(12) USC Stuns (5) Vanderbilt, 4-3
by: USC SID
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — No. 12 South Carolina women’s tennis earned its second top-10 win of the season, rallying from down 3-1 to pull off a thrilling 4-3 victory over No. 5 Vanderbilt on Thursday at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks won the doubles point before the defending National Champions flexed their muscles to capture the first set on five-of-six courts on their way to a 3-1 lead. But three-set wins by No. 109 Caroline Dailey and sophomore Hadley Berg evened the score and junior Brigit Folland clinched the match for the Gamecocks.
The win is South Carolina’s first over a Top-5 opponent since 2005. It also marks the first time since 2004 that South Carolina has taken down multiple top-10 teams in the same season. The Gamecocks are off to their best start since 2002 at 11-2, 3-0 in SEC play. The Commodores fall to 8-3, 1-1 in the SEC.
Carolina took the doubles point for the 11th time in 13 matches this spring with wins at No. 1 and No. 3. Berg and freshman Paige Cline, ranked No. 54, continued their sizzling 2016 campaign, improving to 7-0 this spring with a 6-4 win at No 1. With doubles even at 1-1, senior Ximena Siles Luna and freshman Ingrid Gamarra Martins posted a dramatic 7-5 triumph at No. 3 to get the point for the Garnet and Black.
The Commodores, however, would surge in front, taking advantage of South Carolina’s freshmen at No. 2 and 3. Astra Sharma, ranked No. 33, got Vanderbilt on the board with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Martins at No. 2, and Frances Altick, ranked No. 16, scored a 6-1, 6-1 win over Cline at No. 3. The Commodores would add to their lead as freshman Fernanda Contreras came back from down 5-0 in the first to seize a 7-5, 6-3 victory at No. 6.
Facing a 3-1 deficit on the scoreboard and down a set on each remaining court, the Gamecocks launched a turnaround behind Berg. After dropping her only set in 11 matches this spring, the Californian worked her backhand to perfection in the second and third sets en route to a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory at No. 4. Dailey kept the momentum going as she powered her way to a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2 win over No. 24 Sydney Campbell for her second win over a ranked opponent this spring.
With all eyes at No. 5 singles, Folland came through for the Gamecocks with an epic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over redshirt junior Georgina Sellyn to give her squad the win.
QUOTING COACH EPLEY
“Our team motto this year is ‘Step Up.’ Every person on this team stepped up in one way or another tonight. It’s a long season, and we will take it one match at a time, but this team is showing a lot of character match after match. The heart of this team continues to impress me. We have a very tough Kentucky squad in a couple of days, so it’s back to work tomorrow.”
- The Gamecocks are 2-0 against top-10 teams and 4-0 against top-30 opponents this season.
- South Carolina won the doubles point for the 11th time in 13 matches this spring.
- Carolina is a combined 21-2 in the No. 4 and 5 spots of the singles lineup this spring.
- Sophomore Hadley Berg is perfect in her first 11 singles results, capturing 10-of-11 matches in straight sets.
- Junior Brigit Folland has racked up seven straight victories en route to a 10-1 spring record.
- The doubles tandem of Paige Cline and Hadley Berg is 7-0 this spring and 3-0 in the SEC.
Carolina returns to the Carolina Tennis Center on Saturday as it hosts No. 19 Kentucky at 1 p.m., and South Carolina State at 6 p.m. Parking and admission to all home matches are free.
#12 South Carolina 4, #5 Vanderbilt, 3
- #109 Caroline Dailey (SC) d. #24 Sydney Campbell (VU) 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2
- #33 Astra Sharma (VU) d. Ingrid Gamarra Martins (SC) 6-3, 6-0
- #16 Frances Altick (VU) d. #110 Paige Cline (SC) 6-1, 6-1
- Hadley Berg (SC) d. Courtney Colton (VU) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
- Brigit Folland (SC) d. Georgina Sellyn (VU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
- Fernanda Contreras (VU) d. Ximena Siles Luna (SC) 7-5, 6-3
- #54 Cline/Berg (SC) d. #61 Yates/Sharma (VU) 6-4
- Colton/Altick (VU) d. Folland/Dailey (SC) 6-3
- Martins/Siles Luna (SC) d. Contreras/Campbell (VU) 7-5
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 1, 3*); Singles (3, 2, 6, 4, 1, 5*)
Photo Courtesy: USC Athletics