Feb. 9, 2012
The 13th-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (4-1) will begin its quest for a third ITA National Team Indoor national championship trophy against the fourth-ranked and second-seeded UCLA Bruins (5-0) at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday at the Boar’s Head Club in Charlottesville, Va.
The Yellow Jackets won the prestigious tournament in 2007 – the same year they defeated the Bruins for the NCAA national championship – and in 2008.
“UCLA is one of those programs that has consistently been toward the top,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “They won the national championship in 2008. Obviously, we beat them in 2007, so we have some good memories from playing them. They are a super-deep team. They had the number one recruiting class in the country this past year so they have a lot of young talent to go along with some experience. They are a dangerous team for anyone. They are loaded and will be a true test for us.”
The winner of Friday night’s match will face the winner of No. 12 Northwestern and No. 9 Virginia on Saturday.
The Jackets advanced to the tournament with a 5-2 win over No. 54 Georgia State and a 4-0 shutout of No. 27 South Carolina in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Jan. 27-28 in Atlanta. Tech has been off since defeating No. 51 Princeton 5-2 last Friday on the home courts of the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
“We’ve had a tough schedule up until now compared, and I think it even helps to have lost a match at this point because we know what that feels like,” Shelton said. “Those experiences always help you going into a big match. In the first round match in any tournament, you’re going to have some nerves. Hopefully we’ll have fewer than they do and we’ll be able to play our best. We’ll need to play our best to be successful.”
Two Tech doubles teams sport a clean 7-0 record this year. Jillian O’Neill and Alex Anghelescu are 7-0 and have posted a 5-0 record at the No. 1 spot. Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn are also 7-0 and have gone 4-0 from the second spot in the lineup.
O’Neill is Tech’s highest ranked singles player at No. 45 and is 4-3 on the season. Blau and freshman Jasmine Minor are both 7-0 in singles play.
“All the teams that are there qualified on their own and weren’t given an opportunity to play team indoors,” Shelton added. “The great thing about going up to this tournament is that you know you’re going t to get quality matches. The team that establishes the most momentum early on in the tournament could be the team that ends up holding the trophy at the end of the week. We certainly hope that’s us. It’s one of our goals to go there and win and we’re going to do everything in our power to make that happen.”
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.
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