Gamecocks Fall 4-2 to Bulldogs in SEC Quarterfinals
Gainesville, Fla. – No. 28 South Carolina dropped a heartbreaking 4-2 decision to No. 14 Georgia in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and junior Ayana Akli won her match in straight sets in the loss.
“We did a good job to get the doubles point. We got off to a decent start and we fought hard the whole match,” said head coach Kevin Epley. “Georgia made some adjustments at critical times and we didn’t adjust back quick enough. Bravo to Georgia, I thought they played very well in singles.”
In doubles, Georgia grabbed the win quickly on Court 1. On Court 3, Megan Davies and Gracie Mulville played a close match against their Georgia opponents. After winning the first game, the Gamecock pair never gave up the lead to go ahead 6-5. With the match on the line at a deuce point, Georgia double faulted to award Davies and Mulville the 7-5 win.
In the No. 2 spot, No. 22 Sarah Hamner and Misa Malkin battled in a competitive match. The South Carolina pair fought back from an 0-2 deficit to take and keep the lead up to 6-5 in the set. The Bulldogs forced the tiebreak and went up 4-2, but Hamner and Malkin remained determined. The freshman pair pushed ahead to the 7-6 (5) win after Georgia sent a powerful Malkin forehand out of play to give the Gamecocks the doubles point.
Georgia took the first singles point with a win on Court 4, but South Carolina was quick to answer. No. 54 Akli played an efficient match against No. 84 Dasha Vidmanova. After winning the first game, Akli continued to stay ahead on her way to a 6-4 first set. The junior continued to dominate in the second set and did not give up a single game to claim the 6-0 victory, extending her winning streak to 10. She put South Carolina ahead 2-1 with four courts left to finish.
The Bulldogs came back to take the lead with a straight-sets win on Court 6 and a three-set win on Court 1. Malkin and Davies were the final Gamecocks in play in competitive matches. Malkin forced a third set against Ania Hertel after coming from behind to win the second set 7-5, and graduate student Davies went to a tiebreaker in the first set against Morgan Coppoc in the No. 4 spot.
The fate of the match would be decided on Court 3 with Davies battling. She closed in 2-3 in the second set, but Hertel remained solid. Georgia took the next three games to clinch the match and end South Carolina’s run in the tournament.
The Gamecocks will await their selection for the NCAA Tournament as they look to make their 27th consecutive appearance. The selection show will take place on May 2 at 6:30 p.m.
(14) Georgia def. (28) South Carolina 4-2
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2*)
1. No. 14 Morgan Coppoc/Ania Hertel (UGA) def. Ayana Akli/Ana Cruz (SC) 6-0
2. No. 22 Sarah Hamner/Misa Malkin (SC) def. Mell Reasco/Meg Kowalski 7-6 (5)
3. Megan Davies/Gracie Mulville (SC) def. Dasha Vidmanova/Mai Nirundorn (UGA) 7-5
Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 2, 6, 1, 3*)
1. No. 24 Mell Reasco (UGA) def. No. 5 Sarah Hamner (SC) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
2. No. 54 Ayana Akli (SC) def. No. 84 Dasha Vidmanova (UGA) 6-4, 6-0
3. Morgan Coppoc (UGA) def. Megan Davies (SC) 7-6 (4), 6-2
4. No. 120 Meg Kowalski (UGA) def. No. 119 Elise Mills (SC) 6-1, 6-2
5. Misa Malkin (SC) vs. Ania Hertel (UGA) 3-6, 7-5, 0-5 DNF
6. Mai Nirundorn (UGA) def. Gracie Mulville (SC) 7-5, 6-3