Auburn Outlasts South Carolina, 4-3, for First SEC Road Win
April 1, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 15 Auburn got back on the winning track Sunday afternoon, earning its first SEC road victory of the season with a 4-3 win over No. 40 South Carolina at the Carolina Tennis Center.
Auburn (15-6, 4-4 SEC) battled back after dropping the doubles point and outlasted an incredibly tough fight from the Gamecocks (14-8, 1-7 SEC) who were playing with a bit of added emotion on their Senior Day.
"It was tough, we knew it would be," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "I thought we competed hard today, and even though we lost the doubles point, we felt like we were going to battle today and find a way to win this match. I'm proud of the guys for staying together and fighting through some adversity to win the match. South Carolina is a good young team and they're getting better."
For the first time in conference play and just the third time this year, Auburn earned a victory in the match despite dropping the doubles point. South Carolina took an early 1-0 lead by sweeping the three doubles matches. Auburn's Daniel Cochrane and Lukas Ollert fell first, dropping an 8-5 decision to Carolina's Kyle Koch and Carl Eguez, and the Gamecocks clinched the point as Ivan Machado and Thiago Pinheiro downed Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso, 8-6. The 16th-ranked Auburn team of Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies came up short in a tough battle against 47th-ranked Chip Cox and Nick Jones at the No. 1 doubles spot, falling 9-8 (7-4).
The Gamecocks made it 2-0 in their favor as Koch defeated Michael Wardell at the No. 6 singles spot, 6-0, 6-1. But Auburn would find its way onto the scoreboard when Lopasso earned a 6-4, 6-1 win over Cox at the fifth singles position.
Stamchev, ranked 77th in the country, got back in the win column with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Jones at the No. 2 position to knot the match at two apiece. But Carolina would ease back ahead as Andrew Adams defeated Cochrane at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-2.
From there, Auburn would find a way to get the win. Mies, the nation's 27th-ranked singles player, held off a tough fight from 121st-ranked Machado at the No. 1 singles spot, pulling out a 6-3, 7-5 win after trailing 5-3 in the second set. And Ollert put the finishing touches on the Tigers' win with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Pinheiro at No. 4 singles.
"I thought Lukas Ollert hadn't really played well in the last four or five matches, but he came out today and did a very good job for us in singles," Shore said. "I was proud of him, and I was proud of Lucas Lopasso. He lost a tough doubles match but then battled back and did a good job for us in singles. And Andy Mies, who's lost some tough matches here recently, battled back from 3-5 down to win 7-5. He showed a lot of heart today."
Auburn will play its final three regular-season matches in the state of Alabama. The Tigers will play host to No. 16 Tennessee at 5 p.m. Friday before welcoming No. 3 Georgia at 1 p.m. Easter Sunday for Senior Day. Auburn then closes out its regular season at Alabama on March 14. Admission is free to all Auburn home tennis matches.
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