April 7, 2011
ATLANTA – There are only two weekends left in the ACC women’s tennis regular season and this upcoming weekend will be critical for the 12th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as Tech heads to the State of North Carolina to face No. 3 North Carolina at noon Saturday and No. 4 Duke at noon Sunday.
The Yellow Jackets are currently fifth in the ACC standings while Duke holds the top spot and UNC is second.
“I feel like this week, with preparing for our matches, it’s similar to the other weeks and the other opportunities we’ve had, but we know there is a little more excitement going up against No. 3 and No. 4 in the country,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “We always have great matches with these two teams.
“These are two high quality teams,” Shelton added. “North Carolina I think they are just a gritty team. They have won a lot of close matches this year, and that tells you a lot about their team. We’re going to have to go out and be ready to play, ready to compete. The team that is most disciplined and stays with it the longest will be the team that is going to come out on top. I believe in our team, I believe we can rise to the occasion, I believe we can come out with a really successful weekend.”
North Carolina leads the all-time series with Georgia Tech 25-9, but the Jackets have won eight of the last 10 meetings with the Tar Heels, including last year’s 4-3 win over No. 1 ranked UNC in the ACC Tournament championship match. Tech has not fared well against Duke historically, but has won three of the last five meetings with the Blue Devils. The Jackets won the last meeting against Duke, 4-3, last season in Atlanta, exactly one year ago to the day of this weekend’s upcoming match.
“We know what it’s all about,” Shelton said. “Last year at this time, UNC was No. 2, this year, they’re No. 3. Duke was in the top 10 last year at this time as well. We’re used to that. Last year we split this weekend. We beat Duke but lost to North Carolina. But we were able to turn that around a week later and beat North Carolina in the finals of the ACC Tournament. We’ve got good memories. And they know us very well and they know what to expect. We know that rankings won’t be discussed during the match. It’s more about styles and matching up and playing good tennis.”
The Yellow Jackets have won five of their last six matches and are coming off a 7-0 sweep of No. 39 Boston College on Sunday in Atlanta.
“Every win builds your confidence,” Shelton said. “I wish confidence came from working hard, but unfortunately a lot of times you need to win to build confidence. Winning that last match gives us a good feeling for sure. There are no easy matches, we say that every week. Beating a good Boston College team the way we did on Sunday certainly helps.”
The Tar Heels and Blue Devils squared off on Wednesday in Chapel Hill with Duke coming away with a 4-3 win. The win moved Duke to 18-2 overall and 7-0 in the ACC while UNC dropped to 18-4 in all matches and 7-1 in league play.
“It’s ACC tennis,” Shelton continued. “It’s always tough to win in the ACC. If you look at our record over the last six or seven years, we’ve found a way to win a lot. We’ll go out there and prepare really well, we’ll make up some good game plans, and we’ll go out and compete like it’s the last match of the year.
“It’s supposed to be great weather. I hope we get a lot of fans up there to create some excitement because I think it’s going to be great tennis.”
As always, fans are encouraged to follow Tech tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, for instant updates.
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