Feb. 11, 2011
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s tennis team will be hosting a pair of events at the Bill Moore Tennis Center this weekend, capped by their match with the Auburn Tigers at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
On Saturday, the men’s and women’s teams will host Alumni Weekend and will honor All-Americans from both teams and the 2007 women’s national championship team in between the doubles and singles matches of Saturday’s men’s match against Georgia at 1 p.m. The 2007 national championship team will also be recognized during Sunday’s women’s match with Auburn.
Both Saturday and Sunday’s match offer free admission to fans who wish to come out and support the Tech tennis teams.
“I think in the 12 years I’ve been here, we’ve had a lot of things to be proud of,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “We have a lot of student-athletes who have come through the program and been very successful, so it’s always nice when those players come back and share their experiences with the current players on the team. It helps to encourage our team in a positive way and it also allows them to share their experiences and the things they did that helped them be success while at Georgia Tech.
“For our former student-athletes to come out and support the program tells me they had a great experience here and they want to still be connected to the program and Georgia Tech, which is great,” Shelton said. “To see them successful now outside of Georgia Tech, in the real world, that’s great for our current players to see too. Not only are you coming through here trying to be the best tennis player you can, but it’s also important to develop relationships with alumni who are successful on the outside. I think this program will help them to ultimately be successful like those players that are coming back this weekend.”
Tech will be trying to get back on the winning track after suffering its first defeat of the dual season, 5-2, last Friday at No. 16 Georgia. The Jackets are 12-9 against Auburn all time and have won 10 straight against the Tigers, including a 7-0 win at Auburn last season.
“I think we’ve had a good week of practice so far in bouncing back from the loss to Georgia and getting ready for Auburn,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “There are a few things we identified last week in our match in Athens that we need to start focusing more on. One of our goals is we want to be fitter and stronger, and I think the team has bought into that.
“We realize that doubles are extremely important, so we’re working on some different combinations and different plays that will take advantage of the tools we have out there on the court,” Shelton continued. “We’re also going to work hard on our serving. That’s something you have control over, you have the ball in your hand, so we need to be more effective in matches and under pressure.”
Viet Ha Ngo clinched the match last year with a 6-1, 6-1 win over AU’s Caroline Thornton. In total, four of the Tech’s six singles wins from last year’s meeting with the Tigers are back. Sasha Krupina earned a 6-2,7-5 win at No. 2, Lynn Blau picked up a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 5 and Elizabeth Kilborn tallied a 6-2, 6-4 win in the sixth spot of the lineup.
Ngo has played at the top of the lineup in three dual matches this season, and has posted a 2-1 record and a 4-2 mark overall. Junior Caroline Lilley has notched a 5-2 overall mark playing mostly from the No. 2 spot and senior Sasha Krupina has posted a 3-1 dual match record in the fifth spot of the lineup.
“I think the success Viet Ha has had so far this season has been a direct result of how hard she’s worked over the past couple of years,” Shelton said. “Tennis, like a lot of sports, you don’t always see the fruits of your labor right away. Sometimes it takes a while to actually have the success you’ve worked hard for. I think the thing about Viet Ha is she’s remained consistent in the way she does her work and the way she prepares every single day. I think that consistency is starting to pay off for her.”
Fans attending Sunday’s match who make a donation to raising awareness for breast cancer will receive a free, pink t-shirt as a part of Tech’s Ace For The Cure day. The Jackets will set aside their traditional gold and white uniforms and don a little pink in support of the cause.
“I think that Georgia Tech and our athletic association does a great job with our total person program and getting our kids to understand there are things more important than just their sport,” Shelton said. “I think it’s important to have a broader view of the world and not just a microscope that’s just focused in on their tennis or their studies. I think it’s great to recognize that there is a need for us to take part in something that is bigger than sport and even bigger than their academics, and giving back and helping people to find a cure to breast cancer and other cancers. I think it’s great that our student-athletes are able to be a part of something like this, to understand our role and to understand the impact we can have in the world. I think its great our student-athletes can get that at 18, 19, 20 years of age before they get out in the real world, to understand that we all have a responsibility and it’s more than just hitting a tennis ball well.”
As for wearing the pink uniforms, coach Shelton thinks his team will be excited about it.
“They like that [wearing the pink uniforms],” Shelton said. “A lot of them like fashion and doing some different things. Most of them love pink, so I think they’ll enjoy it. They’re still athletes, I think they’ll still be fierce competitors out on the court, but the pink will be a good look for a day.”
For more information and live scoring, please visit RamblinWreck.com. Fans are also encouraged to connect with Georgia Tech women’s tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, and Facebook, GTwomenstennis.
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