March 17, 2011
ATLANTA – After taking a two week break from matches, the 20th ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (6-5) will be back in action on Saturday, March 19, when it travels to the Music City to face the No. 16 Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4) in a 1 p.m. match at the Currey Tennis Center on the VU campus in Nashville.
Both sides are coming off a loss in their last outing. Tech fell to then-No. 12 Miami, 4-3, March 5 in Atlanta, while the then eighth ranked Commodores were handed a 5-2 loss by No. 20 Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., March 13.
“This week of practice has been good and we were able to rest a little over the weekend, which the team needed after a really tough week last week,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “We’ve done a good job this week of getting right back after it and preparing for not only Vanderbilt, but for a string of great matches coming up. It’s been good to see them out there working hard with great attitudes. That’s kind of what we’ve been focusing in on, having a great attitude and bringing your best every day.”
“We’ve had some great matches with Vanderbilt in the past,” Shelton added. “They’re a great team, have a great program and are led by good coaches. We’ll have our hands full. They’re a team that we know fairly well. We saw them in the fall when we played at the invitational at UNC and Duke and we got to play some of their players there. There won’t be any big surprises in the matchups. We just have to go out and compete and put our best foot forward every single point.”
The Commodores are led by junior Chelsea Preeg, who boasts a 21-7 record and a 9-1 mark at the No. 3 spot of the lineup. Tech senior Sasha Krupina and junior Caroline Lilley lead the Yellow Jackets with eight wins each this spring. Krupina is 8-5 overall and has a 7-3 record in dual match play, while Lilley is 8-3 overall and 6-2 in duals, playing mostly from the No. 2 spot.
“In order to be successful, we need to battle some adversity; we’re going on the road against a quality team, so you know you’re going to be in battles,” Shelton said. “We want to feel like we’re winning the longer points, winning the tougher games, we’re out-toughing them late in matches, late in points. If we can do that, I think we’ll gain a lot of confidence because we’ve been working hard at getting stronger, both physically and mentally. We have to just keep playing and playing and playing until they tell us the match is over.”
A key to Tech’s success is winning the doubles point to begin the match. This year when the Yellow Jackets land the first strike, they are 6-0, but when the opponent earns the first point, Tech is 0-5.
Vanderbilt’s No. 1 doubles team of Rachael Dillon and Alex Leatu is 15-7 overall, but just 5-6 at the No. 1 spot. Leading the Yellow Jackets in doubles is the pair of Viet Ha Ngo and Jillian O’Neill are 10-3 and 7-1 from the No. 2 spot of the lineup.
“I think doubles is a big part of college tennis,” Shelton said. “You always want to establish some momentum in a match. It’s our first opportunity as we take the court. It’s something we’ve put a lot of work into. We want to go out and play aggressively, play confidently. I think if we do those two things really well and play to win, I think we’ll have a good shot at getting off to a good start in that match.”
Live stats will be available through RamblinWreck.com and fans can follow Tech tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, for instant updates.
— RamblinWreck.com —