Men’s Tennis Hosts Doubleheader Saturday | News
No. 39 South Carolina continues its spring season with a second doubleheader, taking on Furman and Appalachian State on Sat., Jan. 19, at the USC Field House. The Gamecocks will face off against the Paladins at 10 a.m. and will return at 4 p.m. to take on the Mountaineers. Admission to all tennis matches is free.
The Gamecocks got off to a strong start, winning both matches of the season-opening doubleheader last Saturday, defeating Charlotte and Presbyterian, 6-1 and 4-0, respectively. Junior Chip Cox had a powerful showing, losing only six games across four sets at No. 2 singles and providing the first singles point for the Gamecocks in each match. In his first appearance for the Garnet and Black, junior Tsvetan Mihov won both his matches at No. 1 singles and combined with Cox for an 8-1 doubles victory over the Blue Hose. Thiago Pinheiro and Kyle Koch each had a singles win on the day, with Pinheiro clinching the team’s victory against Charlotte and Koch closing out the Presbyterian match.
Head coach Josh Goffi was impressed with his team last Saturday, “We’ve been focusing on ourselves, our fundamentals, and trying to get all the kinks worked out,” he says, “I was actually pretty surprised by the way our guys came out and did so well in those areas. We’re a little thin with Andrew [Adams] out, but the guys that were in the lineup really stepped up.”
Furman started off the spring season with a 1-2 record after a doubleheader in Tallahassee, Fla., and a match against Clemson. The Paladins opened with a 6-1 victory over Florida A&M and then fell 7-0 to No. 32 Florida State in the second match. The Paladins then traveled to Clemson, S.C., Wednesday night where they were swept by the Tigers 7-0. Furman returns 10 players from last year’s team that finished with a 9-15-1 overall record and went 5-1 in conference play. Senior Andrew Mellow finished 13-10 overall and 6-4 in the Southern Conference, earning him a spot on the 2012 All-SoCon first team for singles.
Appalachian State finished 15-7-1 overall and 7-2-1 in SoCon last year and returns seven players this spring, including senior Steve Karendal, who led the team in singles wins with 17. The Mountaineers lost their top three players from last season, including a pair of all-conference performers. This season, they will look to a roster of four freshmen to help will the void.
“Both these teams are coached by very good coaches and are getting better every year,” Goffi said. “We’re approaching these matches the same way we would SEC teams and the very best teams. We’ve been focusing on getting fundamentals down this week, and we’re going to bring those to battle on Saturday.”
The Gamecocks travel to Lexington, Ky., for ITA Kickoff Weekend Jan. 25-26 and will return to action in Columbia, Sat. Feb. 2, for another doubleheader at the USC Field House, which is located at the corner of Whaley and South Marion Streets.