No. 14 Gamecocks Host ITA Kick-Off Weekend
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina women’s tennis team hosts Wake Forest, Arizona State and California for ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Saturday and Sunday at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks and Bears play the first match of the weekend at 11 a.m., on Saturday.
This is the second-consecutive year the Gamecocks have hosted the weekend. Last year, Carolina won both of its matches against Oklahoma and then Clemson, advancing to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
The No. 1-seeded Gamecocks (0-1, 0-0) look to attend the tournament again this year, but first have to go through No. 4 California (1-0, 0-0) and then either No. 2 Wake Forest (2-0, 0-0) or No. 3 Arizona State (3-0, 0-0) if they win their first match.
“We are back to town and ready to compete again on Saturday against another tough Pac-12 team,” head coach Kevin Epley said. “We aren’t thrilled with the match out in Australia and we are confident we are going to put up a better performance this weekend.”
South Carolina is coming off a, 4-1, loss to Southern Cal in a neutral-site match at the 2019 Australian Open. Although the Gamecocks dropped their match, they grinded in the doubles portion. Mia Horvit and Kennedy Wicker took the first win for Carolina, 6-4, at the No. 3 spot. After fighting on court two, Paige Cline and Rachel Rohrabacher came out on top, 7-6 (5).
Moving on from the loss, the Gamecocks’ three ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams hope to bring momentum this weekend. Leading the squad is No. 12-ranked senior Ingrid Gamarra Martins, followed by senior and No. 25 Cline and No. 69-ranked junior Horvit. Together, Horvit and Gamarra Martins are ranked No. 11 in the doubles poll. Sophomore Megan Davies and senior Rohrabacher are also ranked for Carolina at No. 23.
First up, South Carolina takes on Cal in the 1 vs. 4 matchup. The Bears lead the overall series, 2-0. California comes to Columbia off of a, 4-3, victory over Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 23. The Cal roster boasts three ranked singles players in No. 35 Olivia Hauger, No. 47 Julia Rosenqvist and No. 57 Anna Bright. The Bears’ doubles tandem of Bright and Jasie Dunk is ranked at No. 17.
Competing in the 2 vs. 3 matchup on Saturday is Wake Forest and Arizona State. So far this season, Wake has two, 7-0, wins over College of Charleston and Liberty. The Demon Deacons have three ranked singles players, including No. 44 Emma Davis, No. 98 Peyton Pesavento and No. 105 Anna Ulyashchenko. Wake Forest has one ranked doubles team competing in No. 46 Anna Brylin and Ulyashchenko.
Arizona State sits at 3-0 this season, with wins coming over UC Davis (4-0), Drake (4-0) and Northern Arizona (5-0). The Sun Devils have the No. 8-ranked doubles team in the nation, comprised of Ilze Hattingh and Lauryn John-Baptiste. Cali Jankowski is ASU’s only ranked singles player at No. 98.
The winners of Saturday’s 1 vs. 4 seed and 2 vs. 3 seed matches will play Sunday at 2 p.m., for the championship and to qualify for ITA National Indoors. The consolation match will be played beforehand at 11 a.m.
Continue to check back with gamecocksonline.com for more updates or follow the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).