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Challenging Road Slate Awaits Gamecocks at No. 21 Tennessee, No. 3 Georgia
Women's Tennis  . 

Challenging Road Slate Awaits Gamecocks at No. 21 Tennessee, No. 3 Georgia

South Carolina Faces Vols on Friday at 2 p.m., Bulldogs on Sunday at 1 p.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A challenging SEC weekend awaits the South Carolina women’s tennis team when it travels to face No. 21 Tennessee on Friday at 2 p.m. and No. 3 Georgia on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Gamecocks bring a 4-7 overall record into the matches and are 1-3 in league play after two weeks of SEC competition. The Volunteers stand 7-4 and are 1-2 in the SEC, while the Bulldogs are 7-1 and 3-0 in the conference.

Last Time Out

South Carolina suffered a narrow 4-3 loss to No. 19 LSU in its last match at the Carolina Tennis Center on Sunday.

The Gamecocks started strong yet again in doubles, winning the point for the fifth match in a row and their eighth time in 11 matches this season. The No. 20-ranked duo of Silvia Chinellato and Emma Shelton got things started with an easy 6-1 victory on court two over Safiya Carrington and Maggie Cubitt. South Carolina got an early break on court one, and the 29th-rated tandem of Mia Horvit and Megan Davies continued to hold serve from there. With a 5-4 lead, Davies managed one last hold against No. 14 Nina Geissler and Eden Richardson to secure the 1-0 advantage for the Gamecocks.

It was evident early in the singles it would be a tight match, as LSU and South Carolina split the first sets between the six courts. The Gamecocks captured the first sets on courts one, two and six, while the Tigers came out on top for courts three, four and five.

Davies got the first victory in singles by defeating Richardson on court two in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to put the Gamecocks ahead 2-0. After LSU won courts one and three to tie the score, Chinellato came back to upend Cubitt in three sets 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 to give Carolina a 3-2 lead, but it was short-lived with LSU then taking court five soon afterward. The deciding point came down to No. 6 singles where Ana Cruz was unable to hang on against Samantha Buyckx, falling in three sets 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.

Gamecock Notables

  • South Carolina has shown great strength in doubles play this season, winning the doubles point eight times in 11 matches. Overall, the Gamecocks have a 19-8 record in doubles matches this spring, and they have won the doubles point in five straight matches.
  • Megan Davies hit the 75-win plateau in both singles and doubles with victories against LSU. She is the 25th player in school history to achieve 75 singles wins and just the 11th to hit 75 in doubles. Davies is also the 10th Gamecock to hit the mark for both singles and doubles, and she ranks 14th all-time for combined victories with 150.
  • Freshman Allie Gretkowski posted the first SEC singles win of her career by defeating Anne Marie Hiser from Alabama on Feb. 21. Earlier in the year, she earned her first career win against a ranked player versus Georgia Tech by downing No. 123 Gia Cohen in straight sets.
  • Allie Gretkowski and Ana Cruz have been a formidable duo for the Gamecocks this season, going 5-0 at No. 3 doubles. As a team, the Gamecocks have lost just once at No. 3 doubles with an 8-1 record.
  • Megan Davies’ current doubles ranking of No. 29 with Mia Horvit is the highest of her career.
  • The Gamecocks’ highest ranked doubles tandem is currently Silvia Chinellato and Emma Shelton at No. 20. They finished 2019-20 with the team’s top mark at 13-4 and were ranked as high as No. 12 nationally. Chinellato and Shelton went 3-3 in the fall together and are 3-1 together this spring.
  • Prior to South Carolina’s loss at Auburn this season, the Gamecocks had won 16 consecutive regular-season SEC road matches dating back to the 2017 campaign. Previously, the Gamecocks’ last loss on the road was against Vanderbilt on April 14, 2017.
  • South Carolina has an impressive SEC record since the 2018 season with a 28-6 record in regular-season matches.
  • South Carolina was scheduled to face Michigan in a consolation match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend on Jan. 24, but the Michigan athletics department announced late the night before it was putting a pause on competition for all of its athletics teams due to updated protocols needing to be in place for the new variant of COVID-19.
  • Mia Horvit is closing in on history this spring, looking to join the 100-win club in singles. She currently owns a 93-43 record in singles and is in a tie for seventh place with Tamara Sutton (1998-02). Natasha Vuckovic (2005-09) is next on the list with 96. Only three Gamecocks have reached 100 victories with Rita Winebarger (1984-88) leading the way at 127 followed by Ana Marija Zubori (2006-10) with 109 and Lynn-Yin Tan (1998-02) at 103.
  • Mia Horvit’s current career win total of 167 matches between singles and doubles ranks 10th in school history. In ninth place is Gira Schofield (2005-09) with 170.
  • Head coach Kevin Epley is in his ninth season with the Gamecocks and will look to record his 300th career win this season. Epley currently has a 291-132 mark in 17 seasons as a head coach at three schools. Epley has amassed a 140-73 record as South Carolina’s head coach and boasts an impressive 63-36 record in regular-season SEC play. He led the Gamecocks to their first SEC title in 2019 when South Carolina captured the SEC Tournament after finishing the regular season with a 12-1 record.
  • Mia Horvit has more wins in NCAA Tournament play than any Gamecock in school history. Between the team and individual tournaments, Horvit owns an impressive 17-3 record.
  • The Gamecocks ended the 2020 season riding a five-match winning streak that saw their overall record move to 8-4. They began SEC play with a 4-0 record after wins against Auburn, Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU. Georgia was the only other undefeated team in league play with a 3-0 record when the season was lost due to the pandemic.
  • Both Mia Horvit and Silvia Chinellato elected to use the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to play one more season after their senior years were cut short by COVID-19. Horvit is a two-time All-American and has been a member of the All-SEC Team three years in a row. She was named the UTR/ITA National Player of the Week just days before the 2020 season was postponed and later canceled. Chinellato was off to a hot start in SEC play last season with a 4-0 singles record and a 3-1 mark for doubles. She was ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation for doubles alongside Emma Shelton last spring.
  • Since the SEC began crowning a regular-season and tournament champion in 2000, only four teams have won the SEC Tournament. South Carolina became the fourth in 2019, joining Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt as the only teams to win the event.
  • South Carolina has won 20 or more matches each of the past three full seasons, a first in school history. In total, the Gamecocks won 64 matches from 2017 to 2019.
  • 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 25 times.

About Tennessee

The Volunteers are 7-4 and sport a 1-2 record in the SEC so far, earning their first victory in their last match at Ole Miss by a 4-3 margin. They lost by a point at Mississippi State last weekend and dropped a 4-0 match to Georgia to begin SEC competition the previous week. UT owns non-conference victories against UT Martin (2x), Furman, Syracuse, Wake Forest and ETSU. Daria Kuczer leads the team in singles victories this season with a 14-7 record, while she and Esther Adeshina have combined for a 9-5 doubles record that tops the squad. The Volunteers have three players among the singles rankings with Rebeka Mertena at No. 52, Johanna Silva at No. 85 and Carly Briggs at No. 118. Tennessee is led by former Vol standout Alison Ojeda who is now in her fifth season at the helm.

The Tennessee Series

Tennessee holds a 26-22 edge in the all-time series with the Gamecocks, however, South Carolina has won the last five meetings between the two schools. Prior to South Carolina’s current streak, the Volunteers won five in a row and nine out of 10 from 2007 to 2014. The series is notorious for one-point margins of victory, as 15 of the 48 matches have come by either a 5-4 or 4-3 final. During the past 11 meetings, six of those matches have ended in a 4-3 score as well. South Carolina is 8-13 in matches played in Knoxville and 3-3 in their last six visits there.

>> Full Tennessee Series Results

About Georgia

Georgia is the favorite to win the SEC according to this season’s preseason coaches’ poll. The Bulldogs are 7-1 and 3-0 to begin SEC play and will take on Florida on Friday before facing South Carolina. UGA opened SEC play with a win over Tennessee and followed with victories against Ole Miss and Mississippi State last weekend. The Bulldogs have yet to surrender a point in league play, winning every match by a 4-0 score. Georgia owns non-conference wins against Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Georgia State. Georgia’s only loss this season came at the hands of No. 1 and unbeaten North Carolina in Athens in January. Georgia has five of its six singles ranked in the top 75 and two doubles teams ranked in the top 40. The Bulldogs are led by head coach Jeff Wallace, who is now in his 36th season with UGA and is the winningest active coach in women’s tennis. He owns two national championships with Georgia coming in 1994 and 2000.

The Georgia Series

South Carolina has played Georgia more than any other team in its history. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series by a 47-17 margin, but the two teams have split the last four matches, and a pair of those contests were 4-3 decisions. The last meeting came in the championship match of the 2019 SEC Tournament that saw South Carolina capture its first SEC title by downing Georgia 4-3 in College Station, Texas, when the Bulldogs were undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation. South Carolina won the last meeting in Athens by a 4-1 score in 2018, its first win against the Bulldogs on their home courts since the quarterfinals of the 2010 SEC Tournament. Georgia owns an impressive regular-season record against South Carolina, beating the Gamecocks 25 times in 28 matches since Carolina joined the SEC for the 1992 season. The Gamecocks have an all-time record of 7-18 versus Georgia in Athens.

>> Full Georgia Series Results

In the Rankings

South Carolina (4-7, 1-3 SEC)

  • Team: 35th
  • Silvia Chinellato: 20th (D)
  • Megan Davies: 30th (S), 29th (D)
  • Mia Horvit: 34th (S), 29th (D)
  • Emma Shelton: 93rd (S), 20th (D)

Tennessee (7-4, 1-2 SEC)

  • Team: 21st
  • Carly Briggs: 118th (S)
  • Rebeka Mertena: 52nd (S)
  • Johanna Silva: 85th (S)

Georgia (7-1, 3-0 SEC)

  • Team: 3rd
  • Elena Christofi: 37th (D)
  • Morgan Coppoc: 73rd (S), 37th (D)
  • Marta Gonzalez: 50th (S)
  • Anna Hertel: 10th (D)
  • Katarina Jokic: 16th (S), 10th (D)
  • Meg Kowalski: 60th (S)
  • Lea Ma: 31st (S)

For more information on South Carolina women’s tennis, check out the team on GamecocksOnline and on social media: