The Gamecocks women’s tennis team claimed its first SEC championship after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.
No. 5 South Carolina has not played an SEC tournament finals match since the 2001-02 season.
The Bulldogs were undefeated all season and won the SEC regular season championship.
South Carolina faced a loss in doubles match play as Georgia secured the doubles point.
Instead of focusing on losing the doubles point, the Gamecocks came back during singles match play.
No. 23 Paige Cline gained the first singles point for the Gamecocks by defeating No 19. Marta Gonzalez 6-3, 6-0.
South Carolina led 2-1 after Rachel Rohrabacher defeated No. 96 Meg Kowalski 6-4, 6-2.
After losing a singles point, the Gamecocks returned with a 3-2 lead after No. 84 Mia Horvit defeated No. 64 Lourdes Carle 7-6, 6-3. The Bulldogs tied the match 3-3 after No. 62 Vivian Wolff defeated Megan Davies 7-6, 7-5.
All eyes were on the final singles match between No. 4 Ingrid Gamarra Martins and No. 1 Katarina Jokic.
After playing three sets, Gamarra Martins earned the win for the Gamecocks with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
"We've operated in a next-match philosophy and making sure our consistency is there,” head coach Kevin Epley said in an interview with Gamecocks Online. “We look at the rankings as more of a live tracker of where we are."
The Gamecocks had a successful season because the team prides itself on setting personal goals and team expectations, Horvit said.
"Seeing the rankings and making history is great, but we're not satisfied yet," Horvit said in an interview with Gamecocks Online. "We have bigger goals that we're trying to reach, and that's winning NCAAs as a team.
South Carolina will have a chance to complete its goal in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
The 2019 NCAA Selection Show will air Monday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m.