Gamecock women's tennis cruises to NCAA 2nd round
No. 10 South Carolina women's tennis (20-6, 11-2 SEC) advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 sweep over Quinnipiac on Friday at the Carolina Tennis Center.
The team secured the doubles point with two straight wins at No. 1 and No. 3, followed by three singles wins in straight sets from Silvia Chinellato, No. 34 Hadley Berg and Paige Cline.
With the win, the Gamecocks have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season. They will face No. 23 Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Carolina Tennis Center.
"They've got to start thinking about (Saturday) right now," Head Coach Kevin Epley said. "They're going to have a team dinner tonight. A team breakfast tomorrow. Stay together and really stay focused on the task. This is what we've been working forward all year, so it's time to move on."
The Gamecocks won the doubles point in two dominant matches from No. 63 Hadley Berg and Paige Cline at No. 1 and Rachel Rohrabacher and Megan Davies at No. 3.
Davies and Rohrabacher were first off the court in a perfect 6-0 win over Alexandra Mircea and Layla Rodriguez, while the All-American duo of Berg and Cline dropped just one game en route to a 6-1 win over Payton Bradley and Jennifer Lu.
Ingrid Gamarra Martins and Mia Horvit led 5-2 at No. 2 doubles, but the Gamecocks secured the doubles point before their match was finished.
1. #63 Hadley Berg / Paige Cline (SC) def. Payton Bradley/Jennifer Lu (QU) 6-1
2. ?Ingrid Gamarra Martins / Mia Horvit (SC) vs Proyfon Lohaphaisan/Dominique Vasile (QU) 5-2 susp
3. Megan Davies / Rachel Rohrabacher (SC) def. Alex Mircea/Layla Rodriguez (QU) 6-0
Order of finish
In singles, the Gamecocks continued to roll and won three straight matches in straight sets to secure their 12th sweep of the season. All six Gamecocks won their first sets, including three perfect 6-0 first set victories from Silvia Chinellato, Mia Horvit and Paige Cline.
Chinellato earned her first win since Feb. 10 with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Courtney Nash on Court 6. The win marked Chinellato's fourth of the dual match season.
Next off the court was No. 34 Hadley Berg, who defeated Jennifer Lu, 6-1, 6-0. The win marked Berg's 12th of the dual match season and improved the senior to 7-4 at No. 2 singles.
"It was really important for us to stay focused and not really get distracted by anything, so we could keep ourselves going and get ready for tomorrow," Berg said.
Cline clinched the match for the Gamecocks with her dominant 6-0, 6-0 victory on Court 4. The perfect win was Cline's second of the season. Previously, she defeated Charleston Southern's Kimberley Koerner, 6-0, 6-0, on Feb. 24.
"It feels really good," Berg said. "I think playing on our home courts and having our fans out there has helped out a lot. We're all looking forward to (Saturday) really, so we're just taking it day by day."
1. #59 Ingrid Gamarra Martins (SC) vs Dominique Vasile (QU) 6-0, 5-2 susp.
2. #34 Hadley Berg (SC) vs Jennifer Lu (QU) 6-1, 6-0
3. Mia Horvit (SC) vs Payton Bradley (QU) 6-0, 4-0 susp.
4. Paige Cline (SC) vs Layla Rodriguez (QU) 6-0, 6-0
5. Rachel Rohrabacher (SC) vs Proyfon Lohaphaisan (QU) 6-2, 3-0 susp.
6. Silvia Chinellato (SC) vs Courtney Nash (QU) 6-0, 6-2
Order of finish
6, 2, 4
"We knew the end of the week was going to be hot, so we focused on hydrating, being prepared for the heat and eating the right way. That was one of the things we were focused on today. Trying to play as hard as we could to get the least amount of time on the court that we could. I think we did a pretty good job of that. I think we played pretty well in doubles. The girls looked pretty committed to their games and didn't get too distracted, so mission accomplished." -- Head Coach Kevin Epley
With their win at No. 1 doubles, Hadley Berg and Paige Cline improved to 13-8 overall in 2018.
Megan Davies' 54 combined wins in singles (28) and doubles (26) this season are the most in a single season in school history by a Gamecock freshman.
Davies and Rohrabacher extended their winning streak in doubles to three matches with a 6-0 victory at No. 3. Together, they are 12-1 overall on the year.
Hadley Berg's 24-7 singles record this season has her at 98-34 overall, two wins shy of 100 on her career, with a winning percentage of .742 that ranks seventh in school history.
The Gamecocks have amassed 12 sweeps this season, including wins over South Florida, Oklahoma, Clemson, Charleston Southern, North Florida, Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Quinnipiac.
With Friday's win, head coach Kevin Epley reached 20 wins for the sixth time in 14 seasons at the helm.
The Gamecocks have posted consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time since winning 28 in 1981-82 followed by 22 in 1982-83. It is the ninth 20-win season in school history and the sixth time Kevin Epley has won at least 20 matches in a season in his 14-year career as a head coach.
Silvia Chinellato, who had missed several weeks of play with a leg injury, earned her first singles victory since Feb. 10 at the ITA Indoor National Championships.
Cline's perfect 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 4 singles marked her second perfect win of the season. Previously, she defeated Charleston Southern's Kimberley Koerner, 6-0, 6-0, on Feb. 24 at the Carolina Tennis Center.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks will advance to the Round 32 to face No. 23 Virginia at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Cavaliers defeated VCU, 4-2, in the first round of tournament play on Friday.