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Gamecock men's tennis falls to Virginia

South Carolina's historic season comes to an end in Charlottesville as the Cavaliers won this top 10 showdown in the Sweet 16.
Credit: WLTX

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — No. 10 South Carolina men's tennis fell to No. 7 Virginia in the NCAA Super Regionals in Charlottesville, Va., Friday evening in a match repeatedly disrupted by inclement weather.
 
The match was only two serves into doubles when rain forced a stoppage. The brief shower passed and play resumed fairly quickly. On Court 3, sophomore Toby Samuel and freshman Casey Hoole took an early lead but saw their opponent rally late for a 6-4 win, handing the Gamecock duo their first defeat of the season.
 
The nation's No. 18 pair Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson leveled the doubles with a win over No. 61 Bar Botzer and Chris Rodesch. The Gamecock tandem dropped its first service game but earned a series of breaks en route to the 6-3 victory.
 
With doubles evened, the decision came down to Court 2. Raphael Lambling and James Story trailed early and were never able to recover, giving the Cavaliers the 6-4 win to take the doubles point.
 
Play transitioned to singles for about half an hour before a rain shower again forced the match to pause and then move indoors after a 40-minute delay.
 
The Cavaliers picked up wins on Courts 5, 4, and 6, in that order, to clinch the match. Courts 4 and 5 were both closed in straight sets but Hoole battled through three sets on Court 6 in an attempt to hold off the decision. The freshman breezed through his first set 6-2 but struggled after play was moved indoors, giving up his next two sets, both with 6-2 scores.
 
On Courts 2 and 3, No. 82 Samuel and Thomson were both battling third sets against their opponents, who were ranked 39 and 45, respectively. Both were mid-way through their third sets when play was suspended.
 
The match on Court 1 was only mid-way through the second set after having to be moved to a different court due to sand on the playing surface.
 
With the tournament loss, the Gamecocks closed out another solid season, reaching the NCAA Round of 16 for the second-straight-seasson. Their 23-7 overall record included 13 wins over ranked opponents with four of those teams in the top 10. With a 10-2 record in SEC play, South Carolina's second place finish was the program's best since joining the league in 1992.
 
More tennis is ahead for a pair of Gamecocks. No. 1 Rodriuges earned the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Singles Championship, and he will be joined by Thomson as an at-large bid in the Doubles Championships. Play will begin on May 23 and will run through May 28 in Champaign, Ill. Bracket information and match times will be released at a later date.