May 12, 2011
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (13-10) will begin its 12th NCAA Tournament in familiar territory as the Yellow Jackets, seeded 14th, will host Jacksonville State (13-10) in their NCAA First Round matchup at noon Saturday at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
“Being able to host the NCAA Tournament is great,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “I think it gives us a boost. It’s kind of a compliment. It says that we had a good season and put ourselves in position to be one of the top 16 teams. We don’t take that for granted because we know how hard it is to achieve that. We’re certainly battle tested this year. We’ve played a ton of top 20 teams. You look at our conference and I think that’s great preparation for the NCAA Tournament. There aren’t too man conferences that get that type of play week in and week out. I think we understand what it takes to play at the highest level. We’ve been preparing very hard and its time to go out and execute.”
All 12 of Georgia Tech’s NCAA Tournament appearances have come in the last 12 years under Shelton. This is the seventh consecutive season the Jackets have hosted. In five of the previous six seasons Tech has hosted first and second round matches, the Yellow Jackets have advanced on to the round of 16.
Jacksonville State has won 11 of its last 15 matches, including a pair of 4-0 victories to win the Ohio Valley Conference Championship. The Gamecocks are making their first NCAA Tournament berth. Georgia Tech and Jacksonville State have never faced in women’s tennis.
“Jacksonville State is playing very well right now, having just won its conference tournament,” Shelton said. “It’s always nice to win your last match and have some confidence going into the next one. I expect them to be excited, fired up and wanting to make the most of this opportunity. For us, I think it’s important that we establish ourselves early in the doubles. That’s something we’ve been working extremely hard the past couple of weeks. It’s been our primary focus. I’m really excited to see our girls out there competing against Jacksonville state because I think it’ll be a good test for our team and I look forward to the battle.”
Georgia Tech head coach Bryan Shelton, who played at Tech alongside men’s head coach Kenny Thorne, will again get to share in the excitement of the NCAA Tournament as both the Yellow Jackets’ teams will be hosting first and second round matches, marking the first time both squads have hosted together.
“I don’t know how many teams have been in position to host for this many straight years,” Shelton said. “I think the other special thing for us, is not that we’ve had the consistent success to be in this position, but this year it’s extremely special to have our men’s team here as well. One of my best and longest friendships has been with Kenny Thorne. We started playing doubles together when we were 13 years old. For us to be in this position with both of our teams, it definitely feels good and is special.
“For the group of young ladies we have on this team, I’m really happy for them,” Shelton said. “They work hard, not only on the tennis court but in the classroom. Our grades this semester again are top notch. It’s a testament to how hard they work. I know how hard it is having been a student-athlete here myself. I’m happy for them. They deserve this opportunity, they’ve worked hard for it. Just hope they are able to go out and execute the way they are capable of.”
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and must be purchased each day of the tournament. Tickets allow you entry to all matches on that day and can be purchased at the gate beginning one hour prior to the first match.
Fans are encouraged to follow Tech tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN and @GT_MTEN, for instant updates.
This weekend’s schedule is below:
NCAA TENNIS FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND SCHEDULE
Bill Moore Tennis Center, Atlanta, Ga.
Friday, May 13
Florida State men (9-15) vs. Mississippi State men (13-8), 10 a.m.
Georgia Tech men (19-5) vs. Middle Tennessee State men (13-12), 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 14
Mississippi women (11-10) vs. Arizona State women (14-6), 9 a.m.
Georgia Tech women (13-10) vs. Jacksonville State women (13-10), 12 noon
Men’s championship match, 3 p.m.
Sunday, May 15
Women’s championship match, 1 p.m.
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