Women’s Tennis Opens SEC Season Against No. 34 LSU, No. 2 Texas A&M
Columbia, S.C. – No. 38 South Carolina women’s tennis will begin SEC play this weekend, hosting No. 34 LSU on Friday and No. 2 Texas A&M on Sunday. The Gamecocks are coming off a weekend of split results where they defeated Wichita State but fell to No. 49 Oklahoma State.
The SEC women’s tennis season will begin on Fri., March 3, with the Gamecocks hosting the Tigers at the Carolina Tennis Center. The match will begin at 5 p.m. with gates opening one hour prior to first serve. Those not in attendance can view live streaming here and live stats here.
- The team is 5-4 on the season and have a 3-1 mark when playing at home.
- South Carolina is one of only two schools to have more than one player ranked in the ITA singles top-12. Senior Ayana Akli is ranked No. 10 while sophomore Sarah Hamner is ranked No. 12.
- Akli is a perfect 6-0 from the No. 1 singles position this season and is on a nine-match singles win streak. She has twice been named SEC Player of the Week this season.
- Hamner has recently made a return to the lineup after suffering an injury prior to the start of the dual season. She has an overall singles record of 13-6 this season and clinched the match over Wichita State with a win at the top spot in the lineup.
- Freshman McKenna Schaefbauer has been strong for the team this season. She has played from the 5 and 6 positions and has a 3-1 record in dual singles play.
- Akli and Hamner have recently reunited in doubles and have won two matches from the No. 1 position. They have an overall record of 9-5 this season. Hamner is a perfect 4-0 in dual doubles play this season – two wins with Akli and two with Schaefbauer.
- Senior Ana Cruz and junior Allie Gretkowski have been a solid No. 2 doubles pair for the team. They are 4-3 and have an overall record of 7-5.
Scouting the Tigers
- LSU is 6-1 on the season with their only loss coming at the hands of then-No. 21 UCF at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. The Tigers are 2-1 when playing on the road.
- The Tigers have two players in the ITA singles rankings – No. 11 Kylie Collins and No. 44 Anastasiya Komar.
- Collins leads the team from the No. 1 singles position where she has a 4-1 record and a four-match winning streak. She is 4-2 this season over ranked opponents.
- Komar primarily plays at the No. 2 position for LSU. She is a perfect 6-0 in dual play and has been ranked as high as No. 30 this season.
- The Tigers have three doubles pairs ranked by the ITA – No. 17 Komar and Nikita Vishwase, No. 48 Collins and Komar, and No. 56 Komar and Safiya Carrington.
- Komar and Vishwase lead the team in doubles with a perfect 6-0 record from the top spot in the lineup. They are 18-3 overall this season.
- LSU has been a force in doubles this season with a team-wide dual record of 16-2. They are 6-0 from No. 1, 4-1 from No. 2, and 6-1 from No. 3.
Scouting the Aggies
- Texas A&M is ranked No. 2 in the nation in the latest ITA team rankings with an 11-1 overall record. The Aggies defeated No. 20 Florida during the ITA Kickoff Weekend to advance to the Indoor National Championships where they defeated No. 17 San Diego and No. 11 Ohio State to advance to the semifinals. Their only loss of the season came to then-No. 2 North Carolina.
- The Aggies have six players in the ITA singles rankings – No. 9 Mary Stoiana, No. 37 Carson Branstine, No. 68 Daria Smetannikov, No. 77 Jayci Goldsmith, No. 95 Gianna Pielet, and No. 121 Mia Kupres.
- Branstine and Stoiana have played the most time for the Aggies at the No. 1 position. Branstine is 3-2 while Stoiana is 4-0.
- Kupres has a perfect 9-0 record in dual play, mostly from the No. 4 position where she is 6-0.
- Texas A&M also has three doubles pairs in the ITA rankings – No. 10 Branstine and Stoiana, No. 33 Goldsmith and Stoiana, and No. 43 Salma Ewing and Goldsmith.
- Branstine and Stoiana have held down the top spot in the doubles lineup where they are a perfect 6-0 with an overall record of 7-0.
- Across all 12 of their dual matches, the Aggies have only dropped four doubles matches with a team-wide dual doubles record of 22-4.
For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).