Gamecocks Set for NCAA Championships Opener
COLUMBIA, S.C.— No. 17 South Carolina (17-9) opens its 25th NCAA Championships with a 10 a.m. match against ETSU on Fri., May 3, at Sheridan Snyder Tennis Center in Charlottesville, Va.
The Gamecocks are riding the wave of a run to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, their deepest finish in that event since 1999. A win on Friday would pit South Carolina against either host and fifth-ranked Virginia or St. John’s in a 1 p.m. match on Saturday.
The Gamecocks and Buccaneers have faced each other 10 times on the tennis courts with South Carolina winning all 10 meetings. The most recent matchup was in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, at which the Gamecocks turned in a 5-0 win in first-round action in Chapel Hill, N.C. ETSU participated in the Gamecock Fall Invitational in September with South Carolina student-athletes winning two of the three individual matches against the Buccaneers at that event.
NCAA Championships History
South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi has led the Gamecocks to six NCAA Championships appearances, including this season. In their last two seasons in the event, South Carolina advanced to the second round, and Goffi is 3-5 all-time in the NCAA Championships. The Gamecocks have reached the Round of 16 11 times in program history with the most recent coming in 2004-05. South Carolina’s best NCAA Championship finish came with a spot in the semifinals in 1989.
Gamecock Singles Notes
- Paul Jubb will play at the top of the Gamecocks’ lineup, where he has been all season. His 11-1 record in SEC action is the best winning percentage in program history and put him on the All-SEC First Team. Ranked No. 5 in the nation, he is 19-2 in dual-match play and 13-4 on the season. A school-record 17 of his wins have come against nationally ranked foes, and two of his four losses have been to a top-three foe.
- All-SEC First Team and All-Freshman Team selection Daniel Rodrigues is No. 2 in the lineup. He is ranked 83rd in the nation behind a 31-10 overall record and a 17-7 mark in dual matches. He has five wins over nationally ranked opponents, including two in the SEC Tournament against foes ranked higher than him.
- The No. 3 spot in the lineup belongs to freshman Raphael Lambling, who is 9-7 in the spot so far this season. Overall, he is 27-12 with a 15-9 dual-match record. He has won four of his last six matches and has three wins over ranked opponents this season.
- Freshman Beau Pelletier has played the last six matches in the No. 4 spot, where he is slotted for the NCAA Championships. His 21-15 overall record includes a 10-9 mark in dual matches, during which he has played in all three spots in the back half of the lineup.
- Senior Yancy Dennis is set to play No. 5 for the Gamecocks in his third NCAA Championships appearance, during which he has gone 2-2. This season, he is 12-15 on the season with a win in the SEC Tournament.
- Sophomore Thomas Brown brings a 15-13 overall record to the No. 6 spot in the order, including an 8-6 mark in dual matches. He is 6-3 when playing at No. 6 with wins in four of his last six matches at that spot.
Gamecock Doubles Notes
- South Carolina is 14-1 when winning the doubles point this season.
- The Gamecocks’ top duo of Lambling/Rodrigues is ranked No. 52 in the nation this week with a 12-6 overall record and a 5-4 dual-match mark.
- Gamecock veterans Jubb and Dennis are holding down the No. 2 spot in the doubles lineup with a 5-6 overall record. They went 2-1 at the spot in the SEC Tournament.
- Another freshman pair are the No. 3 doubles team at South Carolina with Pelletier and Jake Beasley teaming up again. The duo is 5-2 on the season with a 2-2 record in dual matches.
- ETSU (20-4, 7-0 SoCon) won its second-consecutive Southern Conference Tournament title on April 20 after winning its fifth-straight regular-season crown.
- The Buccaneers’ have won 11 straight matches and lost just once in their last 18 outings.
- Sergi Fontcuberta and Frazier Rengifo earned First-Team All-SoCon singles honors. Yusuf Khamis and Juan Lugo were on the singles second team, while Fontcuberta and David Gonazalez were on the doubles second team.
- Rengifo plays at the top of the ETSU lineup with an 13-2 mark at that spot and an 18-2 dual-match record overall. In the fall, South Carolina freshman Daniel Rodrigues won a third-set super-tiebreak over him at the Gamecock Invitational.
- Fontcuberta is the No. 2 entry for the Buccaneers with a 16-6 dual-match record and a fall win over Gamecock freshman Raphael Lambling.
Scouting the Cavaliers
- Ranked fifth in the nation, Virginia is 21-4 overall after going 10-2 in ACC action.
- The Cavaliers fell to third-ranked Wake Forest in the ACC Championship final.
- Three of Virginia’s six singles entries are nationally ranked, led by Carl Söderlund at No. 3.
- The Cavaliers dominated the ACC postseason awards with Söderlund claiming Player of the Year honors. ACC Freshman of the Year Brandon Nakashima joined him on the All-ACC First Team, while Henrik Wiersholm picked up second-team recognition. ACC Coach of the Year honors went to Andres Pedroso as well.
Scouting the Red Storm
- St. John’s is 19-5 overall and won the BIG EAST Championships title for the second time in four seasons.
- Andrei Crapcenco was named BIG EAST Player of the Year with Alan Nunez Aguilera joining him on the All-BIG EAST First Team. Aditya Vashistha and Dusan Vukicevic picked up second-team honors.
- Crapcenco is 10-3 at the No. 1 spot in the Red Storm’s lineup and 11-6 overall in dual-match play.
No. 17 South Carolina
No. 5 Paul Jubb
No. 83 Daniel Rodrigues
No. 52 Raphael Lambling/Daniel Rodrigues
No. 5 Virginia
No. 3 Carl Söderlund
No. 82 Brandon Nakashima
No. 114 Henrik Wiersholm
No. 33 Brandon Nakashim/Henrik Wiersholm *
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