No. 25 Gamecocks dominate Clemson, 6-1 Thursday
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 25 South Carolina women’s team took down in-state rival Clemson, 6-1, on Thursday afternoon at the Carolina Tennis Center, earning the Gamecocks another point in the Palmetto Series.
South Carolina (2-2) started out hot against the Tigers (5-1) in doubles and never looked back, handing Clemson its first loss of the season.
In doubles, Mia Horvit and Megan Davies quickly downed Eleni Louka and Zaina Nait Omar, 6-1, on court one. With Clemson serving, Horvit and Davies held a 40-15 lead in the final game, but the Tigers double faulted, ending the match, 6-1, in favor of the Gamecocks.
Paired back up, No. 18-ranked Silvia Chinellato and Emma Shelton fell behind Mackenzy Middlebrooks and Sydney Riley early at the No. 2 spot. Chinellato and Shelton found their groove, ultimately topping the Tigers, 6-2, and clinching the doubles point for Carolina.
“For us, the story of the day is that we showed a lot of heart,” head coach Kevin Epley said. “We had a couple of freshmen get down on a couple of courts – we’ve been talking about fighting and what the Gamecock spirit is all about – they never gave up and came back from some substantial deficits. We still have a lot of work to do, but today was promising in many ways.”
In singles, No. 27-ranked Horvit faced off with Tate Schroeder on court one, going back-and-forth with the Tiger in the first set. Down, 2-1, Horvit claimed three-straight games, taking the lead, 4-2. She eventually ended the first set with a, 6-3, victory. In the second set, Horvit took a massive, 5-0, advantage over Schroeder. Schroeder won the next game, only to be defeated by Horvit, 6-3, 6-1, in the match.
With the score in favor of South Carolina, 2-0, Shelton was working on finishing off Louka at the No. 3 position. In the first set, Shelton had a, 4-1, lead over Louka, before she threatened Shelton’s lead, winning two games in-a-row. Shelton dug deep, taking her own two-consecutive games for a, 6-3, first-set victory. She then won the second set, 6-3, clinching another match point for the Gamecocks, 3-0.
Needing only one more point to call match, No. 28 Davies was controlling her match on court two opposite of Middlebrooks. Davies defeated the Tiger, 6-3, in the first set. In the second set, Davies allowed Middlebrooks only two points, downing her, 6-3, 6-2, and securing her team the win even though the match was played out.
On court four, Chinellato and Ali Despain were in an absolute battle through two sets. Ultimately, Despain came out on top, 6-4, 6-4, earning Clemson’s only point on the day.
Playing at the No. 6 position, Elise Mills downed Nait Omar in straight-sets, 7-5, 6-4. The two went toe-to-toe in the first set with Mills getting it done. In the second set, Mills fell behind Nait Omar, 4-1. Mills rallied, taking five-consecutive games and earning her first dual-match victory, 7-5, 6-4.
With only one match left, and a hefty, 5-1, lead over Clemson, the Gamecocks were looking for another win to close it out. On court five, Gabriela Martinez fell in her first set, 6-3, to Sipek. In the second set, Martinez was the one who came out on top, 6-4, pushing a third set. Playing a 10-point tiebreaker, the two traded each game, finding themselves tied, 9-9. Martinez pulled out two points in-a-row, ending her match, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9, and the overall match, 6-1.
Up next, the Gamecocks head to Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 12 p.m. ET and then Denver in a neutral-site match on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 12 p.m. ET.