Gamecock women’s tennis sweeps Iowa State to advance to second round of NCAA Tournament
Cary, N.C. – No. 28 South Carolina swept No. 32 Iowa State 4-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. After securing the doubles point, the Gamecocks went on to win three singles points in straight sets and junior Elise Mills clinched the victory in the rematch of the 2021 NCAA first round.
“I’m really happy for the effort we put out there today. Iowa State has a very tough squad and we knew we were in for a battle,” said head coach Kevin Epley. “Coming back to win the doubles point really set the tone for the day. Our energy was on point, and we really stepped up in some spots in singles. We are fired up for a shot in the next round tomorrow.”
In doubles, No. 89 Ayana Akli and Ana Cruz got off to a solid start and went up 3-0 over their Iowa State opponents. They continued to dominate and never fell behind to earn the 6-3 win. In the No. 3 spot, No. 65 Megan Davies/Gracie Mulvillebattled against Ange Oby Kajuru and Chie Kezuka. After going down 3-5, the Gamecock duo fought back from behind to win the next four games to secure the doubles point with a 7-5 win.
Leading 1-0, South Carolina continued to cruise in singles and won four first sets. No. 6 Sarah Hamner dominated in her first set against No. 56 Thasaporn Naklo to secure the 6-1 win. Naklo pushed back and earned three games of her own in the second set, but it was Hamner who would come away victorious. Hamner hit a powerful backhand that Naklo dumped into the net, giving South Carolina the first singles point of the match.
No. 57 Akli played an efficient match against No. 89 Ange Oby Kajuru in the No. 2 spot. Kajuru earned the first two games, but Akli was ready to fight. She came back from a 1-3 deficit to complete the 6-4 first set win. From there, the Gamecock junior settled in and only allowed one game. She slammed a backhand deep into the court that Kajuru could not return to put the Gamecocks ahead 3-0.
Moments later, Mills wrapped up her match in the No. 4 spot. After taking the first set against Anna Supapitch Kuearum in a close 6-4 decision, Mills was ready to wrap things up. She hit a strong forehand that could not be returned and blanked Kuearum to clinch the 4-0 outcome for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina will face the winner of South Carolina State and top-seeded North Carolina on Sunday at 2 p.m. Continue to check @GamecockWTennis for match coverage updates.
(28) South Carolina def. (32) Iowa State 4-0
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3*)
1. No. 89 Ayana Akli/Ana Cruz (SC) def. Thasaporn Naklo/Christin Hsieh (ISU) 6-3
2. Sofia Cabezas/ Miska Kadleckova (ISU) def. No. 25 Sarah Hamner/Misa Malkin (SC) 6-4
3. No. 65 Megan Davies/Gracie Mulville (SC) def. Ange Oby Kajuru/Chie Kezuka (ISU)
Singles (Order of Finish: 1, 2, 4*)
1. No. 6 Sarah Hamner (SC) def. No. 56 Thasaporn Naklo (ISU) 6-1, 6-3
2. No. 57 Ayana Akli (SC) def. No. 89 Ange Oby Kajuru (ISU) 6-4, 6-1
3. Megan Davies (SC) vs. Miska Kadleckova (ISU) 2-6, 1-4 DNF
4. Elise Mills (SC) def. Anna Supapitch Kuearum (ISU) 6-4, 6-0
5. Misa Malkin (SC) vs. Chie Kezuka (ISU) 4-6, 0-3 DNF
6. Gracie Mulville (SC) vs. Sofia Cabezas (ISU) 6-4, 2-3 DNF