May 9, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - No. 22 South Carolina advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 win over 40th-ranked Wake Forest Saturday afternoon at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center in Knoxville, Tenn. The Gamecocks improve to 15-10 on the season, while the Demon Deacons conclude the 2009 campaign with a 13-13 record.
The match started outdoors on the UT Varsity Courts where South Carolina jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a pair of doubles victories. The Gamecock tandem of Suzanna Mansour and Dijana Stojic scored the first triumph of the day, defeating the Demon Deacon duo of Katarina Reveche and Ryann Cutillo, 8-5, on court three.
Miljana Jocic and Gira Schofield then joined forces to stake USC to the early advantage with an identical 8-5 win over Emilee Malvehy and Aileen Davis at the second position in the lineup. Although the match was halted when the doubles point was decided, South Carolina was leading at the No. 1 slot as well, with the 27th-ranked combo of Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Marija Zubori winning 7-6 over the No. 80-rated Wake Forest pairing of Sasha Kulikova and Sierra Poske.
Just moments after starting singles play, the rain began to fall, prompting a one hour and 25 minute rain delay before play was moved indoors to the Goodfriend Tennis Center. It was all South Carolina from that point on, as it claimed wins on the top three courts to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
No. 48 Zubori struck the first blow, putting USC up 2-0 on the scoreboard with a strong, 6-3, 6-1, victory over Poske at No. 2 singles before the 43rd-ranked Schofield downed No. 65 Kulikova, 6-2, 6-3, on center court to make it a three-score advantage. Stojic closed out the Gamecock victory with a hard-fought, three-set triumph over Malvehy, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, at the third position.
South Carolina will take on the winner of today's match between No. 10 Tennessee and East Tennessee State at 1 p.m. on Sunday for the right to move on to the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, May 15-19.
1. No. 43 Gira Schofield (SC) vs. No. 65 Sasha Kulikova (WF) - 6-2, 6-3
2. No. 48 Ana Marija Zubori (SC) def. Sierra Poske (WF) - 6-3, 6-1
3. Dijana Stojic (SC) def. Emilee Malvehy (WF) - 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
4. Natasa Vuckovic (SC) vs. Christian Tara (WF) - 6-7 (5), 1-5 (unfinished)
5. Miljana Jocic (SC) vs. Katarina Reveche (WF) - 2-0 (unfinished)
6. Suzanna Mansour (SC) vs. Ryann Cutillo (WF) - 1-0 (unfinished)
1. No. 27 Natasa Vuckovic/Ana Marija Zubori (SC) vs. No. 80 Sasha Kulikova/Sierra Poske (WF) - 7-6 (unfinished)
2. Miljana Jocic/Gira Schofield (SC) def. Emilee Malvehy/Aileen Davis (WF) - 8-5
3. Suzanna Mansour/Dijana Stojic (SC) def. Katarina Reveche/Ryann Cutillo (WF) - 8-5
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,2*); Singles (2,1,3*)
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH ARLO ELKINS
"We came out and took care of business today. This team has worked extremely hard since the SEC Tournament; as hard as any team I can remember in quite some time. The result of that hard work was quite evident today. We're very much looking forward to a great opportunity on Sunday."
SOUTH CAROLINA FRESHMAN DIJANA STOJIC
"Everyone played very well. I was very excited to have the chance to clinch our match today and thankfully it worked out. It's been a great experience for me playing in the NCAA Tournament and I'm happy I was able to help the team advance."
WAKE FOREST HEAD COACH CHAD SKORUPKA
"Coming from the ACC and playing a school from the SEC, those are probably the top two conferences in women's tennis, so we knew it was going to be a tough match today. Obviously, we wanted to go a little bit further but it was good to be in the NCAA Tournament again. We got off to a good start in doubles, but we weren't able to maintain the lead, unfortunately. They just played more aggressive at the end, which is key in doubles at this level. We didn't get off to great start in singles, but I thought we had some good matches at three and four. We congratulate South Carolina on a great match today and wish them good luck tomorrow.