIVES NCAA BIDS

Redshirt junior Gabriel Friedrich (49) and the pairing of Harrison O’Keefe and Yancy Dennis (13) will begin play in the 2017 NCAA Individual Championships Wednesday, May 24, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Friedrich, ranked as high as No. 38 this spring and currently No. 49 in the nation, accumulated a 13-8 overall record and was 5-7 in the SEC. He ended the season strong with four straight wins in the No. 2 spot, including a straight-set victory over the nation’s No. 25 singles player en route to a spot on the All-SEC Second Team. The Gamecocks’ top doubles team of O’Keefe and Dennis have put together an impressive spring campaign. The tandem reached its highest ranking of No. 13 in the most recent Oracle/ITA Rankings. The pair has posted a 17-7 dual match record and an 8-5 slate in the SEC. This season, the duo claimed five victories over ranked opponents, including two over top-10 foes.

ACCEPTING ACCOLADES

Juniors Harrison O’Keefe and Gabriel Friedrich were named to the All-SEC First Team and All-SEC Second Team, respectively. It marked the first all-conference selection for O’Keefe and the second consecutive year Friedrich received all-conference honors. The awards marked the 10th and 11th all-conference accolades for an individual under head coach Josh Goffi. O’Keefe is currently ranked No. 71 in singles play and No. 13 in doubles with Yancy Dennis. Sharing time at the top of the lineup, the Salem, Va., native is 19-6 in the spring and 8-5 in the SEC. He boasts five wins over ranked opponents and two SEC Athlete of the Week honors. In doubles, he is 17-7 in duals, notching wins over two top-10 opponents with Dennis. Friedrich (49) collected eight wins in the No. 1 spot this season and posted six wins over ranked opponents.

FOR FANS

Tickets for each round of the tournament will be $5 general admission and $3 for students with a valid student ID. Children ages two and under will be admitted at no charge. For more information on South Carolina men’s tennis, follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or visit GamecocksOnline.com for updates.

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