WATCH: Gamecocks prepare to face no. 1 Texas in NCAA Quarterfinals
Orlando, Fla. – No. 8 South Carolina men’s tennis will compete in the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time since 1989 on Thursday. The Gamecocks will take on the No. 1 overall seed and No. 1 ranked Texas Longhorns for the opportunity to advance to the semifinal match.
Thursday’s match will take place on the #1-6 collegiate courts at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Additional information for spectators such as ticket and parking information can be found on the Tournament Central webpage.
Fans watching from home can view live streaming via PlaySight here and can follow along with live stats here. Cracked Racquets will also be providing broadcast coverage on all quarterfinal matches on their YouTube channel.
- South Carolina, the tournament’s No. 9 seed, made their way to the final site after defeating South Carolina State and No. 18 Florida State at home and taking down No. 8 seed Tennessee in Knoxville.
- The Gamecocks are 22-6 overall this season, including eight wins over top-20 teams with five of them in the top-10. South of South Carolina’s most notable wins this season were a road win over then-No. 5 Kentucky and a win at home over then-No. 4 Ohio State.
- The team’s win over Ohio State propelled them up to the highest ranking in program history at No. 2. The Gamecocks have spent the entirety of the season ranked in the top-10 and currently sit at No. 8 in the nation.
- South Carolina has four players in the ITA Singles Rankings – No. 10 Toby Samuel, No. 16 Connor Thomson, No. 102 Casey Hoole, No. 116 James Story, and No. 122 Raphael Lambling.
- Samuel, Thomson, and Story were all recently named to the All-SEC Teams with Samuel and Thomson on the First Team and Story on the Second Team.
- Samuel has led the Gamecocks in singles this season from the top spot in the lineup where he is 19-4. He has climbed throughout the rankings this season, peaking at a career-high of No. 3. During the second round of tournament play, Samuel defeated the nation’s No. 7 player 6-1, 6-1, and was toe-to-toe in a third set with the nation’s No. 5 player from Tennessee when play was suspended.
- Thomson has been South Carolina’s primary No. 2 singles player this season. He is 33-6 overall and has a 20-4 mark in dual play. He clinched each of South Carolina’s last two matches, both of them in three set come-from-behind victories.
- Story has been consistent in the middle of the lineup for the Gamecocks. He is 15-5 in dual play with a 4-2 mark at the No. 3 position and an 11-3 mark at the No. 4 position.
- South Carolina also has two ranked doubles pairs – No. 1 Samuel and Thomson and No. 48 Story and Jake Beasley.
- Samuel and Thomson have held the top spot in the national doubles rankings for 11 consecutive weeks this season. They are 24-4 overall and have a 17-4 mark in in dual play, all from the No. 1 position. They are coming off of a doubles point clinching win over the nation’s No. 4 pair.
- Beasley and Story have been consistent at the No. 2 spot in the doubles lineup this season. The duo is 24-12 overall with a 16-10 mark in dual play.
- South Carolina’s No. 3 doubles pair of Lambling and Hoole have also had much success this season. The duo is 18-4 overall and 16-4 in dual play.
Scouting the Longhorns
- Texas is 25-3 on the season and went 5-0 in Big 12 play. They are current ranked No. 1 in the nation by the ITA and have held that ranking for several weeks throughout the season.
- Texas is 6-1 when playing on the road and 4-2 when playing at neutral sites this season. Their only losses come at then-No. 2 Ohio State, in the title match of the ITA Indoor National Championships against TCU, and in the title match of the Big 12 Championships, also to TCU.
- The Longhorns have four players in the ITA Singles Rankings with all four of them in the top-65 – No. 1 Eliot Spizzirri, No. 28 Pierree-Yves Bailly, No. 54 Siem Woldeab, and No. 61 Micah Braswell.
- Spizzirri is the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year and a first-team All-Big 12 selection in both singles and doubles. He is 33-4 overall with a 20-1 record in dual matches, all from the No. 1 position. He has been ranked No. 1 in the country every week since Feb. 8.
- Bailly is also a first team All-Big 12 selection in singles and a second team selection in doubles. He is 14-8 overall with a 12-7 mark in dual play.
- Woldeab is a second team All-Big 12 selection in both singles and doubles. He is 28-10 overall and 17-7 in dual match play.
- Braswell is 16-11 overall in singles this season with a 12-9 record in dual play.
- The Longhorns also have two ranked doubles pairs – No. 3 Spizzirri and Cleeve Harper and No. 75 Woldeab and Bailly.
- Harper and Spizzirri are 23-13 in doubles together and have won 10 of their last 12 matches. The duo was defeated by South Carolina’s Samuel and Thomson in the semifinals of the ITA All-American Championships, 6-2, 6-4.
- Woldeab and Bailly are 14-7 together and have won eight of their last 11 matches. They have tallied three top-50 wins this season and have clinched six doubles points for their team.
- Texas leads the all-time series 7-1 and has won each of the last seven matchups. The Gamecocks won the first meeting of the series 5-4 in 1978, but Texas has secured wins in every matchup since.
- South Carolina and Texas have only met twice in this century, once in 2013 during an ITA Kickoff Weekend event in Kentucky and once in the NCAA Round of 16.
- Thursday’s meeting marks the second time that the two teams have faced at the USTA National Campus. They met in the Round of 16 in 2021 where South Carolina led 3-0 but the Longhorns stormed back to take the match 4-3.
NCAA Tournament History
- This year marks this ninth time the Gamecocks have been selected to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Josh Goffi, including each of the last six tournaments. The team has been to a total of 27 NCAA Championships in the history of the program.
- South Carolina’s No. 9 seed is the highest tournament seed in program history. The program’s previous high was the No. 10 seed that the team earned in 2022.
- The team is 23-26 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with the best team finish coming in 1989 when the Gamecocks advanced to the semifinals. This year’s trip to the quarterfinals is the furthest that the team has advanced since 1989.
- South Carolina is the only team in attendance who was not a top-8 seed. All seven other schools hosted their Regional and Super Regional matches on their respective home courts.