May 1, 2012
ATLANTA – The 24th-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis (14-11) team will face the No. 37 Oklahoma State Cowgirls (11-9) in an NCAA Championship first round match May 11 to be played at the Baumgardner Tennis Facility on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
This will be the 13th time overall and 13th time consecutively the Yellow Jackets have gone to the NCAA Championships.
“We’re extremely excited about going back to the NCAA Championships,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “We feel like we built some momentum at the ACC Championships and are playing our best tennis of the year at the right time. We were fortunate this year that our team took care of business in the classroom throughout the semester so finals week hasn’t been as tough as usual. We’ve had some great practices this week and our goal is to continue to get better and better in the next 10 days.”
This will be the first time the Yellow Jackets and Cowgirls have faced each other in dual match play, but not the first time the two programs have seen each other this season. Oklahoma State traveled to Atlanta in the fall for singles and doubles matches in the Georgia Tech Invitational. The Cowgirls also came to the 2010 Georgia Tech Invitational.
The Yellow Jackets went a perfect 6-0 in singles play and 3-0 in doubles play against the Cowgirls in this year’s tournament.
“Oklahoma State is a very good team that is playing very well right now, including a win over Texas who won the Big 12,” Shelton said. “We saw them in the fall so we’re certainly familiar with them, which helps us prepare for the tournament. However, they’re equally familiar with us, and just like we’ve gotten better since then, so have they. They’re a very well coached team and it will be a challenge.”
A win over Oklahoma State would set up a second round match against either Army (22-6) or the host and eighth-seeded Crimson Tide (ranked No. 9 and 17-4) May 12. The Black Knights, who are making their eighth straight trip and 12th overall appearance in the NCAA Championships, have never played the Yellow Jackets in a dual. Alabama earned its 11th berth in the NCAA Championships and ninth under head coach Jenny Mainz. The Tide holds an 8-6 all-time edge over the Yellow Jackets but Tech has won four of the last five meetings, the last being in 2006.
“I’m happy that we get to stay fairly close to home to compete,” Shelton said. “Knowing that we can get anywhere fairly easy in Atlanta, we weren’t completely sure where the NCAA would send us. It certainly makes it easier logistically to travel to Alabama.
“We know it won’t be an easy trip competitively,” Shelton added. “Alabama is a great team and Jenny [Mainz] is an excellent coach. We’re going to have to be at our best for two days if we want to advance past the second round.”
The winner of each of the 16 first and second round sites will advance to the University of Georgia for the final four rounds of the 2012 NCAA Championships, May 17-22.
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.
— RamblinWreck.com —