May 7, 2002
The Georgia Tech men’s tennis team will make its fifth NCAA Regional appearance in the last six years when the third-seeded Yellow Jackets face second-seeded and 19th-ranked South Carolina in the first round of regional play Saturday at 9 a.m. in Athens, Ga.
Top-ranked and host Georgia (23-3) faces Charleston Southern (17-6) at 1 p.m. in Saturday’s other first round match at the Dan Magill Tennis Center on the Georgia campus. The regional championship is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m., with the winner advancing to the NCAA Championships, which begin May 18 in College Station, Texas.
The Jackets are playing in a regional in Athens for the second straight year after defeating Arizona, 4-2, in last year’s first round before falling to Georgia–the eventual champions–4-0, in the 2001 regional final.
Tech, ranked 44th, has won five of its last seven matches to enter the NCAA Regional with a 15-10 record. The Yellow Jackets upset Duke to reach the finals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament before falling to North Carolina in the championship match.
South Carolina has a record of 16-8, including a 5-2 victory over Tech on March 20 in Columbia, S.C. Tech’s last win over the Gamecocks was a 4-3 decision in Atlanta in 2001, but South Carolina leads the series, 23-5-1.
“Getting into the NCAA Tournament is goal number one and we’ve done that, but now we want to go up there and play well,” said Tech head coach Kenny Thorne. “Towards the end of the year, we’ve played our best tennis, and mentally we feel we are in position to do well.
“South Carolina is a very talented team that has had a great year. The doubles point is always big, and there are key matchups at No. 1 and No. 2 singles.”
Two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection Roger Anderson is Tech’s top player with a record of 28-14 at No. 1 singles. The junior from Pietermartizburg, South Africa also earned a berth into the NCAA individual singles draw, which begins May 22 in College Station, Texas.
Junior David Wright (Guayaquil, Ecuador) plays No. 2 singles, followed by sophomore Joao Menano (Sao Paulo, Brazil), at No. 3 singles, sophomore Scott Schnugg (Medford, Ore.) at No. 4, junior Stephen Moros (Sarasota, Fla.) at No. 5 and sophomore West Nott at No. 6 singles (Midland, Mich.).
Tech is making the seventh NCAA appearance, including three of the last four years under Thorne. The Yellow Jackets made their first appearance in the NCAA Championships n 1988 in Athens, with Thorne playing No. 1 singles for Tech.
Tickets for the NCAA Regional are priced at $5 per day for adults and $3 per day for students and can be purchased at the gate.