The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: No.7 South Carolina men's tennis battles back after difficult first sets to take down No. 28 Mississippi State

Junior Daniel Rodrigues celebrates after a point. The Gamecocks beat Mississippi State 5-2.
Junior Daniel Rodrigues celebrates after a point. The Gamecocks beat Mississippi State 5-2.

The No. 7 South Carolina men’s tennis team battled back to beat No. 28 Mississippi State at the Carolina Indoor Tennis center Friday night.

The Gamecocks started the match off strong winning the doubles point 2-0. 

No. 30 pair junior Daniel Rodrigues and sophomore Connor Thomson fought a tough match against graduate student Florian Broska and senior Gregor Ramskogler, but were able to continue to dominate as a pair. 

Junior Raphael Lambling and sophomore James Story also won their doubles set 6-2, showing that they too are a powerful duo. 

The singles sets got off to a rocky start as the Gamecocks lost five out of six first sets with junior Jake Beasley being the only winner on Court 6.

The Gamecocks were forced to dig deep and play aggressive second sets to beat the Bulldogs. 

“Right now we're competing really hard,” head coach Josh Goffi said. “Today was another example of that.” 

Beasley started off the night hot, winning his first set 6-2. The match was fast-paced as Beasley won the Gamecocks' first singles point of the night after a 6-4 win in the second set. 

No. 16 Rodrigues faced a closely ranked No. 25 Broska. Rodrigues lost the first set 6-4 and was visibly frustrated going into the next set. He was able to regroup in the second set and win 6-3. He continued his positive momentum and was able to pull out a win in the third set, 6-2, to clinch the match for the Gamecocks.

Thomson, like the rest of the team, was challenged in the first set and was forced to fight back after a first set loss. He played with passion as he won the second set 6-3 and kept the momentum going to win the third set 6-4.

Another closely-ranked match was between No. 86 sophomore Toby Samuel and No. 81 Nemanja Malesevic. Similar to Rodrigues, Samuel fell in the first set 7-6 and was forced to fight back in the second set, winning 7-5. It was a close and even matchup as Malesevic ultimately prevailed winning the third set 6-3. 

The March 18 win was the Gamecocks first at home against the Bulldogs since 2017. The Gamecocks look to continue moving forward as they face yet another SEC opponent on Sunday in the No. 31 Ole Miss.

“We got to get back at it, every time that we put out a good performance,” Goffi said. "It's something that moves us forward in the season and gets us one step closer to our end goal.” 

South Carolina will be back in action at the Carolina Tennis Center on March 20 at noon against the Ole Miss Rebels.


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