Gamecocks Make History on Senior Night
Columbia, S.C. – No. 9 South Carolina defeated No. 21 Texas A&M at home for the first time in program history to cap off the regular season on senior night. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and won five of the six singles matches for the victory.
“Today was absolutely necessary for us going into SECs,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “Our guys want to go in there and go deep and see if we can win the thing. That’s what we’ve been talking about all year and this match gave up the rep that we needed. The last couple of matches have been won pretty handily and we needed to be tested. It looked like we were headed that direction today and Texas A&M stuck in and credit to those guys. That’s a good team. Those guys came at us hard and put us in a position where we had to come through and test out the deep parts of our engine and our guys were fortunate enough to come through. That was an important match for us today.”
The doubles point was all Gamecocks, with South Carolina holding leads on every court. The first win of the day went to junior Raphael Lambling and sophomore James Story on Court 2. The duo had a slow start, falling to 1-2 early before going on a five game run to take the match 6-2. The pair is now 16-4 in dual match action and 5-1 from the No. 2 position.
The doubles point was clinched with an upset win from the top spot in the lineup. No. 22 Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson took on No. 20 Kenner Taylor and Noah Schachter of Texas A&M. The Gamecock duo trailed 1-2 before winning their service point and a break to take the lead. The Aggies were never able to recover and and Gamecocks took the match 6-2 to clinch the doubles point.
Rodrigues earned the first singles win of the day in dominating fashion. The No. 2 player in the nation showed why he is deserving of his rank, taking down No. 41 Schachter of Texas A&M 6-0, 6-2. Rodrigues now has 12 consecutive ranked singles wins with eight of them coming over top-50 opponents. Of his 12 wins, nine have been straight-sets victories and he hasn’t dropped any of his last 12 sets.
The Aggies got a point on the board with a win on Court 6, but Story responded with a point of his own for the home team. The sophomore was unstoppable in the first set, taking it 6-1. He had a closer battle in the second, with his opponent Mathis Ross tying the set at two all then again at four all. After Ross evened the match late, Story put up two straight games to take the final set 6-4 for the win.
The remaining three matches appeared to favor the Gamecocks early with all three taking first sets, but the Aggies shifted the momentum to take all three second sets. South Carolina was in need of just one more point to clinch the match and Lambling was the guy to do it.
The junior had a dominant 6-1 win in the first set but dropped his second set 3-6. With the match evened, Lambling’s opponent Giulio Perego came out swinging, going up 2-0 early. Lambling responded, going on a three game run to take the lead. The two battled, with Perego tying the score at three all, four all, and again at five all. With the match decision on the line, Lambling rallied to take two game wins in a row for the 7-5 set victory to clinch the match.
Remaining matches played out where sophomore Toby Samuel had a close match, winning it in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5. The final match on was Thomson who won his match 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.
This match win is the Gamecock’s first ever win over Texas A&M at home. South Carolina completes the regular season with a 21-5 overall record and a 10-2 record in conference play – the best SEC record in program history. The Gamecock’s 15-0 perfect home record is the first since 2005.
Goffi’s squad will compete next in the SEC Tournament in Athens, Ga. Seeding for the tournament will be announced on Sun., April 17 and the tournament will run April 20-24. Tickets are available here.
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 6, (21) Texas A&M 1
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 1)
1. (22) Rodrigues/Thomson (SC) def. (20) Taylor/Schachter (TAMU) 6-4
2. Lambling/Story (SC) def. Rollins/Perego (TAMU) 6-2
3. Samuel/Hoole (SC) led Storch/Perot (TAMU) 5-3, uf
Singles (order of finish: 1, 6, 5, 4, 2, 3)
1. (2) Rodrigues (SC) def. (41) Schachter (TAMU) 6-0, 6-2
2. (73) Samuel (SC) def. Perot (TAMU) 6-3, 5-7, 7-5
3. Thomson (SC) def. Marson (TAMU) 7-5, 1-6, 6-4
4. Lambling (SC) def. Perego (TAMU) 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
5. Story (SC) def. Mathis (TAMU) 6-1, 6-4
6. Casper (TAMU) def. Hoole (SC) 6-5, 6-1