South Carolina Sweeps Alabama on the Road
Tuscaloosa, Ala. – No. 9 South Carolina men’s tennis swept Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks won the doubles point and all six singles matches in their victory, with five of the six singles wins coming in straight-sets. With their two wins this weekend, South Carolina is now 20-5 on the season and 9-2 in conference play.
“It was a really impressive weekend on the road from the guys,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “They are starting to show some maturity and consistency down the stretch. I know we are all looking forward to finishing the regular season at home in front of our Garnet Aces this Friday.”
The Gamecocks picked up the first win of the day with a doubles win on Court 3. Sophomore Toby Samuel and freshman Casey Hoole teamed up to take down German Samofalov and Joao Ferreira of Alabama in a convincing 6-1 decision. The Crimson Tide evened doubles with a 6-3 win from the second spot in the lineup.
The final doubles decision came down to Court 1 where No. 28 Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson took on Alabama’s Filip Planinsek and Patrick Kaukovalta. The Gamecock pair earned an early break to go up 3-1 but the Tide duo fought back to bring the match within a one game difference. With the Tide trailing 5-4 and the score at deuce, Thomson sent a huge serve straight up the middle for and ace to win the match 6-4, securing the doubles point for the Gamecocks.
Play transitioned to singles where Thomson was the first to clear his court. The sophomore was relentless, taking his match 6-3, 6-3 for the quick win.
Hoole earned the next win for the Gamecocks. The freshman started hot, going up 5-0 in the first set. His opponent Zach Foster wasn’t going down without a fight though, coming back to win three games before Hoole closed the first set out 6-3. The second set was a closer competition with Foster taking the early lead. Hoole closed the match in a two all, three all, and again at four all before finally pulling away to take the second set 6-4.
Samuel once again clinched the match for the Gamecocks. The Bournemouth, England, native earned an early break to go up 2-0 in the first set, but his opponent Enzo Aguiard fought back to tie the set at three all. Samuel responded with three straight game wins to close out the first set 6-3. The second set started in a similar fashion with Aguiard tying at three all. The Gamecock then took his service game and a break, only allowing his opponent one more game win before earning the 6-4 second set victory. This win marks Samuels seventh match clinch of the season.
Sophomore James Story earned the Gamecock’s next win. He took down his opponent in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 from Court 5. Rodrigues followed that win with one of his own from the top spot in the lineup. The junior extended his consecutive ranked win streak to 11 matches with a 6-1, 7-6(5) win over No. 60 Planinsek.
The final singles win of the day came from junior Raphael Lambling on Court 4. The first set was even between Lambling and his opponent German Samofalov of Alabama. The narrow lead exchanged between players but the Gamecock earned a timely break late in the set to win 7-5. The second set was all Samofalov with the Alabama freshman winning 6-1 to even the match. With the overall match already clinched, the final set was played as a 10-point tiebreak. Lambling took an early lead and never looked back, winning the final set 1-0(7) to complete the South Carolina sweep.
Goffi’s team will play their final regularly scheduled match of the season on Friday, April 15, at the Carolina Tennis Center. First serve will be at 5 p.m. The program will honor their four fourth-year members with a ceremony prior to the start of the match. Admission is free and open to the public.
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).
(9) South Carolina 7, Alabama 0
Doubles (order of finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. (28) Rodrigues/Thomson (SC) def. Planinsek/Kaukovalta (UA) 6-4
2. Aguiard/Martin (UA) def. Lambling/Story (SC) 6-3
3. Samuel/Hoole (SC) def. Samofalov/Ferreira (UA) 6-1
Singles (order of finish: 3, 6, 2, 5, 1, 4)
1. (3) Rodrigues (SC) def. (60) Planinsek (UA) 6-1, 7-6(5)
2. (66) Samuel (SC) def. Aguiard (UA) 6-3, 6-4
3. Thomson (SC) Kaukovalta (UA) 6-3, 6-3
4. Lambling (SC) def. Samofalov (UA) 7-6, 1-6, 1-0(7)
5. Story (SC) def. Ferreira (UA) 6-4, 6-4
6. Hoole (SC) def. Foster (UA) 6-3, 6-4