May 10, 2013
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech women’s tennis team is set to face the Yale Bulldogs in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla.
It is the 14th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Yellow Jackets, who enter with a 14-9 overall record and ranked No. 23. Yale is 17-3, ranked No. 35 and coming off an Ivy League title. Georgia Tech hasn’t played since a 4-1 loss to 10th-ranked and eventual champion Miami on April 26 in the ACC Tournament while Yale hasn’t played since a 6-1 win at Brown on April 27.
“I think it was good for us to have a bit of a break,” head coach Rodney Harmon said. “We played well against Maryland at the ACC Tournament and came out against a very hot Miami team, who ended up winning the ACC title. We’ve had some time for the girls to finish their exams, take a little break and get back to playing. I think we’re playing well. Yale is going to be a big challenge for us on Saturday so we’re going to have to come out and compete. Hopefully be able to do all the things we’ve been working on in practice against Yale. They have a team that is very scrappy, they are a counterpunching team and we’re an attacking team so it’s an interesting matchup. It should be some pretty warm weather down in Gainesville and we’re in great shape thanks to Scott McDonald, our strength and conditioning coach. We’re focused on this match against Yale and doing the things we need to do to be successful.”
One of the things Harmon said his team needs to do is bring the focus and energy from the start, and begin doubles play strong. Tech is led by the freshman pair of Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard who are 23-5 overall and 19-2 in dual matches this spring. Kurey and Woodard are ranked No. 60 in the latest ITA Division I Tennis Rankings. The Bulldogs do not have a ranked doubles pair.
“A lot is going to be told when you start, the start is the key,” Harmon said. “So we need to win the doubles and to do that we need to play clean. If we do, it’ll carry the momentum to our side. In singles, we’ve been competitive with some of the best teams in the country when you look at our schedule. If we’re able to play up to our potential in singles, it should definitely be a competitive match and we have a reasonably good chance to be successful, but they’re a good team. I think doubles will tell a lot. Our No. 1 doubles team needs to come out and play as good as they can because the rest of the team feeds off them.”
In singles, Tech is led by senior Elizabeth Kilborn who enters the NCAA Tournament with 82 career singles wins, which ranks 11th all-time at Georgia Tech. Kilborn, the only senior and captain of the Jackets, is ranked No. 98. The Marietta, Ga., native has knocked off five ranked foes this spring.
Woodard is the highest ranked Yellow Jacket at No. 88 and has a team-best 23 singles wins this year, including five of her own against ranked players. Woodard also enters the NCAA Tournament hot as she has won her last nine matches.
Yale has two ranked singles players, No. 75 Elizabeth Epstein and No. 112 Blair Seideman.
The winner of Saturday’s first round match will take on either Marist or No. 1 Florida at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 12.
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.