March 14, 2013
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech women’s tennis team will host Notre Dame at 12 p.m. Saturday in a rematch from the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 25 entering the weekend and have won three of their last four matches. The Irish, ranked No. 19, defeated the Jackets 4-3 on Jan. 26 in Lincoln, Neb.
“They have an excellent team and have a lot of balance throughout their lineup,” head coach Rodney Harmon said of the Irish. “I think the strength of their lineup is the middle and they have good players at the top as well. They play good doubles and are very well coached. We’ll have to play at the same level and with the same intensity as we did against FSU. If we do, it should be a very competitive match.”
Georgia Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead and led 3-1 over the Irish in January. Yellow Jacket senior Elizabeth Kilborn tallied a 6-3, 7-6 win over Britney Sanders for her fourth win over a ranked opponent this year. Kilborn, currently ranked No. 69, has played No. 1 all season for the Jackets and clinched the comeback win over Florida State with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over the Noles’ 37th-ranked Daneika Dorthwick last Sunday.
“To have such a great battle against FSU, to be so competitive, we realize the effort it takes to play great matches but we also realize we have the ability to do that,” Harmon said. “It’s imperative that we come out ready to play because Notre Dame is going to be ready to play. They have an excellent team. We had a great match against them in Nebraska; we lost 4-3 and it came down to the last match. They were just tougher than us at that stage but hopefully we can turn it around on Saturday.”
Freshman Kendal Woodard is ranked No. 112 this week and boasts a team-best 14 singles wins this year. Classmate Natasha Prokhnevska, playing from the No. 2 spot of the lineup for the first time, earned a decisive 6-1, 6-4 win over FSU’s Mia Vriens on Sunday.
Woodard and fellow freshman Megan Kurey have become Tech’s No. 1 doubles team. The duo boasts a 14-4 overall mark this year and a 10-1 record in dual match play. The Tech pair earned their first national ranking this week at No. 79.
“Liz won against Miami and FSU in singles and she is playing some great tennis,” Harmon said. “She is doing a great job for us. Megan and Kendal are doing a great job for us at No. 1. Even the matches they’ve lost have been close. They’ve also played very well against some really established teams. We’re just looking for more production from our other doubles teams and some from the bottom of our singles lineup. If we can get it there, we’ve been pretty good at the top and middle, we just need some production from the bottom. They are working hard and are ready to play.”
Saturday’s match, which is free to the public, is expected to be the first women’s match played outdoors at the new Ken Byers Tennis Complex as the afternoon forecast calls for temps to be in the low 70s.
“It’ll be nice to be outside in the sunshine,” Harmon added. “We have a number of matches at home outside this spring so we really need to be outside and getting adjusted to those conditions. Our new home here is so pretty and its great out there, we just want to spend as much time out there as we can.”
Fans are encouraged to follow Georgia Tech women’s tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, and like the Yellow Jackets on Facebook, GTWomensTennis, for an inside look at the program.