Men’s Tennis Heads Outdoors Saturday Morning | News
No. 47 South Carolina men’s tennis looks to play its first outdoor match of the season on Sat., Feb. 2, when the Gamecocks (4-2) host No. 65 Georgia Tech at Carolina Tennis Center at 11 a.m. in the first half of a doubleheader. The Gamecocks will face off against Wofford for the second half of the doubleheader, which will be played at the USC Field House.
South Carolina started off the spring by sweeping both of its home doubleheaders and then suffered two losses at ITA Kickoff Weekend in Lexington, Ky., last weekend. In the first six outings of the season, the Gamecocks have proved to be a powerful force in doubles action, successfully securing the first point in each match. Juniors Tsvetan Mihov and Chip Cox are currently undefeated (4-0) at No. 1 doubles, and the duo of Harry Menzies and Kyle Koch hold a 4-1 record in the No. 2 spot. In singles action, Mihov and Cox both hold 4-2 records, and Menzies is off to a crisp 4-0 start.
“We’re ready to bounce back after last weekend,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “We had a couple of tough losses to good teams, but we learned a lot from them. Each of the guys saw things about himself that he needs to work on for us to be successful this season. It’s always better to learn those lessons at the beginning of the season, and we’ve had a great week of practice getting better individually and as a team.”
No. 65 Georgia Tech is 2-2 after sweeping its season opening doubleheader, defeating Old Dominion and Lipscomb 5-2 and 4-3, respectively, and then falling 4-3 to then-No. 69 Fresno State and 4-0 to San Diego State at ITA Kickoff Weekend. All six players from last year’s roster return, including the duo of Vikram Hundal and Juan Spir, who are ranked No. 3 in the nation in doubles. Spir is also ranked No. 32 in singles after the senior finished last season with a 17-12 overall record and was named All-ACC.
“We’re looking forward to playing Georgia Tech, and I know they’re looking forward to facing us again after we took a young team down there and beat them on their home turf last year,” South Carolina assistant coach Matt Lucas said. “The top of their lineup has one of the best players in college tennis in Spir. It should be a tough match for Tsvetan [Mihov], but he’s excited. He knows what it’s like to play No. 1 against the top teams now. It will also be battle of Southern junior tennis. A lot of our players know players on their team, so it will be good for them to realize how much they’ve improved by battling against guys they grew up playing against.”
Wofford started off the spring 0-2 after getting swept 7-0 by then-No. 18 North Carolina and falling 5-2 to Winthrop. The Terriers finished last season with a 6-12 overall record and were 5-5 in the Southern Conference. Eight players return from last season’s team, and the Terriers added four freshmen to bolster their roster. The Terriers’ arrival Saturday marks the return of former Gamecock Henry Walker, currently a Wofford assistant coach. Walker played for the Gamecocks from 2009 to 2012 and was named a captain his senior season.
“It’s always nice to have Coach [Rod] Ray come down with Wofford on the back of this doubleheader,” Lucas said. “It will be extra special having former Gamecock Henry Walker who has joined their coaching staff this year. I’m sure he’s instilling some hard SEC work into those guys.”
The Gamecocks are back in action next weekend, hosting No. 49 Wake Forest on Fri., Feb. 8, at 4 p.m. and No. 35 NC State on Sun., Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. Weather will determine whether the matches will be played outdoors at Carolina Tennis Center or indoors at the USC Field House.