May 14, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech men’s tennis team begins its 13th appearance in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship with a 10 a.m. match against 48th-ranked Binghamton Saturday in the Lexington, Ky., Regional at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on the University of Kentucky campus.
Host Kentucky will face Cleveland State in the other first-round match on that Saturday at 1 p.m. EDT. The winners of the first-round matches will meet for a second-round match at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, May 16 in Lexington for the right to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 in Athens, Ga., beginning May 21.
The final 16 teams will compete for the NCAA title at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the University of Georgia campus, with the championship match held on May 25.
Tech, with a 17-7 dual match record and ranked 24th in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, has climbed steadily in the poll since Jan. 5, when the Yellow Jackets opened the spring season at No. 43. Tech’s current position is its highest of the year. This year’s NCAA bid is Tech’s eighth in the last 10 years.
Binghamton is 25-1 and No. 48 in the ITA rankings, having won the America East Conference championship. Kentucky, the overall 12th seed in the NCAA Championship, is 23-8 and ranked No. 11 in the nation. Cleveland State is 20-6 and won the Horizon League championship for the third straight year.
The Yellow Jackets arrived in Lexington Wednesday night and have practiced at the facility for two days. In between, the team visited Winstar Farms, the Lexington stable which is home to Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.
“We are looking forward to a tough match against Binghampton tomorrow,” said Thorne. “They only have one loss and definitely will be a tough team to beat. We have practiced well here in Lexington so we are as prepared as we can be. Now we are looking forward to competing. “
Thorne’s team is 12-7 against teams ranked the ITA poll this spring. The Jackets finished fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season with a 7-4 record, and reached the semifinals of the ACC Championship by defeating No. 20 Virginia Tech, then lost to top-ranked Virginia.
Guillermo Gomez, the nation’s No. 4-ranked player in singles, leads the Jackets at the No. 1 position with a 14-4 dual match record and a 27-6 mark in singles this year. The junior from Alicante, Spain, is also 14-5 against ranked players.
Kevin King, a sophomore from Peachtree City, Ga., ranked No. 85 nationally, is Tech’s No. 2 player, having won his first 10 matches of the spring, and enters the post-season 11-5 overall, 8-3 in ACC matches. Eliot Potvin, a junior from Hampden, Maine, ranked No. 112 nationally, is 15-9 in dual matches this spring and 8-5 at No. 3 singles.
The bottom half of Tech’s singles lineup features Miguel Muguruza, a junior from Wesley Chapel, Fla., with a 10-8 dual match singles record and a 5-4 conference mark; Magin Ortiga, a freshman from Cartagina, Colombia, with a 14-7 dual record and a 10-4 mark at No. 5; and Juan Spir, a freshman from Medellin, Colombia, 11-8 in dual matches this spring and 8-2 at his No. 6 position.
Tech’s doubles lineup, which has produced a 9-5 record in the last 14 matches, currently includes King and Spir at No. 1 (8-5), Potvin and Ryan Smith at No. 2 (8-1), and Gomez and Dean O’Brien at No. 3 (6-4).
The Yellow Jackets have a 6-12 record in 12 previous NCAA Tournament appearances. Most recently, Tech lost in the first round to Florida in the 2007 Tallahassee Regional.
First Round: Saturday, May 15 Match 1: Georgia Tech vs. Binghamton, 10 a.m. EST Match 2: Cleveland State vs. Kentucky, 1 p.m. EST
Second Round: Sunday, May 16 Match 3: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 1 p.m. EST
Live scoring and additional tournament details will be available at UKathletics.com.