Feb. 16, 2011
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (4-1) will begin its quest for a third ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship title on Friday night at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.
The 13th-ranked Yellow Jackets will face the eighth-ranked Michigan Wolverines (6-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It will be the second time this year Tech and Michigan have faced each other, but the first time in a dual match. The Jackets opened their spring season at the Michigan Invitational Jan. 15-17.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing at the ITA National Indoor Championship,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “Perennially, we’ve always had a strong schedule and this ITA tournament has been a part of our schedule for the previous five years. We always come away from the tournament better than we were when we started. That’s certainly the goal, to go up there and hopefully have some success, but more than anything know that we’re going to get some quality matches and we’re going to get better as the weekend goes up there.”
While the Jackets and Wolverines evenly split the singles and doubles matches in that tournament, the lineups will be slightly different for both sides this weekend.
“It’s fun sometimes playing a team a second time after you got a good look at them the first time and we can definitely be a little more specific with the gameplan, how to take advantage of our strengths better,” Shelton said. “It’s only been a few weeks since we played up at Michigan. We’re very familiar with what they bring. They’re a well-coached team and have some quality players on that squad. I know it’s going to be a great match.
“I think on the big points, we have to play aggressively,” Shelton continued. “There were some spots when we played them a few weeks back, they took the initiative before we did and were successful. This time around, I think we’re going to have to take the initiative a little more. We still have to play smart, but play aggressive and pick our spots to be aggressive. “
The only previous dual matchup between the Wolverines and Jackets came in May 2002, with Tech claiming a 4-2 win over the No. 34 Wolverines in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky.
Of the 16 teams participating in this weekend’s tournament, the entire top 10 teams in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings will be there and all 16 are in the top 25.
“I would say this is probably the strongest field we’ve ever had at this tournament,” Shelton added. “We’ve had some great fields in the past, but with Virginia hosting and being an automatic bid, they’re a quality program. We know that every match we play will be a quality match this weekend.”
Junior Caroline Lilley enters the match with a 6-2 overall singles record and claimed a 6-4, 6-4 upset win over U-M’s 61st ranked Whitney Taney Jan. 16 in Ann Arbor. Junior Viet Ha Ngo sports a 5-2 singles mark and has played the No. 1 spot in the Jackets’ lineup thus far in 2011.
Tech’s doubles teams own a combined record of 10-4 this year in dual matches and the Jackets are 4-0 when winning the doubles point.
For more information, visit the ITA website (itatennis.com) or click here. You can also follow us on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, for instant updates.
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