April 20, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team has drawn the No. 5 seed for this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at the Cary Tennis Center in Cary, N.C., and will play its first-round match at 4 p.m. Thursday against Louisville.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech (15-7, 8-4 ACC), No. 30 in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, has its best conference record since 2011 and finished the regular season in fifth place, just missing a chance for a bye into the quarterfinals last weekend when the Yellow Jackets lost a heart-breaking 4-3 decision at fifth-ranked North Carolina.
Virginia (21-3, 10-1 ACC) drew the top seed after defeating Wake Forest (25-5, 9-2) and Miami over the weekend, while the Demon Deacons have the No. 2 seed. Florida State secured the third seed with a weekend win at Boston College, and North Carolina earned the fourth seed after beating the Yellow Jackets.
Louisville (13-15, 1-10 ACC) and Boston College (2-16, 0-11) began the weekend winless in conference play, securing the bottom two seeds in the conference tournament, and the Cardinals scored a 4-0 win Wednesday afternoon for the right to play Tech. Tech defeated the Cardinals, 5-2, on the road during the regular season..
With a win, the Jackets would again face North Carolina, ranked No. 3 this week, at 4 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals. The semifinals will be played Saturday, with the championship match Sunday.
TECH’S ACC CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has never won an Atlantic Coast Conference championship in men’s tennis, though several Yellow Jackets have individual titles to their credit from an era when individual championships were crowned. Tech has reached the finals four times, two of those under head coach Kenny Thorne in 1999 and 2002. The Jackets also reached the championship match in Thorne’s senior year of 1988 and again in 1994.
SINGLES UPDATE – The Yellow Jackets are led at the top of their lineup by 6-foot-7 sophomore Christopher Eubanks (Atlanta, Ga.), is No. 7 in the ITA rankings this week with an 18-2 dual match record and a 10-1 ACC mark. A top candidate for ACC Player of the Year honors, his only losses have come to players ranked No. 20 and No. 11, both on the road.
Junior Carlos Benito (Madrid, Spain) has won 10 of his last 14 matches playing at the No. 2 position, 7-4 in ACC competition, and is ranked No. 122 nationally after entering the national singles rankings last week. Head coach Kenny Thorne has shuffled players at the other four positions, most recently elevating junior Cole Fiegel (Alachua, Fla.) to the No. 3 position and sophomore Daniel Yun (Marietta, Ga.) to No. 4. The Jackets have been strong at the fifth and sixth positions, where senior Nathan Rakitt (Marietta, Ga.) has won 11 of his last 13 decisions and is 8-2 in ACC matches, and freshman Andrew Li (Hong Kong) is 9-10 this spring.
DOUBLES UPDATE – Tech has won the doubles point in 18 of 22 contests, including eight of the 12 ACC matches. The Yellow Jackets’ No. 1 team of Casey and Michael Kay, ranked No. 33 nationally, knocked off a pair of top-15 teams from Florida State and Notre Dame and are 7-7 this spring. The No. 2 team of Benito and Eubanks is 13-3, with a season-high national ranking of No. 50, and the third team of Rakitt and Li is 11-5.
HEAD COACH Kenny Thorne SAYS – “We’re not going to be able to see [the Boston College/Louisville] match, but we’ve played both of those teams and feel comfortable with what we know about them. Playing the day before is not a bad thing. Boston College or Louisville will already have played a match on the courts. The ACC is so tough, so if you’re not playing with conviction, you’re going to get best, no matter who it is. When you get down here to the end of the season, you’ve got to have all of your guys on board playing with conviction. We’re getting better.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S TENNIS
Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team is in its 18th year under head coach Kenny Thorne. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Championship 15 times. Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Tennis on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_MTEN). For more information on Tech men’s tennis, visit Ramblinwreck.com.