Feb. 24, 2015
THE FLATS – Tennessee’s Jack Schipanski rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the third-set tiebreaker to score seven straight points, defeating Georgia Tech’s Michael Kay in the deciding match and lifting the Volunteers to a 4-3 win Tuesday afternoon at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
It was the third straight loss for Tech (5-3) to a ranked Southeastern Conference opponent, all by 4-3 scores. Tennessee improved to 8-4.
Unlike its last two matches, however, in which it won the doubles point and couldn’t muster enough wins in singles, the Jackets began Tuesday’s contest by dropping the doubles point and then winning the first three singles matches to finish. But ultimately they were unable to hold on for the victory.
“Tennessee has been playing good doubles all year,” said Tech coach Kenny Thorne. “They have such a good No. 1 team that it puts a lot of pressure on the other two teams. For the first time this year, we gave in to that pressure a little. I’m proud of how Chris finished off his match and gave us momentum going into singles. Eddie and Carlos kept that momentum going and put us in good position.”
The contest came down to Kay’s match with Schapinski on court 3. The Tennessee sophomore had taken the first set in a tiebreaker (7-2) before the Yellow Jacket freshman stormed back with a 6-2 win in the second set to even the match. By that time, the other matches had finished.
Kay took a 3-1 lead in the set, but Schapinski rallied to win five straight games and was serving for the match. Kay broke him at love, however, to survived and was able to get the set to a tiebreaker.
“Michael just happened to be the last guy standing,” said Thorne. “What a great match that was. He just happened to be the last man standing. They both played at a very high level. If we keep bringing that, it will go our way soon.”
Freshman Christopher Eubanks got Tech off to a strong start in singles, making quick work of Hunter Reese on court 2, 6-4, 6-1, to even the match. Sophomore Carlos Benito soon finished off Brandon Fickey on court 6, 6-3, 6-3, his ninth win in 10 spring contests, and senior Eduardo Segura backed up his Spanish teammate with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Bartosz Sawicki on court 5.
Luis Valero gave Tennessee its second point by completing a 7-6, 6-3 win over Cole Fiegel on court 4. The loss snapped a seven-match winning streak for the Tech sophomore. Meanwhile, Nathan Rakitt, ranked 90th in the country, was unable to defeat 15th-ranked Mikelis Libietis on court 1, and the Volunteer senior captured a 6-4, 7-5 win to even the match at 3-3.
Tech lost the doubles points for only the second time this year. Libietis and ReesE, ranked third in the nation, disposed of the Yellow Jackets’ 51st-ranked pair of Benito and Segura, 6-2, on court 1. The Vols took the point when their No. 2 team of Valero and Sawicki rallied past Rakitt and Fiegel, 6-4. The third match was unfinished.
#56 Tennessee 4, Georgia Tech 3
Feb 24, 2015 at Atlanta, Ga. (Ken Byers Tennis Complex)
1. #15 Mikelis Libietis (TN) def. #90 Nathan Rakitt (GT) 6-4, 7-5
2. #57 Christopher Eubanks (GT) def. Hunter Reese (TN) 6-4, 6-1
3. Jack Schipanski (TN) def. Michael Kay (GT) 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Luis Valero (TN) def. Cole Fiegel (GT) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
5. Eduardo Segura (GT) def. Bartosz Sawicki (TN) 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
6. Carlos Benito (GT) def. Brandon Fickey (TN) 6-3, 6-3
1. #3 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (TN) def. #51 Carlos Benito/Eduardo Segura (GT) 6-2
2. Luis Valero/Bartosz Sawicki (TN) def. Nathan Rakitt/Cole Fiegel (GT) 6-4
3. Christopher Eubanks/Michael Kay (GT) vs. Jack Schipanski/Andrew Dromsky (TN) 6-5, unfinished
Tennessee 8-4; National ranking #56
Georgia Tech 5-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (2,6,5,4,1,3)
Match played indoors