Feb. 3, 2011
ATLANTA – After opening the dual match season with three matches at home, the Georgia Tech women’s tennis team will take to the road for the first time when it travels to Athens, Ga., for a 5 p.m. match with the 15th ranked Georgia Bulldogs on Friday night at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Center.
Tech won last year’s meeting, 5-2, with the Bulldogs and has won four of the last seven matches.
“I think when you go into a big match, you need to be able to relax,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “I don’t think we’ll have a hard time getting up for the match, I think we’ll have plenty of energy on our side and we’ll be fired up going into their place and playing a quality opponent. I think more than anything we’ll need to relax and maintain our composure.”
Tech opened the dual match season playing indoors with a win over No. 9 Northwestern, but stepped outside while hosting the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, and downed another pair of ranked teams in No. 30 Iowa and No. 28 South Florida, to advance to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships to be held Feb. 18-21 in Charlottesville, Va.
Friday’s match with Georgia will be played indoors in Athens, which the Jackets will have to adjust to.
“One of the biggest things is that we want to be a little more aggressive in how we play going back inside,” Shelton said. “Outside you have to be a little more patient and you’re dealing with more conditions like the wind and sun. If you play too aggressively, you end up making too many unforced errors. We’re going to have to go after our first serves a little more and try to get some free points there, and really look to attack their second serves. A lot of matches are won with the player who has the most points against second serve so that’s a statistic we always want to be going in our favor.”
Georgia comes into the match with a 2-1 record on the year after dropping a tough 4-3 decision to No. 6 North Carolina on Sunday in the championship match of an ITA Kick-Off Weekend event in Chapel Hill. The match with the Tar Heels came down to a third set tiebreak in the final singles match to decide the winner. The Bulldogs opened the season with a 7-0 shutout of Memphis and a 5-2 win over No. 31 VCU in the ITA opener.
This will also be Tech’s first road dual of the season as well. The Jackets opened the spring on the road at the Michigan Invitational, but that event was based on singles and doubles play rather than a dual match. The last time Tech played at Georgia in a dual match, March 19, 2009, only senior Sasha Krupina and junior Viet Ha Ngo were in action for the Jackets.
“Playing at Georgia is one of those things that you definitely have to experience and something that our freshman definitely wouldn’t have seen before or played against it,” Shelton said. “The girls that are coming back have seen it at different places where we play, whether it’s Clemson, Georgia or Miami, where the crowds get pretty raucous. It’ll be a fun environment. What I always tell the players is that when you hear the crowd yelling and screaming, pretend they’re yelling for you. You have one player on the other side of the net, not 50. For us, it’s about taking our time, keeping our composure, taking deep breaths, sticking to our routine, and things that help us relax on the court. If we do those things well, we can relax and play our best tennis.
“We know that Georgia is a very, very talented team,” Shelton said. “We saw them in the fall and we lost several matches against them. We’ll be eager to get out there and see where we stand at this point.”
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