Jackets Cruise Through Day One of ITA Qualifying

Oct. 2, 2007

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Whitney McCray, Christy Striplin, Amanda McDowell, Kirsten Flower and Maya Johansson all won two singles matches on the first day of the ITA All-American Qualifying Draw, which is being played at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

The Yellow Jackets swept all 10 singles matches they played Tuesday, and the five players stand just one win away from advancing to the main draw, which also includes five-time All-American Kristi Miller.

“It was quite a day at the Riviera Country Club,” head coach Bryan Shelton said Tuesday night. “For it to be this early (in the season) and for us to be hitting the ball this well is pretty impressive. It really feels like a team event for us, with so many of our players still competing in this tournament. We have a great opportunity tomorrow, and I hope that we can take advantage of it.”

Flower, the No. 2 seed in the qualifying draw, came through with a 7-3 third-set tiebreaker victory over Duke’s Ellah Nze in her opening singles match at the ITA All-American Championships before stopping Southern Cal’s Gabriela Niculescu, 6-0, 6-2, to set up a match against Arkansas’ Aurelija Miseviciute, with the winner advancing to the main draw.

Christy Striplin, the other seeded Yellow Jacket in the ITA Qualifying Draw, dropped Eastern Michigan’s Vanessa Frankowski, 6-1, 6-2 before posting a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Liz Ferris of Utah. The Georgia Tech junior will square off against UCLA’s Yasmin Schnack, the tournament’s No. 5 seed, Wednesday for a chance to advance to the main draw.

Senior Whitney McCray knocked off No. 9-16 seeded Gira Schofield of South Carolina, 6-4, 6-2 before shutting down Michigan’s Chisako Sugiyama, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a round of 16 matchup with Marshall’s Kellie Schmitt. The winner of that match will advance to the main draw of the tournament.

Also earning a pair of straight-set victories on the afternoon was sophomore Amanda McDowell, who blanked Alex Hirsch of Wake Forest, 6-0, 6-0, before stopping Fresno State’s Renata Kucerkova, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. She will face a familiar foe in the round of 16, – Duke’s Reka Zsilinszka – with the winner also moving on to the main draw.

Yellow Jacket freshman Maya Johansson continued her stellar run on the west coast, posting a 6-2, 6-0 win over Pepperdine’s Bianca Dulgheru after advancing to the qualifying draw with three victories in the prequalifying bracket. She moved on to the round of 16 with a 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over No. 9-16 seeded Lauren Macfarlane of Florida State and will face Sacramento State’s Katarina Zheltova Wednesday with the winner moving on to the main draw.

The Oct.4-7 main draw of the ITA All-American Championships is preceded by two sets of qualifying tournaments. The 64-player, 32 doubles team prequalifying tournament was held over the weekend, with eight players and four doubles teams will advance from there to the Oct. 2-3 64-player qualifying tournament at Riviera (where eight players and four doubles teams will advance to the main draw).

The famous Riviera Tennis Club has played host to this event since 1988 (it also hosted an intercollegiate women’s championship from 1986-88).

For more information on the 2007 Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, go to: http://itatennis.com/Riviera07/main.htm.

(R64) No. 9-16 Christy Striplin (GT) def. Vanessa Frankowski (Eastern Michigan), 6-1, 6-2(R32) No. 9-16 Striplin (GT) def. Liz Ferris (Utah), 6-1, 6-4(R16) No. 9-16 Striplin (GT) vs. No. 5 Yasmin Schnack (UCLA)

(R64) Whitney McCray (GT) def. No. 9-16 Gira Schofield (South Carolina), 6-4, 6-2 (R32) McCray (GT) def. Chisako Sugiyama (Michigan), 6-2, 6-2 (R16) McCray (GT) vs. Kellie Schmitt (Marshall)

(R64) Maya Johansson (GT) def. Bianca Dulgheru (Pepperdine), 6-2, 6-0 (R32) Johansson (GT) def. No. 9-16 Lauren Macfarlane (Florida State), 7-6 (2), 6-3 (R16) Johansson (GT) vs. Katarina Zheltova (Sacramento State), Wednesday

(R64) Amanda McDowell (GT) def. Alex Hirsch (Wake Forest), 6-0, 6-0 (R32) McDowell (GT) def. No. 9-16 Renata Kucerkova (Fresno State), 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 (R16) McDowell (GT) vs. Reka Zsilinszka (Duke), Wednesday

(R64) No. 2 Kirsten Flower (GT) def. Ellah Nze (Duke), 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) (R32) No. 2 Flower (GT) def. Gabriela Niculescu (Southern California), 6-0, 6-2 (R16) No. 2 Flower (GT) vs. Aurelija Miseviciute (Arkansas), Wednesday

(R32) Jennifer Migan/Joanne Schickerling (Indiana State) def. Striplin/Noelle Hickey (GT), 9-7

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