March 23, 2016
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech looks to extend its best Atlantic Coast Conference start in five years this week when the Yellow Jackets visit 20th-ranked Florida State Thursday evening, then return home to host No. 46 Notre Dame Sunday afternoon at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
THE SCENE – Tech’s match at Florida State will be streamed live on the ESPN3 platform, part of a nationwide series spotlighting college tennis sponsored by the United States Tennis Association called College Match Day. Tech and FSU are part of a five-match series of men’s college matches to be streamed on the digital network.
Admission is free to Sunday’s match against Notre Dame, and parking is available to fans along Fowler Street and the McCamish Pavilion lot. The match is expected to be played outdoors with a weather forecast of no rain and high temperatures near 70 degrees. It will be Alumni Day for Tech as the Yellow Jackets will honor several former players in attendance.
TEAM UPDATE – Georgia Tech (11-4, 4-1 ACC), No. 32 in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, rolled past Clemson, 6-1, in its most recent match last Friday, its first home match in more than a month after playing its first four ACC matches on the road. After dropping its opener at No. 7 Wake Forest, the Yellow Jackets reeled off three straight wins over No. 57 Duke (4-3), Louisville (5-2) and No. 27 NC State (5-2). The Yellow Jackets have actually won eight of their last nine matches, a string which includes dominant victories over Auburn at home and Tennessee on the road, both by 6-1 scores and both over teams ranked in the 50s.
The Seminoles are 12-5 overall and 4-2 in the ACC, which includes a victory over top-ranked North Carolina and a 7-0 win over Clemson. Notre Dame is 10-8 overall and also 4-2 in the ACC, having beaten Duke and Louisville, but lost to Clemson.
SINGLES UPDATE – The Yellow Jackets are led at the top of their lineup by 6-foot-7 sophomore Christopher Eubanks (Atlanta, Ga.), who has slipped from No. 6 at the beginning of the season to No. 11 in the ITA rankings despite compiling a 14-1 record and stringing together eight consecutive wins. His only loss came against Georgia’s Wayne Montgomery, ranked No. 20 at the time, and he is 8-4 against ranked foes this year.
Junior Carlos Benito (Madrid, Spain) has won seven of his last eight matches playing at the No. 2 position, and is 4-1 in ACC competition. Head coach Kenny Thorne has shuffled players at the other four positions. Freshman Andrew Li (Hong Kong) won six of his first eight decisions playing lower in the order, but struggled in ACC play at the No.3 position before winning a straight-set match over Clemson. Senior Nathan Rakitt (Marietta, Ga.) has heated up, winning six of his last seven matches (one no-decision) to improve to 7-2 this spring, playing mostly at No. 6. Daniel Yun, a sophomore from Marietta, Ga., was inserted in the lineup at No. 5 for the start of ACC play and has won all four of his matches, and Michael Kay subbed for him against Clemson and delivered a straight-set win.
DOUBLES UPDATE – Tech two of three doubles matches against Clemson but has won the doubles point in 11 of 15 contests, many times on the strength of their play at the No. 2 and 3 positions. Benito and Eubanks went 6-1 playing in the No. 2 position, and have won three of four since moving up to the No. 1 spot. Li and Rakitt have won eight of their last 11 matches playing at No. 3. Casey and Michael Kay, began the season at No. 1 but have played the last three Tech matches at No. 2. They have a 5-4 record with six unfinished matches and are ranked No. 54.
HEAD COACH Kenny Thorne SAYS – “We are heading out on the road again against a very good FSU team. They beat No. 1 UNC and have been playing well lately. We have been playing well lately as well, so it should be a great match. We will need to play with good purpose and composure the entire evening. I love the opportunities to play many of the nation’s best teams each week in the ACC. It makes for a tough schedule but exciting. Hopefully if our fans can’t make the match then they will watch us on ESPN3.
“We get back home on Easter Sunday to play Notre Dame. They also have been playing well lately. We will be honoring some former players during that match as well as one of my former teammates, Mark Avedikian. Mark is currently battling cancer and it will be great to honor him along with all of the other tennis alumni.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S TENNIS
Georgia Tech’s men’s tennis team is in its 18th year under head coach Kenny Thorne. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Championship 15 times. Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Tennis on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GT_MTEN). For more information on Tech men’s tennis, visit Ramblinwreck.com.