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Gamecocks Resume SEC Play at Mississippi State, Ole Miss
Women's Tennis  . 

Gamecocks Resume SEC Play at Mississippi State, Ole Miss

South Carolina Looks to Continue Two-Match Winning Streak

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 39 South Carolina women’s tennis team resumes SEC competition this week at No. 36 Mississippi State on Thursday at noon and at No. 21 Ole Miss on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Gamecocks bring a 6-9 overall record into the matches and are 3-5 in league play after taking a break from contests last week. The Bulldogs are 10-6 and 2-6 in the SEC, while the Rebels sport an 8-5 overall mark and have gone 4-3 against league teams.

Last Time Out

The Gamecocks won their second match in a row by defeating Missouri 4-1 on March 14 at the Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia.

The Tigers gave the Gamecocks fits in doubles, especially on courts one and two to begin play. At one, Bronte Murgett and Marta Oliveira had a 2-1 lead over Mia Horvit and Megan Davies, while Gabrielle Goldin and Valentina Pongruber jumped on top of Silvia Chinellato and Emma Shelton by a 2-0 score. Ana Cruz and Allie Gretkowski began to pull away at three over the Tigers’ duo of Serena Nash and Ellie Wright with a 4-1 advantage.

Still down 3-2 at one, Davies and Horvit won a critical deuce point to even the match back up at 3-all and then surged ahead 4-3 at the changeover. After the Tigers got it back to 4-all with a break of Horvit’s serve, South Carolina answered back with a break of its own to give Davies an opportunity to serve out the match, which she did for a 6-4 victory.

Missouri had no trouble answering back on court two. After Chinellato and Shelton had tied the match back up at 2-all, Goldin and Pongruber ran off four games in a row in their favor for a 6-2 triumph.

The deciding contest at three saw the Tigers fighting back from a 4-1 deficit to close the margin to 4-3. Cruz and Gretkowski regrouped at the changeover and then quickly broke Missouri’s serve in the next game. Gretkowski had the serve in the ninth game and she and Cruz locked in and surrendered no points in grabbing the 6-3 lead to give Carolina the advantage heading to singles play. The win moved Cruz and Gretkowski to a perfect 7-0 this season at No. 3 doubles.

Singles play began favorably for the Gamecocks, as they took 4-1 leads on courts two, four and six, while also leading 4-2 at one and 3-2 at five. The Tigers’ only lead was on court three by a 4-1 margin. South Carolina went on to earn impressive first-set victories by scores of 6-2 at one, 6-0 at two, 6-1 at four and 6-2 at six, while Missouri claimed a 6-1 win at four and a 6-4 triumph on court five.

Davies was on a mission from the beginning of her match and registered the first point for South Carolina in singles. After winning the first set 6-0 on court two, she pushed forward 4-0 in the second before giving Pongruber one game, but Davies came right back and finished it off 6-1.

Horvit was right on Davies’ heels to finish her contest at No. 1 singles, which she did less than three minutes later. Horvit took down Murgett 6-2, 6-3 to put Carolina within a point of securing the victory.

Shelton emerged as the most likely candidate to wrap up the win, but before she could the Tigers got on the board with Wright’s 6-2, 6-1 win on court three over Chinellato. Minutes later, Shelton put the finishing touches on her 6-1, 6-3 victory against Oliveira at the fourth position to put the Gamecocks in the win column.

Gamecock Notables

  • The ITA released its first set of individual rankings March 24 since the preseason rankings came out Jan. 13. Mia Horvit checked in at No. 85 in singles, while Horvit and Megan Davies jumped up to No. 15 in doubles. Previously, South Carolina’s top duo was ranked No. 29.
  • South Carolina has shown strength in doubles play this season, winning the doubles point 10 times in 15 matches. Overall, the Gamecocks have a 24-13 record in doubles matches this spring, and they have won the doubles point seven times in their past nine matches.
  • Mia Horvit, Silvia Chinellato and Emma Shelton all lead the team in singles victories for 2020-21 with eight, while Horvit has the most wins in doubles as an individual with 11. The combo of Horvit and Megan Davies is the Gamecocks’ winningest pair with nine.
  • Freshman Lindsay Tulenko made her collegiate debut in a dual match at Georgia on March 7 playing the No. 6 singles position. It was special for Tulenko not only because it was her first career start but also because her hometown of Bogart, Ga., is just outside of Athens.
  • 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 152.
  • 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 7-0 at No. 3 doubles. As a team, the Gamecocks have lost just twice at No. 3 doubles with an 11-2 record.
  • Megan Davies’ current doubles ranking of No. 15 with Mia Horvit is the highest of her career.
  • 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 30-8 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 94-43 record in singles that ranks seventh in school history. Natasa 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 169 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 is closing in on his 300th career win. Epley currently has a 293-134 mark in 17 seasons as a head coach at three schools. Epley has amassed a 142-75 record as South Carolina’s head coach and boasts an impressive 65-38 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 Mississippi State

The Bulldogs snapped a four-match losing streak in their last outing by slipping past Alabama 4-3 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 13. Mississippi State had lost four in a row by 4-0 scores to LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M and Georgia prior to its matchup with the Tide. MSU’s other win in conference play came against Tennessee in February by a 4-3 margin in Starkville, Miss. The Bulldogs dropped their matches to Arkansas and Missouri to open SEC play. Mississippi State has a pair of ranked players in singles led by Emma Antonaki at 18th and then Magda Adaloglou at 61st. Adaloglou and Tamara Racine form the nation’s No. 19 doubles team as well. The Bulldogs are under the direction of Daryl Greenan, who is now in his 12th season with MSU. He led Mississippi State to a program record four consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2015 to 2018.

The Mississippi State Series

South Carolina has dominated the all-time series with the Bulldogs, leading by a 30-2 margin. The Gamecocks have lost just once to MSU as members of the Southeastern Conference, which happened in 2015 in the second round of the SEC Tournament in Columbia, S.C. Prior to that loss, South Carolina recorded 26 consecutive wins over Mississippi State. The Gamecocks own a perfect 13-0 record against the Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss. Their last meeting versus MSU on the Bulldogs’ home courts ended in a 4-2 final that saw the Bulldogs prevail on courts four and five in singles, while South Carolina took the doubles point and courts one, two and six in singles. The 2016 matchup in Starkville was even closer, as Carolina escaped with a 4-3 victory. The Gamecocks currently have four straight wins over the Bulldogs.

>> Full Mississippi State Series Results

About Ole Miss

The Rebels are riding a three-match unbeaten streak that helped elevate them to No. 21 in this week’s ITA rankings, their highest of the season. Ole Miss posted a pair of road SEC victories its last time taking to the courts, including a 4-0 win at Auburn and a 4-3 triumph over Alabama. The Rebels also have a win at LSU this season and they beat Missouri. Ole Miss’s three conference losses have come at the hands of Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas. Three Rebels are currently ranked in the newest edition of the ITA rankings with Sabina Machalova topping the list in singles at No. 16 followed by Tiphanie Fiquet at No. 40 and Tereza Janatova at No. 80. Machalova and Alexa Bortles are ranked No. 59 in doubles. Ole Miss is led by veteran head coach Mark Beyers who is now in his 18th season with the Rebels and is the all-time wins leader in program history with over 250.

The Ole Miss Series

South Carolina leads the all-time series with Ole Miss 23-17 and its current streak of seven victories in a row is the longest by either team. Carolina also won seven in a row over the Rebels from 2005 to 2010. The Gamecocks have not lost to Ole Miss since suffering a 4-2 setback in Oxford, Miss., in April 2014. The Gamecocks have won the last two meetings by 4-0 scores. Ole Miss dominated the series when the Gamecocks first entered the SEC and in their meetings prior to the 1992 season with a 12-3 record from 1982 to 2000. Since 2001, however, South Carolina has gone 20-5 against the Rebels. The Gamecocks own an 8-8 all-time record versus Ole Miss in Oxford. 

>> Full Ole Miss Series Results

In the Rankings

South Carolina (6-9, 3-5 SEC)

  • Team: 39th
  • Megan Davies: 15th (D)
  • Mia Horvit: 85th (S), 15th (D)

Mississippi State (10-6, 2-6 SEC)

  • Team: 36th
  • Magda Adaloglou: 61st (S), 18th (D)
  • Emma Antonaki: 19th (S)
  • Tamara Racine: 18th (D)

Ole Miss (8-5, 4-3 SEC)

  • Team: 21st
  • Alexa Bortles: 59th (D)
  • Tiphanie Fiquet: 40th (S)
  • Tereza Janatova: 80th (S)
  • Sabina Machalova: 16th (S), 59th (D)

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