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Gamecocks Win Tennis on Campus State Championship

November 15, 2013 09:36 AM

By Mario Cuadros

TOC_bw_JPGTeams from around the state of South Carolina gathered in historic Charleston, SC last weekend to compete in the USTA South Carolina Tennis on Campus State Championships.

USTA Tennis on Campus features college students competing nationwide in intramural and intercollegiate club play. The program gives students the opportunity to build leadership skills, network in a coed sports environment and compete on a college team without the rigors of playing in a varsity program.

The tournament hosted teams from USC, Clemson, the College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina. Each college was allowed to bring multiple teams, which brought the total number to 11. USC and Clemson each had three teams, the College of Charleston had four and Coastal Carolina had one.

“Everyone is playing for a team,” said team captain Lauren Armstrong. “During matches, all of your teammates are watching intently and cheering you on after every point, so it really gives each player the fight they need to win.”

The final match was between two long-time rivals, the University of South Carolina and Clemson University. After making it all the way to the final, neither team wanted to go out easily.

A match consists of five no-ad sets and includes men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. Each no-ad set is won by the first team to reach six games. A nine-point tiebreaker is played at 5-5 in any set.

The first set kicked off with team captain Lauren Armstrong teaming up with Lauren Denuel. They shut out the opposing doubles team 6-0, setting the tone for the rest of the matches.

Men’s doubles team Zach Errickson and Aaron Miller found themselves in a battle, but were able to come out on top, winning the set 6-4. In her second match of the championship round, Denuel found herself in a much more closely contested set against Clemson’s Jennifer Anderson. Neither player seemed to be able to pull away and a tiebreaker, which Denuel won, decided the match.

As forehands were being ripped and self-motivating screams of “Come on!” increased with every point, South Carolina had built a commanding 18-5 lead after three sets. With two sets still left to play, the Gamecocks had clinched the championship.

In the fourth set, Paul Reed won 6-4 and in the final set, Kristin Harter teamed up with Chris Indiveri to win 6-4 and complete the sweep.

“We came into the tournament knowing that we could win it all if we played hard and focused on our goal, so actually winning the championship was a huge accomplishment for us,” said Armstrong. “This weekend just proved that we really are a team to watch out for and that all of our hard work has paid off. And of course that fact that we beat Clemson just made it even better!”

By winning the championship, USC was awarded a travel stipend to be used towards traveling expenses for the Southern Section Championships in February of 2014 in Auburn, AL.

“We are all very excited about competing in the Southern Championships,” Armstrong said. “Our main goal this season is to make it to Nationals, so we know we must finish top five in the tournament. We know we can compete with the best, so we have a good chance at doing it.”