Friday, March 19, 2004
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Alabama’s No. 1 singles player Stephen Mitchell won his fourth straight match, clinching a 4-3 win for the Crimson Tide over South Carolina on Friday.
Alabama (6-6, 1-2 SEC) notched their first conference win of the year while South Carolina fell to 11-5, 0-3 in the SEC while.
After winning the doubles point for the first time its last seven matches, the Crimson Tide fell into a 3-1 deficit after he gamecocks sprinted ahead in singles play.
“We came out inspired in doubles today,” Alabama head coach Billy Pate said. “We tried three different combinations in doubles and I think our guys responded well in all three matches.”
Mitchell split sets with Marcus Westman and earned an early service-break in the third. Mitchell held serve for the remainder of the match and closed in commanding fashion, hitting three service winners in the final game of the match.
“When the match is on the line Stephen is probably the best guy for us to have out on the court,” Pate said. “It could have been really close in the last set but Stephen served a great game and didn’t let it get away."
Down 3-1, Alabama rallied the troops, starting off with R.J. Murray’s 7-6 (7), 6-3 win over Pedro Rodrigues at No. 5 singles. Carl Wermee then fell to Joseph Jung at No. 3 singles, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0. Mitchell sealed Alabama’s first conference win with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Carolina’s Westman at No. 1 singles.
Alabama travels to Gainesville, Fla. to face the 9th-ranked Gators at 1 p.m. on Sunday to end a streak of seven straight matches away from Tuscaloosa.
Order of Finish: 2, 3
Tom Eklund / Marcus Westman (USC) vs. Mike Green/Stephen Mitchell (UA), 8-8, susp.
Chris Gostek/Eric Molnar (UA) d. Geraldo Knorr / Pedro Rodrigues (USC), 8-5.
R.J. Murray/Joseph Jung (UA) d. Ben Atkinson / Carl Wermee (USC), 8-2
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 2, 5, 3, 1
#60 Stephen Mitchell (UA) d. Marcus Westman (USC), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Tom Eklund (USC) d. Chris Gostek (UA), 7-6 (7), 6-1
Joseph Jung (UA) d. Carl Wermee (USC), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
Geraldo Knorr (USC) d. Eric Molnar (UA), 6-3, 6-3
R.J. Murray (UA) d. Pedro Rodrigues (USC), 7-6 (7), 6-3
Ben Atkinson (USC) d. Mike Green (UA), 6-3, 6-3