One Last Volley

May 25, 2007

By Scott MacDonald
Georgia Tech Sports Information

When Georgia Tech tennis standout Alison Silverio stepped foot on campus, the women’s tennis program usually stood in between 40 and 50 in the rankings. Entering her final NCAA Championship, the Yellow Jackets rank third and the only team to defeat No. 1 Stanford this year.

“I remember when I came here the program was ranked like 40th in the country,” said Silverio. “Now we have so much depth and have beaten a ton of good teams.”

Including teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Rambling Wreck has captured three consecutive ACC Championships, including a 4-1 win over Miami this year.

“It was beyond my expectations ever,” said Silverio. “I never thought it would be possible to win one, let alone three.”

Now, the Yellow Jackets have their sights set on a national championship. The past two seasons Tech has made it through to the Sweet 16, but that is simply a stepping stone to what they want to accomplish this year.

“We have played the toughest schedule in the country,” said Silverio. “And we have beaten a lot of the top ranked teams in the country, so we are very confident heading into the NCAA Tournament.”

As well as they should be. The Yellow Jackets stung Stanford in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championship, ending an 89-match win streak by the Cardinal, going on to win the title with a 4-2 win over Notre Dame.

“That gave us a lot of confidence heading into the outdoor season,” said Silverio. “We’ve been playing really well and we are on a pretty big winning streak. Everyone is healthy and ready to get out there and compete.”

Just this week, Silverio’s dreams, along with all the other Yellow Jackets, have been realized. Tech captured its first-ever national championships, upending UCLA, 4-2. Silverio clinched the victory with her win at No. 2 singles.

“It’s been an unbelievable four years,” said Silverio. “I came into this program and we were ranked 42nd, and now we’re No. 1. That’s an unbelievable accomplishment.

“The crowd was unbelievable and the support from my team and coaches – I couldn’t ask for any more from them.”

Along with team accomplishments, Silverio has also had a distinguished career for the Jackets. The Louisville, Ohio, native garnered All-ACC honors for the second time in her career (2005) this season and earned Tournament MVP honors in ’05. She was named as the NCAA Tournament MVP this year and holds the school record for doubles victories, and ranks second in singles wins.

“It’s unbelievable to think about,” said Silverio. “You just go out there and compete the best you can, and everything else takes care of itself.”

On the doubles scene, Silverio has been integral in Tech’s 21-match winning streak. She has picked up 20 doubles wins for the Jackets and she and freshman Amanda Craddock earned a bid to play in the NCAA Doubles Championship.

“It’s a great honor,” said Silverio. “Obviously you have your team goals, but you also have your individual goals. AC (Amanda Craddock) and I started playing together in the middle of the season and we starting beating a lot of the top ranked teams. But we did not know if we would get in, because we did not have as many matches, but we ended up achieving it and I’m very excited.”

Silverio and Craddock fell in the round of 32 match against Northwestern’s Alexis Prousis and Georgia Rose, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

After the season, Silverio plans on getting some work experience before heading to graduate school to earn her MBA. She is the recipient of the ACC Postgraduate Scholarship and hopes to attend Emory University or Georgia Tech.

“I really like Atlanta, so I hope to go to school around here,” said Silverio. “I love Tech, but I want some variety so Emory would be my first choice.”

Whatever the choice, there is little doubt that Silverio will be successful, if her playing career is any indication to what her professional career is going to be like.

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