Gamecocks Begin SEC Tournament on Thursday
Fayetteville, Ark. – No. 30 South Carolina women’s tennis will begin competition at the SEC Tournament on Thursday, entering with a first round bye as the No. 6 seed. The Gamecocks will take on either 11-seed Kentucky or 14-seed Mississippi State in the second round on April 20 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
This year’s SEC Tournament will take place at the Billingsley Tennis Center at the University of Arkansas. All matches at the tournament are free and open to the public. A clear bag policy will be in effect. More information including the full bracket, schedule, and additional spectator information can be found on the Tournament Central webpage.
Live stats for South Carolina’s match on Thursday will be available here and live streaming for all first and second round matches will be available here.
- South Carolina is ranked No. 30 in the latest ITA Team Rankings but has been ranked as high as No. 25 this season. The Gamecocks have a 13-9 overall record this season and an 8-5 mark in conference play. They are 3-6 when playing on the road and 2-0 at neutral sites this season.
- Two Gamecocks are ranked in the top-25 of the ITA Singles Rankings – No. 9 Ayana Akli and No. 22 Sarah Hamner.
- Akli is 30-8 overall this season and 15-2 in dual play, all from the No. 1 position. She went 9-2 against SEC opponents and has a total of 21 ranked singles wins.
- Hamner is 18-11 overall this season and won six matches in dual play, five of them against SEC opponents.
- Sophomore Misa Malkin has also put up impressive singles numbers this season. The Tucson, Arizona, native is 16-11 in singles with an 8-3 mark in dual play. She ended the regular season on a seven-match win streak with all seven wins coming over SEC foes. She went a perfect 7-0 in conference singles matches this season.
- Akli and Hamner are also in the ITA Doubles Rankings together. Currently ranked at No. 38, the pair is 15-7 overall and 8-2 in dual play with a 6-2 mark in conference matches, all at the No. 1 position.
- The pair of senior Ana Cruz and junior Allie Gretkowski has also been a staple of the doubles lineup this season, going 11-5 in dual play. They have a team-leading 7-2 mark against SEC opponents and racked up a 5-3 record at the No. 2 position and a 6-2 record at the No. 3 position.
SEC Tournament History
- The Gamecocks have an an all-time record of 28-29 in the SEC Tournament.
- South Carolina has reached the semifinals seven times (1995, 1999, 2002, 2010, 2017, 2019, 2021) and finals on two occasions (2002, 2019).
- Since the SEC began its’ women’s tennis tournament in 2000, only five teams have claimed a title – Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and most recently Texas A&M in 2022.
- In the 2022 Tournament, sixth-seeded South Carolina posted a win over No. 14 seed Kentucky and lost in the quarterfinals to No. 3 seed Georgia.
Scouting the Wildcats
- Kentucky enters the tournament as the No. 11 seed with a 12-13 overall record this season and 4-9 mark in SEC play. They lost six straight SEC matches to end the regular season.
- The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 57 in the ITA Team Rankings.
- Senior Florencia Urrutia and junior Elizabeth Stevens are both in the singles rankings for the team. Urrutia at No. 42 and Stevens at No. 118.
- Kentucky also has one ranked doubles pair in No. 22 Sevens and Carlota Molina.
Scouting the Bulldogs
- Mississippi State enters the tournament as the No. 14 seed with a 10-14 overall record and did not win a single SEC match this season. They opened the season 10-1 but lost 13 straight SEC matches to close the season.
- Graduate Emmanouela Antonaki is the lone Bulldog in the ITA Singles Rankings, coming in at No. 68.
- South Carolina tallied wins over both Kentucky and Mississippi State during the regular season.
- The then-No. 34 Gamecocks beat then-No. 68 Kentucky in a dramatic comeback win in Columbia on March 17. Kentucky took the doubles point and first two singles matches to lead 3-0, but South Carolina responded with wins on Courts 1, 2, 3, and 4 to win the match 4-3.
- Then-No. 26 South Carolina defeated Mississippi State on their home courts in Starkville 6-1 during the regular season.
- Kentucky and Mississippi State faced off in the SEC opener on March 3 in Starkville. The Wildcats came out of top 5-2.
For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).