May 14, 2010

Courtesy of South Carolina

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- South Carolina's 18th-ranked women's tennis team (17-8) downed No. 54 TCU (10-17) 4-2 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Tallahassee, Fla. The Gamecocks next face the winner of No. 15 Florida State (14-10) and No. 68 North Florida (20-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

South Carolina got off to a slow start by losing the doubles point, falling on courts one and three. TCU won first at No. 3 singles with Gaby Mastromarino and Indunn Hertzberg winning 8-2 against Adriana Pereira and Madeleine Saari-Byström. The Gamecocks countered with Miljana Jocic and Anya Morgina's 8-4 triumph over Nina Munch-Soegaard and Maria Babanova on court two.

On the deciding match at No. 1 doubles, the Horned Frogs' Kayla Duncan and Katariina Tuohimaa took a 7-5 lead on Dijana Stojic and Ana Marija Zubori. In the 13th game, Stojic and Zubori fought off two match points before getting the score to 7-6 and then fought off two more match points in the next frame to make it 7-all. The Gamecock duo then pushed ahead 8-7.

With Tuohimaa serving in the 16th game, South Carolina took a 15-40 advantage. TCU saved one match point and then Duncan hit a volley at the net on the next rally that just dropped over the net for deuce. South Carolina got the ad for its third match point, but Tuohimaa and Duncan came back to win the game and forced a tiebreaker. In the breaker, TCU raced ahead 6-3 and ended up winning the match on its sixth match point for a 7-4 final in the tiebreaker.

The Gamecocks dominated in the singles competition, dropping one match while winning four others in straight sets. Morgina tied the score at 1-all when she upended Duncan 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 singles to notch her 20th win of the season. She is the fifth Gamecock this season to post at least 20 victories in singles.

Jocic, South Carolina's team MVP this year, won handily as well on court four by a 6-2, 6-0 count versus Hertzberg to put Carolina on top 2-1. Jocic has the most wins in singles play this season with a 28-7 record and she is 17-4 in duals.

TCU scored its final point of the day with Mastromarino defeating Pereira 6-3, 6-2 at five singles. Within seconds of the match ending, Zubori scored a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Munch-Soegaard to make the score 3-2 for South Carolina.

Stojic led Tuohimma 6-2, 4-2 at No. 2 singles when Zubori won her match. Stojic broke Tuohimma to make the score 5-2, but Tuohimma broke back to make it 5-3. In the ninth game, Tuohimma had a game point at 40-30, but Stojic rallied to win the next three points to win the match and send South Carolina into the second round. Stojic has the most dual match victories for South Carolina this season with an 18-6 record.

The No. 6 singles match saw Saari-Byström leading Shalini Sahoo 7-5, 2-1 when Stojic provided South Carolina's fourth point.

South Carolina has now won at least one round in the NCAA Tournament 14 times during its current streak of 16 NCAA appearances in a row. The Gamecocks own a 20-19 all-time record in NCAA matches and have advanced as far as the quarterfinals two times (1982, 2009).