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Tigers Grounded By South Carolina, 6-1


March 31, 2006

AUBURN, Ala. - Alex Haney won her fifth consecutive singles match, but it was not enough to propel the Auburn women's tennis team to victory, as No. 34 South Carolina topped the Tigers, 6-1, on Friday at the Luther Young Tennis Complex.

"If we win the doubles point, it changes the whole complextion of the match heading into singles play," head coach Tim Gray said. "We are giving ourselves chances and we are going to get there. South Carolina is a good team that is very seasoned."

Playing in the No. 1 match, Haney was able to earn her fifth straight win, and gave Auburn (5-12, 0-7 Southeastern Conference) its lone point of the match. After taking the first set, 6-4, over No. 68 Gira Schofield, Haney was able to rally from a 5-3 deficit in the second frame to force a tie break after evening the set at six-all. Haney won set, 7-6, and the match with an 8-6 victory in the tie break.

"It was a big win over a very good player," Gray said. "She is playing well and she is doing what we are asking her to do and it is paying off."

For the match, South Carolina (11-5, 4-3 SEC) was able to win five of six singles matches and two of three doubles matches to upend the Tigers.

After playing her last five matches at the No. 1 position, Whitney Chappell was moved to the No. 2 position, where she fell to the Gamecocks' 115th-ranked Natasa Vuckovic, 7-5, 6-0. In the No. 3 match, Ashley Cowart dropped her first set, 6-2, to South Carolina's Christyn Lucas. In the second set, Cowart hung tough and had the set locked at five-all before Lucas won the next two games to give her the match with a 7-5 win in the second set.



In the No. 4 singles match, Tori Almagno was downed by South Carolina's Miranda Gutierrez, 6-0, 6-0. At the No. 5 position, Dzeljan Memisi was defeated by South Carolina's Megan McGavock, 6-1, 6-2. In the No. 6 match, the Gamecocks' Justine Walsh defeated Erin Gray, 6-2, 6-0.

In doubles play, South Carolina was able to take the doubles point by winning two of the three matches. In the No. 1 match, South Carolina's team of Gira Schofield and Megan McGavock defeated the Tigers' duo of Alex Haney and Whitney Chappell, 8-5. Auburn led the majority of the time in th Nos. 2 and 3 matches before the Gamecocks cameback to tie each of the matches at seven. Auburn's tandem of Irina Pljusznyin and Dzeljan Memisi was able to withstand the Gamecocks' charge by winning the No. 3 match, 9-8 (7-4).

With both teams splitting the first two matches, the doubles point rested on the result of the No. 2 match. In the No. 2 match, South Carolina's doubles team of Christyn Lucas and Natasa Vuckovic was able to battle back from an early deficit to knock off Auburn's team of Alex Haney and Tori Almagno, 9-8.

Auburn returns to the courts on Sunday, when the Tigers host No. 7 Florida at 1 p.m.

Women's Collegiate Tennis
South Carolina 6 Auburn 1
March 31, 2006
Auburn, Ala.

1. Alex Haney, AU def. No. 68 Gira Schofield, USC, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).
2. No. 115 Natasa Vuckovic, USC def. Whitney Chappell, AU, 7-5, 6-0.
3. Christyn Lucas, USC def. Ashley Cowart, AU, 6-2, 7-5.
4. Miranda Gutierrez, USC def. Tori Almagno, AU, 6-0, 6-0.
5. Megan McGavock, USC def. Dzeljan Memisi, AU, 6-1, 6-2.
6. Justine Walsh, USC def. Erin Gray, AU, 6-2, 6-0.

1. Gira Schofield/Megan McGavock, USC def. Alex Haney/Whitney Chappell, AU, 8-5.
2. Christyn Lucas/Natasa Vuckovic, USC def. Tori Almagno/Ashley Cowart, AU, 9-8.
3. Irina Pljusznyin/Dzeljan Memisi, AU def. Grace Blakely/Miranda Gutierrez, USC, 9-8.

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