May 8, 2009

Courtesy of South Carolina Athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - No. 31 South Carolina dropped its first-round NCAA Championships match to No. 37 North Carolina 4-0 this afternoon at Snyder Tennis Center at the University of Virginia. The Tar Heels (17-10) edged the Gamecocks (15-11) out of the doubles point to start the match and went on to capitalize on early breaks of serve in singles play. Sophomore Johannes Pulsfort was the lone Gamecock to win his first set of singles.

In doubles action, both the Nos. 2 and 3 pairs for the Gamecocks lost their serve to open the match. The No. 2 combination of Pedro Campos and Joe Veeder got their break back to level the match at 2-2 and continued on serve with a battle in every service game. Pulsfort and senior Jaime Cuellar in the No. 3 spot got their break back at 6-6, but the Tar Heel duo of Brennan Boyajian and Zack Hunter got the break right back to take a 7-6 lead. Boyajian held serve to pick up the first win of the day. The No. 1 matchup between a pair of top-25 tandems was just the opposite of the No. 3 match. The Gamecocks battled to stay on serve through a bulk of the match, including a hold for Diego Cubas as he fought through a long series of deuce points to level the match at 5-5. The Tar Heel duo of Clay Donato and Taylor Fogleman, ranked No. 17 in the nation, took a 7-5 lead with a break of serve, and Donato delivered the 8-5 victory with a service winner on match point.

Singles play got off to an auspicious beginning for the Gamecocks with four of their six players suffering a service break in the first three games of the match. In the No. 6 match, Ivan Cressoni rallied back from his rough start to get back on serve leading 3-2. North Carolina's Cameron Ahari pushed back late, however, to win the first set 6-4 before cruising in the second 6-2, giving the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead in the match.

On Court 1, Donato, ranked No. 32 in the country, used an early service break to hold off South Carolina's Cubas, ranked No. 51, 6-4 in the first set. Cubas struggled on serve in the second set, falling behind 0-3 en route to a 2-6 loss. North Carolina sealed the victory with a 6-3, 6-4 win from Andrew Crone over Ivan Machado in the No. 4 singles match. After dropping the first set, Machado surged ahead 4-1 in the second set, only to see Crone storm back for the victory.

In the No. 5 match, Pulsfort scored the lone set for the Gamecocks, overcoming an early service break in the first set. After getting back on serve at 3-3, he broke Luke Mojica to go ahead 6-5 and consolidated for a 7-5 win. Mojica was ahead 4-1 in the second set when play was suspended. Opposite Pulsfort's match, Cuellar suffered a 6-1 loss in the first set of his No. 3 singles match with Boyajian but was battling in the second set after a controversial call and heated exchange between the players. The match was on serve with Boyajian up 5-4 when play was halted.

The Gamecocks finish their season with a 15-11 record, posting the program's most wins since a 20-10 season in 2005.


No. 37 North Carolina 4, No. 31 South Carolina 0

Doubles: (Order of Finish: 3, 1)
1. (17) Clay Donato/Taylor Fogleman (NC) def. (24) Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) 8-6
2. Pedro Campos/Joe Veeder (SC) vs. Crone/Raifee (NC) 6-5 suspended
3. Brennan Boyajian/Zach Hunter (NC) def. Jaime Cuellar/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 8-6

Singles: (Order of Finish: 6, 1, 4)
1. (32) Clay Donato (NC) def. (51) Diego Cubas (SC) 6-4, 6-2
2. Pedro Campos (SC) vs. (63) Taylor Fogleman (NC) 4-6, 1-3 suspended
3. Jaime Cuellar (SC) vs. Brennan Boyajian (NC) 1-6, 4-5 suspended
4. Andrew Crone (NC) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 6-3, 6-4
5. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) vs. Luke Mojica (NC) 7-5, 1-4 suspended
6. Cameron Ahari (NC) def. Ivan Cressoni (SC) 6-4, 6-2