Gamecock's Tennis Opens ITA Carolina Regional Thursday
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Six members of the South Carolina men's tennis team will begin play in the ITA Carolina Regional Thursday afternoon at Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. It will be the last competition of the fall for a majority of the team, and the winners at the event earn a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championships.
"This weekend will be the toughest competition we face as a team this fall," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "Duke and North Carolina are dangerous up and down their lineups. Wake Forest and Clemson are strong as well. It will be great going head-to-head against the other larger programs in our region as well as the top players from the other schools in the Carolinas."
The Gamecocks have played sparingly this fall with sophomore Kyle Koch logging the most matches. He is 5-3 on the season after advancing to the finals of his flight at the UTC/Steve Baras Fall Classic and finishing third in the consolation bracket of his draw at the Duke Fab Four Invite. Junior Chip Cox brings a 3-1 record into the weekend, while sophomores Thiago Pinheiro are Andrew Adams are looking for their first wins of the season after dropping their first outings. Senior Harry Menzies and sophomore Ben Barnette will make their season debuts this weekend.
"The fall has been great from a developmental perspective with our players constantly improving the last few months," Goffi said. "The video system we have has already been beneficial in terms of helping us practice efficiently and smartly. More than half the battle in our game is understanding what you need to do to win a match. Fine-tuning the skills needed to execute the plan is the easier part. I feel like most of our guys are getting there in terms of understanding their games because I see it every day in the level of competitions in our intra-squad matches. I'm thrilled to have to a tournament to take them to this week because that is where the true tests happen, where they put into play under pressure what they've been practicing."
The Gamecocks have enjoyed success at the ITA Carolina Regional. Adams won his first two matches last season before withdrawing from the tournament with an injury. He went on to record a team-best 28-10 singles record as a freshman. Cox reached the round of 32 in his first time at the event, dropping a tight match to a top-50 opponent.
The tournament begins with two singles matches on Thursday. The teams will play two doubles matches and one singles round on Friday to set up the crucial weekend matchups.