COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s tennis starts its fall season Friday with the Debbie Southern Furman Fall Classic in Greenville, S.C. In addition to the Gamecocks and the host Paladins, 11 other teams will also participate in the tournament.
“We’ve been working very hard. Practice has been very intense and we’re really just getting the opportunity to see some of these kids compete at the college level for the first time,” said head coach Kevin Epley. “We really want to go in there and just show our toughness, show how hard we’ve been working and how deep we can go into points and leave it all out there. I’m just looking forward to having the opportunity to see the young ones play and see where we’re going to stack up this year.”
The Gamecocks will play individual matches against multiple schools throughout the weekend. The possible opponents come from Furman, North Carolina, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Texas, Wake Forest, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Duke, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Clemson.
South Carolina boasts a roster of 11 players, six of whom are returners. Of those returners, four-year starter Megan Davies is using her extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA following the cancellation of the 2020 spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Davies qualified for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships for the first time in her career in the 2020-21 season. Additionally, she finished the season with 81 career wins in doubles, which tied for seventh in program history.
The Gamecocks have five new players on the team this season, including junior transfer Ayana Akli. Akli comes to Carolina after competing at Maryland for two seasons. In the 2020-21 season, she posted a 15-4 singles record and was named to the All-Big Ten Team for the second consecutive year. She was also selected for the NCAA Singles Championship in which she advanced to the second round.
Returners Kendall Couch, Ana Cruz, Allie Gretkowski, Elise Mills, and Lindsay Tulenko alongside newcomers Sarah Hamner, Misa Malkin, Gracie Mulville, and Chloe Narboni will also compete in this weekend’s tournament.