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Jacket Tennis Hosts Three Ranked Teams In ITA Kick-Off Weekend

Jan. 28, 2011

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s tennis team will be hosting the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 29 and 30, at the Bill Moore Tennis Center. The four team event will feature the Jackets (1-0), who moved up to 13th in this week’s Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings, the No. 25 Illinois Fighting Illini (0-2), the No. 28 South Florida Bulls (0-0) and the No. 30 Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0).

The first match of the weekend will pit the Illini and Bulls in an 11:30 a.m. match in Atlanta, which will be followed by the Jackets and Hawkeyes squaring off at 2 p.m. On Sunday, the consolation match will be first at 11:30 a.m. followed by the championship match at 2 p.m. With the expected beautiful weather for the weekend, all matches will be played outside.

The Jackets are hosting one of 15 Kick-Off Weekend sites nationally, and the champion of each site will head to Charlottesville, Va., for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships hosted by the University of Virginia Feb. 18-21

Tech will look to build upon its performance over the first two weekends of the season. While not a team tournament, the season-opening Michigan Invitational paired Tech against three highly ranked teams, and the Jackets opened the dual match season with a 5-2 win over No. 9 Northwestern last Sunday in Atlanta.

“I think we have some confidence in that we’re doing the right things and doing the things that we need to do to get better,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “We’ve played some stiff competition so far this year and we know we have to be ready to go out and compete, lay it all on the line, because if we don’t, there are going to be three good teams here that will beat us.

“We saw some things at both Michigan and against Northwestern that we need to do better,” Shelton added. “We’re not just competing against the opponent, but we’re competing against ourselves to get better. Each opponent is different, and has different strengths and weaknesses. We need to be able to adjust and adapt during the course of a match.”

Illinois is 0-2 on the season after losing 5-2 to No. 4 Notre Dame Jan. 22 and 4-3 to No. 13 Tennessee Jan. 23 in Urbana, Ill. South Florida has yet to play a dual match this season, but has played in the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational to open the spring, an event which also hosted Illinois. Iowa opened the spring playing in the FSU Seminole Invitational and downed Northern Iowa 6-1 Jan. 22.

Tech will again look to its doubles’ teams to get the squad started and carry some momentum into the singles’ matches. Shelton believes that the depth the Jackets have at each of the doubles and singles spots’ of the lineup will continue to be a key factor as the season goes on.

After the win over Northwestern, junior Caroline Lilley said that winning the doubles’ point is certainly a momentum boost and takes a little pressure off going into the singles’ matches.

“Getting that doubles point, you’re immediately up 1-0, and it takes a little bit of pressure off the singles players because you only have to win three of the six matches instead of four of six,” Lilley said. “It’s all about energy and momentum. It’s important to keep that momentum you’ve begun with because if you start well and finish well, most likely you’re going to win the match.”

This weekend will also mark the first time this season where the Jackets have played matches outdoors.

“There are a number of factors that we have to be aware of and take into consideration when we move outside,” Shelton said. “We’ll have to deal with the wind as it will affect the ball and we’ll have to deal with the sun producing shadows and whether or not you’re looking into it. The game slows down when you’re outside so we really have to be on our game because the margin of error is a lot smaller.

“It will be great to finally be outside though,” Shelton concluded. “It’s going to be a great weekend of tennis. I hope our fans will take advantage of the great weather and come out and support us, and they’ll get to see some great tennis.”

All matches will be played at the Bill Moore Tennis Center and are open and free to the public. Live stats will be available through RamblinWreck.com or follow us on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, for instant updates.

Fans attending the match are asked to be aware of limited parking on Sunday. With the men’s basketball team hosting Maryland at 7:45 Sunday night, parking in Alexander Memorial Coliseum lot, O’Keefe lot and along Fowler Street will all be regulated by permit beginning at 5 p.m. Cars parked in those areas without a permit will be removed beginning at 5. Fans are suggested to park in Peter’s parking deck.

— RamblinWreck.com —

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