Gamecock Women's Tennis Reaches NCAA Second Round
The 14th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team advanced to the second round of NCAA Tournament play Friday with a 4-0 victory over North Florida at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. Carolina improved to 19-8 on the season, while the Ospreys finished the season with a 15-9 slate.
The Gamecocks move on to host No. 22 Texas (14-8) in the second round Saturday at 1 p.m. after the Longhorns came back to defeat No. 33 Wake Forest (18-11) by a 4-3 margin in the day’s first match. Saturday’s match could be moved to an earlier time due to anticipated inclement weather. Check @GamecockWTennis on Twitter for the latest information.
South Carolina coasted through doubles competition versus the Ospreys, picking up wins at the Nos. 1 and 3 spots for a 1-0 lead heading to singles. The No. 25 combo of Hadley Berg and Paige Cline struck first at one with a 6-1 triumph over Luise Intert and Quetzali Vazquez. Caroline Dailey and Rachel Rohrabacher provided the clincher at three by a 6-3 count over Rafaela Gomez and Lucia Montano.
At three doubles, South Carolina’s Brigit Folland and Ingrid Gamarra Martins held a 5-3 advantage against Kinga Gartner and Michelle Valdez when play was suspended.
Folland and Berg got out to hot starts in singles play with Berg winning her first set 6-0 over Intert at No. 6 singles, while Folland surrendered just one game to Gartner in the first at the five spot. The Gamecocks, though, were either tied or trailed by a game in the remaining four matches when Berg and Folland sprinted into the second frames.
Cline eventually moved ahead of Irina Karangozishvili on court three by a 5-2 margin before closing out the set 6-3. Next, 47th-rated Mia Horvit held off Gomez 7-5 at two singles to give the Gamecocks control of the match.
Berg finished just ahead of Folland with a 6-0, 6-1 victory, while Folland finalized her score at 6-1, 6-1. For Berg, it marked her 20th win of the spring, moving her record to an impressive 20-2. Berg is the first Gamecock since Ana Marija Zubori in 2009 to win 20 dual matches in a season. Folland upped her dual match record to 18-2 and 13-1 at the No. 6 spot.
With a 3-0 advantage, the Gamecocks had first-set wins on all remaining courts except No. 4. Horvit, the highest ranked Gamecock at No. 47, held on for a 7-5 win at No. 2 singles against Gomez and sprinted through her second set to earn a 7-5, 6-1 victory that propelled South Carolina into Saturday’s showdown with Texas.
Play was suspended on courts one, three and four following Horvit’s win. Martins won her first set at No. 1 against Michelle Valdez 7-5 and the two were knotted up a 3-all in the second. Cline registered a 6-3 win in the first against Karangozishvili but trailed 5-4 in the second. At four, Silvia Chinellato lost the first set to Vazquez 7-5 but recovered with a 6-0 win in the second. Their third set had just gotten underway when play stopped.
South Carolina’s 19 wins this season ties last year’s squad for the most victories since 1995. The Gamecocks will look to achieve their first 20-win season since the 1995 squad finished with a 22-7 record that included an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.
Now making their 27th appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s 36-year history, the Gamecocks have won at least one match in their past 23 postseason bids. Head coach Kevin Epley has taken South Carolina to the second round of NCAAs in four straight seasons as well.
#14 South Carolina def. North Florida, 4-0
1. #49 Ingrid Gamarra Martins (SC) vs. Michelle Valdez (UNF) 7-5, 3-3 susp.
2. #47 Mia Horvit (SC) def. Rafaela Gomez (UNF) 7-5, 6-1 3. Paige Cline (SC) vs. Irina Karangozishvili (UNF) 6-3, 4-5 susp.
4. Silvia Chinellato (SC) vs. Quetzali Vazquez (UNF) 5-7, 6-0 susp.
5. Hadley Berg (SC) def. Luise Intert (UNF) 6-0, 6-1 6. Brigit Folland (SC) def. Kinga Gartner (UNF) 6-1, 6-1
Order of Finish: 5, 6, 2
1. #25 Berg/Cline (SC) def. Intert/Vazquez (UNF) 6-1 2. Brigit Folland/Martins (SC) vs. Gartner/Valdez (UNF) 5-3 susp.
3. Dailey/Rachel Rohrabacher (SC) vs. Gomez/Lucia Montano (UNF) 6-3