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Carolina Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak Against No. 19 Vanderbilt, No. 21 Kentucky
Women's Tennis  . 

Carolina Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak Against No. 19 Vanderbilt, No. 21 Kentucky

Gamecocks Face Commodores on Thursday, Wildcats on Saturday

Attention Fans

The Gamecocks will be following strict guidelines with adherence to the SEC Medical Guidance Task Force Requirements for COVID-19 Management. Attendance at South Carolina women’s tennis matches this spring is restricted to PASS LIST ONLY for home matches at Carolina Tennis Center. We encourage fans to follow the matches via our live scoring and live video links as well as our social media platforms.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 29 South Carolina women’s tennis team will finish the regular season with three straight home matches beginning with No. 19 Vanderbilt on Thursday at 3 p.m. followed by No. 21 Kentucky on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Carolina Tennis Center.

The Gamecocks bring an 8-9 overall record into the matches and are 5-5 in league play after winning four matches in a row. The Commodores stand 12-5 and 4-5 in the SEC, while the Wildcats are 13-4 and 5-4 in league matches.

Last Time Out

The Gamecocks won their fourth match in a row by defeating then-No. 21 Ole Miss on the road Saturday by a 4-1 final.

The Gamecocks fell behind on courts one and two in doubles, while the No. 3 duo of Ana Cruz and Allie Gretkowski continued their outstanding play this season. They quickly went ahead 3-0 on Kelsey Mize and Lillian Gabrielsen and cruised to a 6-1 victory to get off the courts first. Cruz and Gretkowski are now 8-0 on the season on court three and have compiled a 6-1 record in SEC play.

At the top position, Ole Miss’s No. 59-ranked duo of Alexa Bortles and Sabina Machalova held a 4-1 advantage over No. 15 Megan Davies and Mia Horvit. Despite the Rebels’ lead, Davies and Horvit regrouped and were relentless in their comeback bid, running off five straight games in their favor to take the match 6-4 and give the Gamecocks a 1-0 upper hand heading to singles play.

South Carolina continued the outstanding singles play it displayed at Mississippi State two days prior by claiming first sets on courts one through four. At the top three positions, the Gamecocks were the underdogs on paper with No. 85 Horvit facing off with No. 16 Machalova at one, Davies taking on No. 40 Tiphanie Fiquet on court two, and Emma Shelton playing No. 80 Tereza Janatova at three.

After winning 6-3 in the first set over Machalova, Horvit held on for a 6-4 victory in the second set to give Carolina a 2-0 lead. Horvit improved to 6-1 this season at No. 1 singles in SEC play and notched the Gamecocks’ top ranked victory of the season in the process. Machalova is the third highest ranked player Horvit has beaten in her career.

Davies added the next point for the Gamecocks with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Fiquet to mark her second win in a row over a top-40 player. Davies upended No. 19 Emma Antonaki from Mississippi State to clinch the win over the Bulldogs.

Reka Zadori got the Rebels on the board by taking down Gretkowski 7-5, 6-4 at the No. 5 slot, but Shelton answered back for the Gamecocks at three win another upset to close out the day. After taking the first set from Janatova 6-3, Shelton found herself up 6-5 in the second, but Janatova managed to put the set in a tiebreak. From there, Shelton snatched control and gutted out a 7-4 victory to mark her first victory this season over a ranked opponent.

Gamecock Notables

  • Megan Davies earned the first SEC Player of the Week honor of her career when she took home the award March 31. She helped the Gamecocks pull two road upsets over Mississippi State and Ole Miss with a pair of wins against top-40 players.
  • In defeating No. 19 Emma Antonaki of Mississippi State, Megan Davies registered the highest ranked win of her career.
  • The ITA’s latest set of rankings revealed a big push in singles with Mia Horvit jumping from 85th to 39th, Megan Davies checking in at No. 46 after being unranked the previous week, and Emma Shelton re-entering the rankings as well at No. 108. Horvit and Davies are ranked No. 16 as a doubles team as well.
  • South Carolina has shown strength in doubles play this season, winning the doubles point 11 times in 17 matches. Overall, the Gamecocks have a 26-15 record in doubles matches this spring, and they have won the doubles point eight times in their past 11 matches.
  • Emma Shelton posted her first win against a ranked opponent this spring by upending No. 80 Tereza Janatova of Ole Miss in straight sets.
  • Mia Horvit leads the team in both singles and doubles wins this season with 10 and 12. She and Megan Davies form the Gamecocks’ winningest duo in doubles with 10.
  • 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 11th all-time for combined victories with 155.
  • 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 8-0 at No. 3 doubles. As a team, the Gamecocks have lost just twice at No. 3 doubles with a 12-2 record.
  • When Megan Davies and Mia Horvit checked in at No. 15 nationally in doubles for the March 24 rankings it was the top mark of Davies’ 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 32-8 mark in regular-season matches.
  • Mia Horvit is closing in on history this spring, looking to join the 100-win club in singles. She currently owns a 96-43 record in singles that ranks tied for sixth in school history with Natasa Vuckovic (2005-09). Next on the list in fifth place is Carolina Culik with 98. 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 172 matches between singles and doubles ranks ninth in school history. Next on the list are Natasa Vuckovic (2005-09) and Brigit Folland (2013-17) who are tied for seventh with 173.
  • 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 295-134 mark in 17 seasons as a head coach at three schools. Epley has amassed a 144-75 record as South Carolina’s head coach and boasts an impressive 67-38 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.
  • 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 Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt kicked off the season with eight consecutive wins, and the No. 19 Commodores have been ranked as high as No. 9 in the country this season. Their first loss of the season came against LSU in their first SEC contest by a 4-2 margin. Vandy’s other losses in conference play include Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Georgia. The Commodores have currently dropped their last three contests. The Dores have wins in league play over Auburn, Alabama, Missouri and Kentucky. They also own an impressive road win against Georgia Tech in non-conference play, a team currently ranked No. 11. Vanderbilt has one ranked singles player with Christina Rosca at No. 49 and three different doubles combos ranked among the top 60 with Emma Kurtz/Holly Staff leading the way at No. 34. Vanderbilt is under the direction of first-year head coach Aleke Tsoubanos, who spent the previous 13 years as an assistant and associate head coach as well. Tsoubanos also played for the Dores from 2000 to 2004.

The Vanderbilt Series

  • Overall: Vanderbilt leads 23-18
  • Home: 9-8
  • Away: 4-13
  • Conference: 9-19
  • Last 10: 3-7
  • Current Win Streak: 2, South Carolina
  • Last Result: South Carolina 4-1 win in College Station, Texas, on April 20, 2019 (SEC Tournament Semifinals)
  • Longest Win Streak: 7, 1980-92
  • Longest Losing Streak: 6, 2000-04

>> Full Vanderbilt Series Results

About Kentucky

Like Vanderbilt, No. 21 Kentucky also won its first eight matches of the season before suffering its first loss to LSU. UK’s other losses have come at the hands of Auburn, Vanderbilt and Georgia. The Wildcats own five league victories thus far versus Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Tennessee. Kentucky will face No. 15 Florida on Thursday in Gainesville before taking on the Gamecocks. The Wildcats have two players ranked in singles play led by Akvile Parazinskaite at No. 47 and Lesedi Jacobs at No. 71. Parazinskaite and Fiona Arrese play doubles together with a national ranking of No. 8. Head coach Carlos Drada is in his 16th season at Kentucky after spending his first four years at UK as an assistant coach. Drada played for Kentucky as well and was runner-up at the 2000 NCAA Singles Championship.

The Kentucky Series

  • Overall: South Carolina leads 25-16
  • Home: 12-5
  • Away: 8-8
  • Conference: 19-9
  • Last 10: 9-1
  • Current Win Streak: 7, South Carolina
  • Last Result: South Carolina 4-3 win in Lexington, Ky., on March 24, 2019
  • Longest Win Streak: 7, 3x, most recent 2014-present
  • Longest Losing Streak: 5, 2002-06

>> Full Kentucky Series Results

In the Rankings

South Carolina (8-9, 5-5 SEC)

  • Team: 29th
  • Megan Davies: 46th (S), 16th (D)
  • Mia Horvit: 39th (S), 16th (D)
  • Emma Shelton: 108th (S)

Vanderbilt (12-5, 4-5 SEC)

  • Team: 19th
  • Marcella Cruz: 58th (D)
  • Emma Kurtz: 34th/58th (D)
  • Christina Rosca: 49th (S)
  • Anna Ross: 54th (D)
  • Holly Staff: 34th/54th (D)

Kentucky (13-4, 5-4 SEC)

  • Team: 21st
  • Fiona Arrese: 8th (D)
  • Lesedi Jacobs: 71st (S)
  • Akvile Parazinskaite: 47st (S), 8th (D)

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