April 7, 2011
ATLANTA – Riding a five-match winning streak and looking to complete an undefeated home season, Georgia Tech’s 18th-ranked men’s tennis team plays its final regular-season matches at home this weekend, hosting No. 11 Duke at 3 p.m. Friday and No. 17 North Carolina at 12 noon Sunday in a pair of big Atlantic Coast Conference contests.
Admission to both matches is free of charge at the Bill Moore Tennis Center, and parking is available along Fowler Street, 8th Street and in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum lot. The Yellow Jackets, 15-2 overall and 6-1 in the ACC, are tied for second place in the conference standings with Miami, one game behind top-ranked Virginia (7-0). The Blue Devils and Tar Heels are both a half-game back at 5-1 each.
Tech lost to both teams on the road last year, and to North Carolina earlier this season in the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Athens, Ga. All three matches were close.
“Duke has had a great season and we had a tough battle with them last year,” said head coach Kenny Thorne. “UNC is responsible for one of our two loses this year. We have only had a few opportunities this entire year to help our ranking, and this weekend, we have two opportunities. Our guys have responded well to opportunities and it will be great playing at home.”
Tech comes into the match having defeated NC State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Boston College and Maryland in succession.
The matches will be the last at home in the careers of five Georgia Tech seniors – All-American Guillermo Gomez from Alicante, Spain, Miguel Muguruza from Wesley Chapel, Fla., Dean O’Brien from Benmore, South Africa, Eliot Potvin from Hampden, Maine, and Ryan Smith from Marietta, Ga.
“We have five seniors,(G, E, Mugz, Ryno and Deano as they are known on the team) that have done an incredible job representing Georgia Tech over the last four years,” said Thorne. “They have done excellent things on and off the court and I look forward to following their accomplishments once they graduate.
“However, we have a lot of exciting tennis remaining to be played with them on the team this year. This weekend’s matches are their last regular season home matches, so we want the atmosphere to be special for them. It will be an exciting weekend of tennis so we want to invite all our fans to come see some great tennis on Friday and Sunday.”
TECH UPDATE: No. 1 singles player Guillermo Gomez is ranked No. 16, and No. 2 player Juan Spir is No. 67 in the most recent ITA national rankings. The Yellow Jackets’ doubles team of Kevin King and Juan Spir is ranked No. 14.
All-American Gomez has won nine straight matches, including all seven ACC contests, to improve his record to 15-2 in the spring, 26-6 overall. The senior from Alicante, Spain, has 111 career singles victories, one shy of Thorne’s career mark of 112. He’ll get his first chance to tie Thorne Friday.
Kevin King has also won nine straight matches and is 14-1 this spring. The junior from Peachtree City, Ga., has played his last six matches at No. 3 in the lineup, winning all of them after going 7-1 at No. 4.
Spir, a sophomore from Medellin, Colombia, playing No. 2 for the Jackets, is 4-3 in ACC play. He is 11-5 in the spring, 22-9 overall. Senior Eliot Potvin also is 11-5 this spring for the Yellow Jackets, moving from No. 3 to No. 4 in the last six matches.
Spir and King are 11-4 in doubles matches this spring, having defeated five ranked tandems out of 26 total victories this year. Gomez and Dean O’Brien, who play No. 3 doubles, have the Jackets’ best spring record at 14-3, while Potvin and Ryan Smith are 13-3 at No. 2.
ACC UPDATE: Top-ranked Virginia (22-0 overall) is the only undefeated team in conference play at 7-0. The Yellow Jackets play the Cavaliers in Charlottesville in the final regular season match on April 16. Tech and Miami are 6-1, followed by Duke and North Carolina at 5-1. Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are tied for sixth at 3-4.
THIS WEEKEND’S OPPONENTS: Duke (14-7 overall) features two players ranked among the nation’s top 10 in singles, including sophomore Henrique Cunha (No. 6) and senior Reid Carleton (No. 8). They also form the nation’s No. 6-ranked doubles team. North Carolina (10-5) is led by sophomore Jose Hernandez, the Tar Heels’ highest ranked player at No. 38. He and junior Brennan Boyajian are the nation’s No. 21 doubles team.