Gamecock men’s tennis advances to second straight Sweet 16
Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis will advance to Super Regionals Round of 16 after taking down No. 26 Pepperdine 4-1 on Saturday. This will be the Gamecocks second consecutive trip to the Round of 16.
“Coming into today we knew that Pepperdine was an extremely talented team,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “They came out very strong in doubles but our guys stuck in to win the doubles point. They carried that momentum into singles and I loved the work that they put in on all six courts. We’re excited to get on the road next. This is the part of the year that we’ve been waiting for. Now it’s time to hunt.”
South Carolina got off to a slow start in doubles. No. 18 duo Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson took on No. 72 Daniel De Jonge and Eero Vasa at the top of the lineup. The Gamecock duo took the first game on the match but the Pepperdine pair earned and early break to go up 3-1. Rodrigues and Thomson refused to give in, going on a five game run to win their match 6-3.
The doubles point was clinched by the still undefeated duo of Toby Samuel and Casey Hoole. The pair also fought from behind for their win, falling to 1-3 early. The Gamecocks won their next service game but their Pepperdine counterparts answered with one of their own to take a 4-2 lead. The duo rallied to put up four straight game wins for the 6-4 victory to clinch the doubles point.
Play transitioned to singles where Thomson was first to clear his court. The sophomore breezed through his first set 6-1 over No. 93 Andrew Rogers of Pepperdine. The second set was closely matched through the first half but Thomson earned a timely break when up 3-2 and another a break to seal his match with a 6-3 second set.
The Waves earned their lone win of the day next when Vasa defeated Hoole on Court 6.
Junior Raphael Lambling was next to put a point on the board. He started his match strong with a break in the first game and jumped out to 3-1 early. Lambling maintained his lead to 5-3 but his opponent Enrique Luque Rico fought back to force the match to a tiebreak. The tiebreak was evenly matched throughout until Lambling was able to pull away to take the tiebreak set 7-5. He flew through his second set, winning it 6-1.
The match clinching point came from James Story on Court 5. The sophomore earned a break midway through his first set and carried the momentum with him to win it 6-4. His second set was tight and needed a tiebreak for the decision. Story was unstoppable in the tiebreak, taking an early lead and never looking back to win the set 7-2.
South Carolina retains their perfect home record with a 16-0 mark and have a 19 match home winning streak dating back to the 2021 season. This is the team’s first perfect home season since 1986.
The Gamecocks face the winner of Virginia versus VCU in the Super Regionals next weekend. More information on the match will be released at a later date.
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, (26) Pepperdine 1
Doubles (order of finish: 1, 3)
1. (18) Rodrigues/Thomson (SC) def. (72) De Jonge/Vasa (Pepp) 6-3
2. Lambling/Story (SC) tied with Summaria/Rogers (Pepp) 4-4
3. Samuel/Hoole (SC) def. Rico/Zeitvogel (Pepp) 6-4
Singles (order of finish: 3, 6, 4, 5)
1. (1) Rodrigues (SC) led (24) De Jonge (Pepp) 6-1, 4-6, 1-0
2. (82) Samuel (SC) led (67) Zietvogel (Pepp) 2-6, 6-3, 3-0
3. Thomson (SC) def. (93) Rogers (Pepp) 6-1, 6-3
4. Lambling (SC) def. Rico (Pepp) 7-6(5), 6-1
5. Story (SC) def. Summaria (Pepp) 6-4, 7-6(2)
6. Vasa (Pepp) def. Hoole (SC) 6-4, 7-6(1)