Women's Tennis Hosts Texas A&M and LSU on Friday and Sunday
Gamecocks Look to Continue Positive Momentum of 2-0 SEC Start
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 22nd-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team (6-4, 2-0 SEC) is ready to host its first SEC matches of the spring at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks square off with No. 36 Texas A&M (12-3, 1-1 SEC) on Friday at 5 p.m. followed by an 11 a.m. matchup with No. 25 LSU (9-2, 2-0 SEC) on Sunday.
ATTENTION GARNET ACES!
It just so happens the Texas A&M match on Friday is National Oreo Day, and the first 50 Garnet Aces get FREE Oreos! If you’re not a member yet remember to sign up at the match.
Last Time Out
South Carolina snagged a pair of road wins to open SEC play a week ago, first at Auburn by a 4-2 margin and then a clean 4-0 sweep at Alabama two days later. Against Auburn, ranked No. 48 last week, the Gamecocks dropped the doubles point but managed to pick up singles victories from Mia Horvit, Emma Shelton, Silvia Chinellato and Elise Mills. Chinellato provided the clinching point at No. 4 singles with a 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Georgie Axon. It marked South Carolina’s third win in a row over the Tigers and improved the Gamecocks’ all-time record against Auburn to 30-9.
In Tuscaloosa, South Carolina saw little drama in recording its fifth consecutive victory over the then-No. 47 Crimson Tide. Carolina secured the top two doubles positions by scores of 6-2 and 6-3, and then used straight-set singles victories from the Nos. 2-4 positions courtesy of Megan Davies, Chinellato and Shelton. South Carolina improved to 19-12 in the all-time series versus Alabama with the win.
- Freshman Emma Shelton continued her tear through the spring campaign last weekend with two more victories to run her record to a perfect 10-0 this spring. Shelton is 18-3 overall in her first season and leads the team in doubles victories with an 18-7 mark. After earning her first career singles ranking on Feb. 18 at 125th, she is up to No. 92 in the latest poll. Shelton earned SEC Freshman of the Week on Feb. 26.
- Junior Megan Davies has been impressive this season in her rise to the No. 2 singles position after spending her first two years playing primarily the four and five spots. She checked in at No. 20 in the singles rankings on Feb. 18, a career best, and currently stands 25th in the latest poll. She leads the team in singles victories this year with a 22-12 record and has compiled seven victories against ranked opponents.
- Senior All-American Mia Horvit has followed up her stellar junior season with another impressive campaign in her final year as a Gamecock playing at the No. 1 singles position. She cracked the top-25 in the singles rankings earlier this spring and currently sits 39th. Horvit has more ranked singles wins than any other Gamecock with eight this season.
- South Carolina’s last match at Alabama marked head coach Kevin Epley’s 200th match at the helm of the Gamecocks. Epley has amassed a 134-66 (.670) record now coaching in his eighth season with Carolina. Overall, Epley holds a record of 285-125 (.695) in his 16th season and his teams have qualified for the NCAA Tournament every year and advanced to at least the second round 13 times in 15 tries.
- With a pair of wins at Alabama and Auburn last weekend, the Gamecocks are now 25-3 (.893) in SEC regular-season matches since the 2018 season. The Gamecocks went 11-2 (.846) in 2018 and 12-1 (.923) last season to finish second in the standings both seasons. South Carolina won the SEC Tournament a year ago, the first in school history.
- South Carolina has won 20 or more matches each of the past three seasons, a first in school history. In total, the Gamecocks won 64 matches from 2017 to 2019, the second best three-year stretch in school history behind the 69 wins compiled between 1981 and 1983.
- Consistency is the name of the game, and South Carolina has certainly been one of the most consistent programs in the country for decades. Currently, the Gamecocks have made the NCAA Tournament 25 seasons in a row. Overall, South Carolina has competed in 29 of the 38 all-time NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the quarterfinals three times (1982, 2009, 2019) and the round of 16 nine times (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009, 2017, 2018, 2019). Carolina has also finished the season ranked among the top-25 a total of 24 times since the NCAA Championships began in 1982.
Texas A&M This Season
Texas A&M has been busy this season with 15 matches under its belt already. The Aggies opened 2020 with four consecutive victories, including a 4-2 triumph over Miami (Fla.) in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend hosted by Florida State. The Hurricanes are currently ranked No. 20 in the nation. A&M suffered at 4-3 setback at Kentucky last weekend before rebounding with a 4-0 sweep of Arkansas in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M’s Dorthea Faa-Hviding and Tatiana Makarova are tied for the team lead in singles victories with 20 each and hold national singles rankings of Nos. 107 and 99, respectively.
The Texas A&M Series
South Carolina holds a 10-5 advantage in the all-time series with Texas A&M. Prior to the Aggies joining the SEC for the 2012-13 academic year, the Gamecocks tussled with A&M for eight seasons in a row from 1988 to 1995, going 7-1 in those contests. Texas A&M won the first four matches with South Carolina when it joined the SEC, but the Gamecocks currently own a three-match winning streak in the series. The Gamecocks earned a 4-0 win at A&M last season and won by the same score the last time the Aggies visited Columbia, S.C., in 2018.
LSU This Season
LSU brings a 9-2 record into the weekend and will face No. 38 Florida on Friday before taking on the Gamecocks on Sunday. Like South Carolina and Texas A&M, the Tigers won their first match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend back in January against Texas Tech in Austin, Texas, before losing to host Texas. LSU scored a 4-3 victory on the road at then-No. 20 Vanderbilt to open league play last week in Nashville, Tenn., and then defended its home courts two days later with a 4-0 triumph against Missouri. Taylor Bridges is the top-ranked Tiger at No. 36 followed by No. 71 Safiya Carrington. Both players have identical 15-5 records in singles this season. Eden Richardson and Nina Geissler are ranked No. 26 in doubles as well. Richardson won the 2018 NCAA Doubles Championship playing alongside Jessica Golovin.
The LSU Series
South Carolina holds a substantial 24-6 edge in the series with LSU that dates back to 1985. South Carolina won its first 14 matchups with LSU upon joining the SEC before surrendering a 4-3 match to the Tigers in Baton Rouge in 2005. Over the past five seasons, though, things have been fairly even between the two teams with South Carolina winning three and LSU taking two. Last season, South Carolina snatched a 4-0 win to mark its first win at LSU since 2013. The Gamecocks picked up a 4-1 victory the last time the Tigers came to Columbia, S.C., two years ago.
In the Rankings
- Team: 22nd
- Silvia Chinellato: 24th (D)
- Megan Davies: 25th (S), 77th (D)
- Mia Horvit: 39th (S), 77th (D)
- Emma Shelton: 92nd (S), 24th (D)
- Team: 36th
- Dorthea Faa-Hviding: 107th
- Jayci Goldsmith: 37th (D)
- Tatiana Makarova: 99th (S), 37th (D)
- Team: 25th
- Taylor Bridges: 36th (S)
- Safiya Carrington: 71st (S)
- Nina Geissler: 26th (D)
- Eden Richardson: 26th (D)