May 13, 2016
Los Angeles, Calif. – Christopher Eubanks, Michael Kay, Nathan Rakitt and Daniel Yun rolled to victories in singles Friday as No. 32 Georgia Tech defeated UC Santa Barbara, 4-1, in the opening round of the NCAA regional at Marks Stadium on the University of Southern California campus.
Tech (17-8) moved on to face the winner of Friday’s later match between host USC (15-6) and Mountain West conference champion UNLV (15-9) at 4 p.m. ET Saturday. The winner of that match will advance to the NCAA Championship round of 16, which begins May 19 in Tulsa, Okla.
The Yellow Jackets fell behind by dropping the doubles point, but 7th-ranked Eubanks and Kay quickly re-claimed the momentum for Tech with straight-set victories on courts 1 and 6. Eubanks downed Nathan Eshmade, 6-2, 6-3, for the Jackets’ first point, and Kay defeated Teague Hamilton, 6-3, 7-5, to put Tech in the lead.
Rakitt earned a 6-4, 6-4 win over Cody Rakela to make it 3-1 in favor of the Yellow Jackets, and Yun finished off the match with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Anders Holm on court 4.
Tech earned Friday’s victory just as it lost its opening round match in last year’s NCAA regional in Oxford, Miss. The Yellow Jackets won the doubles point against Columbia but failed to earn a singles point in a 4-1 loss. Friday, Carlos Benito and Eubanks won their match at No. 2, 6-4, over Holm and Nicolas Moreno de Alboran on court 2, but the Gauchos were able to get victories at No. 1 against Michael and Casey Kay and on court 3 against Rakitt and Andrew Li. It was only the seventh time in 25 matches this spring that the Jackets have dropped the doubles point.
HEAD COACH Kenny Thorne SAYS – “We got out played for about an hour and a half. I’m not sure if it was because we haven’t played in a while and still had exams on the brain. Credit UCSB, who has a talented team, for starting very strong. The character of our team surfaced and we fought back strong. Chris, Mike and Nathan did a great job of capturing the momentum with straight-set wins. We settled in nicely as a team and played with poise down the stretch. Carlos and Daniel fought back from first-set losses. Cole also was in a good position in his second set after losing the first. Daniel clinched it for us, so all that matters is we move on to the next round. We’re looking forward to a strong start tomorrow and the opportunity to advance.”
NOTABLE – Eubanks improved to 20-2 in dual matches this spring, 33-6 overall. He is the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Singles Champi0nship, which begins May 25 in Tulsa … Rakitt improved to 14-5 in dual matches this spring and is now 4-3 playing in the No. 5 position … Yun won his first career NCAA Championship match and improved to 9-6 in dual matches this spring … Benito and Eubanks are 15-4 as a doubles team this spring.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION – All 16 NCAA regional tournaments will take place this weekend, with the survivor or each moving on to the NCAA Championship site. The 64-team field includes 31 automatic qualifiers as conference champions and 33 at-large teams. Virginia is the No. 1 overall seed and one of the 16 hosts along with (in order of national seed) North Carolina, UCLA, TCU, Ohio State, Wake Forest, Georgia, Texas Tech, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, California, Northwestern, Illinois and Oklahoma State.
TECH NCAA HISTORY – Georgia Tech is in the NCAA Championship field for the 12th time under head coach Kenny Thorne and the 16th time in program history. Tech is the field for the second straight year, having been eliminated in the opening round last year by Columbia in Oxford, Miss. Under the current format of the championship, Tech has made it to the round of 16 at the championship site only once, in 2011. The Jackets’ deepest run in the NCAAs came in 1994, when Tech won three matches before being eliminated. Tech is 10-15 all-time in NCAA Championship competition.
#32 Georgia Tech 4, #44 UC Santa Barbara 1
NCAA Championships – First Round
May 13, 2016 – Marks Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
(1) #78 Eshmade/Seemann (UCSB) def. #38 Kay/Kay (GT) – 6-2
(2) #37 Eubanks/Benito (GT) def. Alboran/Holm (UCSB) – 6-4
(3) Mays/Riminton (UCSB) def. Rakitt/Li (GT) – 7-5
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
UCSB wins doubles point
(1) #7 Christopher Eubanks (GT) def. Nathan Eshmade (UCSB) – 6-2, 6-3
(2) #113 Carlos Benito (GT) vs. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) – 0-6, 6-3, 5-4 unfinished
(3) Cole Fiegel (GT) vs. Morgan Mays (UCSB) – 6-7 (5), 4-2 unfinished
(4) Daniel Yun (GT) def. Anders Holm (UCSB)– 3-6, 6-1, 6-2*
(5) Nathan Rakitt (GT) def. Cody Rakela (UCSB) – 6-4, 6-4
(6) Michael Kay (GT) def. Teague Hamilton (UCSB) – 6-3, 7-5
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 5, 4*