STARKVILLE, Miss. — No. 17 Auburn advanced to the SEC tournament quarterfinals with a 4-2 victory against South Carolina on Thursday morning at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
Auburn has now surpassed its win total from the 2011 season with its 17th victory of the year, and the Tigers now have their most single-season wins since winning 20 matches in the 2002 season. South Carolina fell to 15-11 overall.
“I think we’re continuing to improve in doubles,” Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. “I thought we played well in all three spots today in doubles. And then in singles, we knew South Carolina was going to fight back, and they did. It was very tough at the end, it was close and our guys found a way to get four points. Gotta give Dan [Cochrane] a lot of credit, he’s been battling hard. He played well. We’ve been telling him that if he keeps fighting like he has, good things were going to happen, and they did.”
The Tigers got a measure of revenge by winning the doubles point; the Gamecocks had taken an early lead in the team’s earlier match in Columbia before Auburn rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a narrow victory.
The Auburn team of Daniel Cochrane and Lukas Ollert struck first with an 8-4 win against Carl Eguez and Kyle Koch at the No. 3 doubles position. Just a few minutes later, the 14th-ranked pair of Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies downed No. 24 Chip Cox and Nick Jones 8-5 on court one to clinch the point and give Auburn a 1-0 lead.
Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso were one game away from a win as well, holding a 7-3 lead on Ivan Machado and Thiago Pinheiro when play was halted.
Auburn increased its lead to 2-0 when Lopasso rallied from down an early break to roll to a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Cox at the No. 5 singles spot. But South Carolina would cut into the deficit when Pinheiro took down Lengsfeld 6-4, 6-0 on court four.
A win from Cochrane against Jones on court three 6-4, 6-1 would put the Tigers just one point away from clinching the match. But again, South Carolina would come up with a big win as Andrew Adams earned a 6-4, 6-3 win against Stamchev 6-4, 6-3 on court two.
It would come down to a pair of matches in the third set after Mies had dropped the second set of his match and Ollert had rallied to win set two at the No. 6 position. And it would be 18th-ranked Mies emerging victorious on court one, outlasting Machado 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 to clinch the win for Auburn.
Ollert was tied with Koch 4-4 in the third set when play was suspended.