April 21, 2016
Cary, N.C. – Daniel Yun, Christopher Eubanks and Nathan Rakitt earned straight-set wins in singles Thursday as Georgia Tech cruised past Louisville, 4-1, in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at the Cary Tennis Center.
The fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets (16-7) have advanced to face the fourth-seed, North Carolina (24-3, 9-3 ACC), at 3 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinal round. The teams played each other only a week ago, when the homestanding Tar Heels celebrated their Senior Day with a 4-3 victory over the Jackets. Louisville’s season ended at 15-17.
In other first-round action Thursday, No. 8 seed NC State defeated No. 9 Clemson, 4-2, No. 7 Notre Dame downed No. 10 Duke, 4-1, and No.6 Virginia Tech blanked No. 11 Miami, 4-0. Friday’s quarterfinals have the Wolfpack meeting top-seeded Virginia and the Fighting Irish facing No. 2 Wake Forest at noon, while the Hokies tackle No. 3 Florida State at 3 p.m.
Tech grabbed the advantage early by winning the doubles point. Casey and drew first blood with a 6-4 victory over Alex Gornet and George Hedley on court 1, and and secured the point on court 3 with a 6-2 decision over Courtney Lock and Sean Donohue.
The Yellow Jackets kept the pressure on the Cardinals with opening-set victories in four of the six singles matches. Sophomore (Marietta, Ga.) continued his superb play this spring with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Brandon Lancaster on court 4, scoring Tech’s second point. Louisville got on the board at court 2 with Christopher Morin Kougoucheff’s 6-4, 6-4 win over 112th-ranked (Madrid, Spain) to get within 2-1.
Eubanks, a sophomore from Atlanta, needed a first-set tiebreaker but continued his torrid play against the ACC with a 7-6, 6-2 win on court 1 to make it 3-1 Jackets. Rakitt, a senior from Marietta, Ga., got the clinching point for the Yellow Jackets by downing George Hedley, 6-4, 6-2, on court 5.
HEAD COACH SAYS – “We lost the doubles point against them in the regular season, but we did a good job in all three doubles matches today. They played singles much better toward the end of the season than they did against us earlier in the season, and it was a battle today and a lot tougher this time. Our guys have been resilient and fighting solid all year. It was good to see Nathan get the clinching point for us, and for Daniel to be the catalyst and get off the court quickly in singles.
NOTABLE – Tech is in the ACC Championship quarterfinals for the second straight year … Eubanks, ranked No. 7 in the nation and bidding to win ACC Player of the Year honors, improved to 12-1 against ACC foes this spring … Rakitt improved to 9-2 against conference opposition, and Yun is 7-4 … Tech has won the doubles point in 19 of 23 contests, including nine of 13 matches against ACC opponents.
TECH’S ACC CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – Georgia Tech has never won an Atlantic Coast Conference championship in men’s tennis, though several Yellow Jackets have individual titles to their credit from an era when individual championships were crowned. Tech has reached the finals four times, two of those under head coach in 1999 and 2002. The Jackets also reached the championship match in Thorne’s senior year of 1988 and again in 1994.
1. (GT) def. Alex Gornet (UL) 7-6, 6-2
2. C. Morin-Kougoucheff (UL) def. (GT) 6-4, 6-4
3. (GT) vs. Jeffrey Brown (UL) 6-7, 3-4, unfinished
4. (GT) def. Brandon Lancaster (UL) 6-3, 6-2
5. (GT) def. George Hedley (UL) 6-4, 6-2
6. (GT) vs. Sean Donohue (UL) 7-5, 3-2, unfinished
1. Casey Kay/Michael Kay (GT) def. Alex Gornet/George Hedley (UL) 6-4
2. Carlos Benito/Christopher Eubanks (GT) vs. Jeffrey Brown/C. Morin-Kougoucheff (UL) 5-4, unfinished
3. Andrew Li/Nathan Rakitt (GT) def. Sean Donohue/Courtney Lock (UL) 6-2