Gamecocks Advance to NCAA Sweet 16 After Edging Texas
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — The 14th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team (20-8) advanced to its seventh NCAA Sweet 16 in program history Saturday after edging No. 22 Texas (14-9) by a 4-3 margin in the second round at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C.
The No. 3 match-up between South Carolina’s Caroline Dailey and Rachel Rohrabacher, and Texas’ Bianca Turati and Dani Wagland decided the doubles point. The match was on serve with Dailey serving at 3-4 after the Gamecocks and Longhorns split courts one and two. UT earned a break for a chance to serve out the match up 5-3. Serving at 30-40, Rohrabacher hit a deep forehand volley down the middle of the court that Turati and Wagland could only watch as the match went back on serve.
Rohrabacher took the serve in the 10th game and Dailey’s powerful net play helped Rohrabacher hold serve at love to even the match up at 5-all. Texas answered back with a hold at love of its own to give Dailey the serve. Rohrabacher came up with another big forehand volley, this time of the crosscourt variety, at 40-30 to send the match into a tiebreak.
South Carolina jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the tiebreak, but Texas managed to counter and make it 3-all at the first changeover. Dailey hit a massive overhead to give the Gamecocks a 4-3 advantage, but UT claimed the next rally for 4-all. South Carolina remained steady and three costly misfires by the Longhorns on the next three points gave the Gamecocks a 7-6(4) victory for a 1-0 lead heading to singles play.
At No. 1 doubles, the Gamecocks’ 25th-ranked combo of Hadley Berg and Paige Cline suffered a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Neda Koprcina and Danielle Roldan. South Carolina responded minutes later with Brigit Folland and Ingrid Gamarra Martins holding off Petra Granic and Daniella Roldan for a 6-3 victory.
The Gamecocks’ Mia Horvit, ranked No. 47, got off to a fast pace in singles by surging ahead 4-0 against No. 72 Neda Koprcina on court two, while Brigit Folland did the same to Dani Wagland at the No. 6 spot. Hadley Berg had a 3-1 lead early on Daniella Roldan at the five spot, and Carolina’s Silvia Chinellato had a 2-1 advantage on Anna Turati at No. 4 singles as well. Texas had control of the other two courts midway through the first sets with No. 41 Bianca Turati leading No. 49 Ingrid Gamarra Martins 3-0 at one and No. 83 Petra Granic up 4-0 on Caroline Dailey at three.
Granic ended up being the first to get a set in the books with a 6-0 win over Dailey, while Folland took a 6-0 decision in the first from Wagland. Next, Horvit put her first set to bed with a 6-1 triumph over Koprcina. Bianca Turati took a 6-1 first set from Martins, but Berg’s 6-3 win at five over Roldan put the Gamecocks in control thanks to their critical win in doubles.
Anna Turati ended up coming back from a 5-4 deficit to Chinellato at four to win 7-5 in the first, but Folland pushed the Gamecocks to a 2-0 advantage after dispatching Wagland at six by a 6-0, 6-2 final. Despite the lead, Texas had a 5-1 upper hand in the second set at two, a 6-1, 4-1 advantage at one, and a 4-2 lead in the second at five. Dailey, though, recovered from her 6-0 loss in the first to Granic to take the second set 6-2 to force a third.
Texas got on the board thanks to Bianca Turati holding off Martins for a 6-1, 6-2 win at the top slot. Horvit had just entered a third set at two against Koprcina after dropping the second 6-3, and Dailey trailed Granic 2-1 on court three. Berg and Roldan were tied 5-all in the second at five, while Chinellato was up 2-1 on Anna Turati on court four.
Berg closed down Roldan in the second set by running off three straight games when she trailed 5-4 to snag the 6-3, 7-5 triumph, putting the Gamecocks on top 3-1. Soon after her win, Horvit pulled ahead 2-1 on court two, Dailey was behind a game, 3-2, to Granic at three, and Chinellato and Anna Turati were tied 3-all in the second.
Granic closed the deficit to one, 3-2, after she defeated Dailey 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 on court three. A minute after her win, though, Horvit won a critical deuce when she was already ahead a break in the third to go up 4-1 with the serve. Horvit held for 5-1 and Koprcina did likewise to make it 5-2 to give Horvit a chance to serve out the match. Horvit quickly went ahead 40-0, but unforced errors allowed Koprcina to get the game to deuce. On the ensuing point, Horvit used a crosscourt backhand approach that proved too deep for Koprcina to get a clean hit on, as she framed the ball into the net to give Horvit a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win.
Chinellato faltered in her match with Anna Turati 7-5, 6-3 just minutes before Horvit provided the winning point for the Gamecocks for the second time in as many days.
• The Gamecocks advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009 and are making their seventh appearance overall (1982, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009, 2017).
• South Carolina has competed in the NCAA Tournament for 23 straight years, the 11th longest active streak in the nation. Overall, the Gamecocks have reached the NCAA Tournament field 27 times in the event’s 36-year history.
• South Carolina won its 20th match this year, marking the first 20-win season for the Gamecocks since the 1995 squad went 22-7 en route to a Sweet 16 appearance.
• The Gamecocks’ No. 3 doubles team of Rachel Rohrabacher and Caroline Dailey are 2-0 in the NCAA Tournament. They clinched the doubles point in matches against North Florida and Texas.
• Hadley Berg pocketed her 21st victory this spring, moving to an impressive 21-2. She is the first Gamecock since Ana Marija Zubori in 2009 to post 20 dual match victories. Berg also moved to 5-0 in her career in NCAA Tournament play.
• Brigit Folland improved to 19-2 in dual matches this spring and 14-1 at the No. 6 position. She is currently riding an 11-match winning streak. With one more victory, she and Hadley Berg can give the Gamecocks their first pair of 20-match winners for duals in a season since 1995 when Tracy Kotseos and Heather Greene won 22 and 21 matches, respectively.
• Freshman Mia Horvit clinched the win over Texas and is 2-0 in her first NCAA Tournament. She provided the winning point against North Florida on Friday as well.
The Gamecocks will next face the winner of second-ranked and No. 3-seeded Ohio State and No. 32-ranked Notre Dame on Friday at noon in Athens, Ga., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Ohio State and Notre Dame play in the second round at noon Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
South Carolina is 2-2 all-time against Ohio State with the last meeting ending in a 4-1 win for Carolina in Durham, N.C., in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. South Carolina is 1-3 versus Notre Dame, last facing the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind., in the second round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks lost the match 5-1.
#14 South Carolina def. #22 Texas, 4-3
1. #41 Bianca Turati (UT) def. #49 Ingrid Gamarra Martins (SC) 6-1, 6-2
2. #47 Mia Horvit (SC) def. #72 Neda Koprcina (UT) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
3. #83 Petra Granic (UT) def. Caroline Dailey (SC) 6-0, 2-6, 6-2
4. Anna Turati (UT) def. Silvia Chinellato (SC) 7-5, 6-3
5. Hadley Berg (SC) def. Daniella Roldan (UT) 6-3, 7-5
6. Brigit Folland (SC) def. Dani Wagland (UT) 6-0, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 1, 5, 3, 4, 2
1. Koprcina/Anna Turati (UT) def. #25 Berg/Paige Cline (SC) 6-1
2. Folland/Martins (SC) def. Granic/Roldan (UT) 6-3
3. Dailey/Rachel Rohrabacher (SC) def. Bianca Turati/Wagland (UT) 7-6(4)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3