Lady'Backs upset No. 34 Gamecocks

Columbia, S.C. – After being down 3-1 with only three singles matches left on court, the University of Arkansas women’s tennis team collected its first Southeastern Conference win of the season Sunday afternoon with an upset win in Columbia over the 34th ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Lady Razorbacks (5-8, 1-5) began the turn around over the Gamecocks (10-5, 3-3) with a win on court one by No. 23 Aurelija Miseviciute. Miseviciute collected her 10th win of the spring with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 68 ranked Gira Schofield of South Carolina. The Klaipeda, Lithuania, native is 5-2 in her last seven singles matches.

Senior Melissa Cornett evened the dual match score on court six with a thrilling three-set win over S.C.’s Grace Blakely. Cornett won the first set, 6-3, but came up short in the second, 4-6. The four-year Arkansas senior kept the Lady’Backs alive in the match with 6-1 win in the third set to tie the dual match score at three apiece.

As Cornett sealed the victory on court six, sophomore Maryori Franco was tied 2-2 in the third set on court four against South Carolina’s Megan McGavock. From there, Franco went on a tear, taking the next four games to give herself, and Arkansas, the victory.

“I think the best part about the end of the match was that Melissa and Maryori played some of their best tennis towards the end of the match when it really counted,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty.

The Lady’Backs began the match by winning a doubles point clinched by Franco and senior Karina Ledaja on court two over Christyn Lucas and Natasa Vuckovic, 8-6.

Miseviciute and freshman Ela Kaluder captured the other half of the doubles win over S.C.’s Schofield and McGavock, 8-4.

“We really played hard today,” Hegarty said. “I’ve felt we deserved more success against the Eastern Division than we had so far.

“This victory will springboard our efforts as we begin our Western Division matches.”

The win marks the Lady’Back’s first win over South Carolina since the 1998-99 season when Arkansas defeated the then No. 15 Gamecocks in Fayetteville, 5-4. The Lady Razorback haven’t defeated South Carolina in Columbia since the 1997-98 over a No. 19 ranked Gamecock team.

Moreover, the win over South Carolina marks the biggest upset by a Lady Razorback team since the 2000-01 season when the Lady’Backs defeated the 36th rankes Miami Hurricane at the NCAA Regional Tournament in Gainesville, Fla.

Last season against the South Carolina, the Lady’Backs lost to the Gamecocks at the SEC Tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala., 4-1, in a match that was delayed almost six hours due to thunderstorms in the area. In the regular season match against S.C. last season, the Lady’Backs captured the doubles point, but couldn’t make ends meet in singles in a 6-1 loss at home.

The Lady’Backs are back on the court and at home this Friday, Mar. 31, against Mississippi State at 3 p.m. From there, Arkansas heads to Oxford, Miss., for a 1:00 p.m. meeting with Ole Miss. For more information on Arkansas tennis or any other Lady Razorback sport, please visit LADYBACKS.COM.

Tennis Match Results

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center

Columbia, South Carolina

Singles Competition

1. Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) def. Gira Schofeld (SC) 6-3, 6-3

2. Natasa Vucovic (SC) def. Vlatka Jovanovic (UA) 6-2, 6-2

3. Christyn Lucas (SC)def. Ela Kaluder (UA) 6-4, 6-4

4. Maryori Franco (UA) def. Megan McGavock (SC) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2*

5. Miranda Gutierrez (SC) def. Karina Ledaja (UA) 6-4, 6-4

6. Melissa Cornett (UA) def. Grace Blakely (SC) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1

Doubles Competition

1. Ela Kaluder/Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) def. Gira Schofield/Megan McGavock (SC) 8-4

2. Karina Ledaja/Maryori Franco (UA) def. Christyn Lucas/Natasa Vucovic (SC) 8-6*

3. Miranda Gutierrez/Laura Ganzer (SC) def. Melissa Cornett/Audrey Bordeleau (UA) 8-3

*- Clinched Match/Point