The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecock men's tennis notches first home win over Aggies in program history

Junior Daniel Rodrigues hits a backhand at the Carolina Tennis Center on Sunday, March 20, 2022. The Gamecocks beat the Ole Miss Rebels 6-1.
Junior Daniel Rodrigues hits a backhand at the Carolina Tennis Center on Sunday, March 20, 2022. The Gamecocks beat the Ole Miss Rebels 6-1.

The No. 9 South Carolina men's tennis team extended its home win streak to 18 with a 6-1 victory over No. 21 Texas A&M.

The team celebrated senior night, where it honored fourth-year players Jake Beasley, Raphael Lambling, Beau Pelletier and Daniel Rodrigues. 

Sophomore Connor Thomson discussed how important it was to have the fourth-year’s last home match be a win.

“That was something we talked about was, no matter what, just go out there fight, leave your heart out there and if you’re hurting, just do it for them (the fourth-years)," Thomson said. 

Lambling won his match in three sets (6-1, 3-6, 7-5) over Giulio Perego and No. 2 Rodrigues, who won his match over Texas A&M’s No. 20 Noah Schachter in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2. These wins netted the Gamecocks the first point of the match. 

“We had some good matches at home but I think today was probably our best one in terms of the crowd,” Rodrigues said. “Also because it was the seniors day and I really, really appreciate the crowd that came and I really just have to say thank you for all of them.” 

Rodrigues extended his ranked win streak to 12 and earned his 18th ranked win of the season. Head coach Josh Goffi called him “one of the very best, if not the best player in the country.” 

“I would pick him over anybody else in the country … he’s turning into a professional player,” Goffi said. “He believes in everything he does. He knows exactly what’s going on in the match at all times. He’s able to make adjustments, and that’s why he’s currently (No. 2) in the country.”

However, after the Gamecocks  secured a 3-1 point lead in the match after a straight set win from Story on court 5, the tides began to turn and Texas A&M began applying pressure. 

Sophomores Toby Samuel and Thomson, along with Lambling won their first sets, but all dropped their second with the set points ranging from a close 7-5 in Samuel’s to a harsh 6-1 in Thomson’s.

“When things start slipping, that’s the first thing that pops in your mind is, 'Oh my god, it’s going away,'" Goffi said. “Especially when for the first hour and a half of the singles match, we were in cruise control.”

After securing a 2-0 lead in his third set Thomson, after previously showing a lot of emotion, shouted "enough" before continuing and winning his match, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4. He noted the scores of each game going back and forth when talking on the meaning of his yell. 

“I was gonna tell myself 'enough,'” Thomson said. “'Enough of this, you’re better than that. You’re better than what you’re showing right now … You just got to go out there and fight.'”

Goffi praised the Aggies in helping the team prepare for the coming SEC tournament.

“I actually love today to prepare for the SEC tournament,” Goffi said. “The last few matches have been, sort of, once we get on top of a team, they will tend to go away and we don’t really have to go through the tough stuff … I told our guys when we were tied up and down a break in the thirds and I was like, 'love this moment, because this is what’s going to allow us to go for a championship run.'”

The Gamecocks get their first win against the Aggies at home and improve to 21-5 to finish the regular season. The Gamecocks will be back in action April 20th for the SEC tournament in Athens, Georgia.


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