Gamecock men’s tennis sweeps SC State to advance in NCAA Tournament
Columbia, S.C. – No. 10 South Carolina men’s tennis swept South Carolina State 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and earn three singles wins to clinch the match.
“The first round always comes with a little bit of nerves,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “We’ve been working towards this tournament all year and we came out a little tight which was evident in doubles. We let the guys work it out themselves today and it turned out well. We’re looking forward to playing Pepperdine tomorrow. They’re a great team and are coached very well so we’ll have our hands full tomorrow. Overall, I’m very proud of the way our guys performed today.”
The first doubles win of the day came from the still undefeated Gamecock duo of Casey Hoole and Toby Samuel. The pair earned an early break to go up 3-1 but their Bulldog opponents fought back, tying the match at three all before taking a 4-3 lead. The Gamecocks didn’t give in and responded with a three game run to win their match 6-4. The duo is now a perfect 5-0 together.
The doubles point was clinched by Raphael Lambling and James Story on Court 2. The duo battled through an even matchup before earning a break and a service game after three all to take a 5-3 lead. Their South Carolina State counterparts tried to come back but the Gamecocks took their next service game for the 6-4 victory.
All Gamecocks looked strong in singles with all six players taking their first sets. Story earned the first victory of the day with a quick 6-1, 6-1 win on Court 5.
The next singles win of the day came from Connor Thomson on Court 3. Thomson was dominant in his first set, going up 5-0 before allowing his opponent on the board. The sophomore finished his first set 6-1 before putting up another impressive second set that he won 6-2.
The match was clinched by the nations No. 1 player Daniel Rodrigues. Rodrigues breezed through his first set 6-1 and started strong in the second, going up 4-0. The junior hit a bit of a lul, allowing his opponent three games before responding with two of his own to take the second set 6-3 to clinch the match.
South Carolina will continue the NCAA Championships tomorrow, hosting No. 26 Pepperdine at 1 p.m. at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks last played against the Waves on Feb. 18, 1999, and won the match 4-3.
Gates to the Carolina Tennis Center will open at 12 p.m. and a clear bag policy will be in effect. Tickets will be sold at the door and are $5 for general admission and $3 with a valid University ID.
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).
(10) South Carolina 4, South Carolina State 0
Doubles (order of finish: 3, 2)
- (18) Rodirgues/Thomson (SC) led Niv/Benchakroun (SCST) 5-4, uf
- Lambling/Story (SC) def. Haflinger/Pauluychenko (SCST) 6-4
- Samule/Hoole (SC) def. Sasso/Almashey (SCST) 6-4
Singles (order of finish: 5, 3, 1)
- #1 Rodrigues (SC) def. Haflinger (SCST) 6-1, 6-3
- #82 Samuel (SC) led Niv (SCST) 6-3, 4-1
- Thomson (SC) def. Benchakroun (SCST) 6-1, 6-2
- Lambling (SC) led Gorgun (SCST) 6-2, 3-2
- Story (SC) def. Pauliucheka (SCST) 6-1, 6-1
- Hoole (SC) led Arzaluz (SCST) 6-1, 3-5