Goffi, Samuel Pick Up Regional Honors
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina men’s tennis head coach Josh Goffi captured his second ITA Carolina Region Coach of the Year honor and Toby Samuel became the fifth Gamecock to pick up ITA Carolina Region Rookie of the Year recognition.
In his 11th season at South Carolina, Goffi led the Gamecocks to a 17-10 record that included a 7-5 mark in the SEC and a trip to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time since 2005. Coming in at No. 13 in the final ITA rankings, it was the program’s best final ranking since claiming the No. 5 spot at the end of the 1988-89 season. The Gamecocks have finished in the top 25 every season since 2017, the longest such stretch in program history. South Carolina’s fourth-place finish in the SEC was its best placing since the 2017 team took third. Of the team’s 27 matches, 17 were against ranked top-25 opponents. The Gamecocks played the No. 1 team in the country twice, taking the match to the third set of the final match on court in both narrow 4-3 losses.
Samuel burst onto the college tennis scene this season with a 27-7 record, including a 19-4 mark in dual matches, to finish with a final singles ranking of No. 71. After dropping his first two dual-match outings, the Bournemouth, England, native went on to win his next 14 matches. Playing fourth in the lineup for most of the season, he closed the year in the No. 3 spot with a 5-1 record in postseason play (SEC and NCAA Championships). In fact, he provided the match-clinching point in three of the Gamecocks’ four postseason victories. His dual-match winning percentage (.826) ranks 10th in program history (second among freshmen), and his SEC singles winning percentage of .900 (9-1) is the third best in program history (second among freshmen). In doubles, Samuel teamed with sophomore Jake Beasley for a 26-11 record that included an 18-7 mark in dual matches. The duo, which went 4-1 against ranked opponents, opened the season in the No. 3 spot in the lineup (6-4) before moving up to No. 2 to post a 12-3 mark in that position. With 26 doubles wins, Samuel ranks eighth in program single-season history, a position he also holds in single-season doubles dual-match wins (17) and SEC doubles wins (7).
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