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No. 16 Yellow Jackets Down No. 17 Arizona State 4-1

May 15, 2011

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ATLANTA – The 16th-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (15-10) was on hand Saturday to see the Yellow Jacket men’s team earn a trip to Stanford and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tennis Tournament.

On Sunday at the Bill Moore Tennis Center, it was the Tech women who sent themselves to the round of 16 in Stanford, Calif., with a 4-1 win over the 17th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (15-7). The Yellow Jackets will find a familiar face when they arrive on the West Coast as they will face the No. 3 ranked Duke Blue Devils in a NCAA Third Round match on Friday, May 20, at noon Eastern (9 a.m. PT).

“I think last year, you look back, and we were in the same position and we got beat up by Ole Miss in the same round. To be in the same position this year against another quality team in Arizona State, a well coached team, to be able to come through in the way we did, ah, it feels good,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “It feels good to be in this position. When you get there year in and year out, you sometimes take it for granted. Being knocked out in the second round last year, we certainly didn’t take it for granted.”

The Yellow Jackets’ 18th-ranked and number one tandem of Caroline Lilley and Jillian O’Neill started off quick against Arizona State’s 25th-ranked and top doubles team of Micaela Hein and Kelcy McKenna, building a 3-0 lead. The Sun Devils’ duo rallied back to tie the match at 3-3, before the Jackets won five of the next six games for an 8-4 win.

The doubles point has been key to Tech’s success this season as the Jackets are 15-0 when winning the first point of the day.

Tech’s number two and three teams were determined to send the Yellow Jackets into singles play with the early lead.

The court two doubles team of Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn went back and forth with Arizona State’s 67th-ranked team of Ashlee Brown and Sianna Simmons, while Tech’s No. 3 team of Sasha Krupina and Viet Ha Ngo jumped out to an early 5-1 lead on ASU’s Michelle Brycki and Hannah James.

Neither Sun Devil side gave up easy and it was the Yellow Jackets’ No. 2 team of Blau and Kilborn who finished off an 8-6 win to win the doubles point for Tech. Krupina and Ngo were leading 7-5, up 40-15 and serving when the point was suspended.

“I thought we did a great job of stepping up early in doubles play, getting leads in the three matches, and just being out there with an intensity, a desire to play good tennis and execute,” Shelton said. “I thought our girls executed extremely well in doubles and that carried over to singles.”

Arizona State landed the first blow in singles action with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Georgia Tech’s Blau on court four to tie the team score at 1-1.

O’Neill quickly followed with a 6-3, 6-3 win over the Sun Devils’ 19th-ranked Kelcy McKenna on court one to put the Jackets back up, 2-1. Krupina, Tech’s only senior, played exceptionally well in singles play and added a 6-3, 6-0 win from the fifth spot in the lineup to put the Jackets within one point of the team victory.

After earning a 6-2 first set win, Kilborn found herself in a battle in the second set. After falling behind 6-5, the Marietta, Ga., native forced a tiebreak. Kilborn jumped out quickly to a 5-1 lead and punched the Yellow Jackets’ ticket to Stanford with a 7-3 second set tiebreak.

“I thought we were tough in a lot of spots,” Shelton said. “Sasha Krupina, our one and only senior, the way she stepped up today was huge. For her to go out there and beat a quality opponent in singles, 6-3, 6-0, for her to step up and do that… what a way to go out here on her home court. More than anything, if there is only match I’m looking at, that’s the one that stands out a little bit. The rest, I’d say was just a great team effort. Our girls all fought hard, they all played well, they all competed well. Overall, very pleased and I think they’re deserving of moving on to the next round. Now we’re in the thick of it. Let’s go get prepared for the next match.”

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Match Results
Georgia Tech vs. Arizona State
May 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Ga.
#16 Georgia Tech 4, #17 Arizona State 1

Singles competition:
1. #32 Jillian O’Neill (GT) def. #19 Kelcy McKenna (ASU), 6-3, 6-3
2. #12 Jacqueline Cako (ASU) vs. #98 Caroline Lilley (GT), 6-1, 5-3
3. #65 Viet Ha Ngo (GT) vs. #70 Micaela Hein (ASU), 6-3, 4-5
4. Hannah James (ASU) def. Lynn Blau (GT), 6-2, 6-3
5. Sasha Krupina (GT) def. Michelle Brycki (ASU), 6-3, 6-0
6. Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) def. Sianna Simmons (ASU), 6-2, 7-6(7-3)

Doubles competition:
1. #18 Caroline Lilley/Jillian O’Neill (GT) def. #25 Micaela Hein/Kelcy McKenna (ASU), 8-4
2. Lynn Blau/Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) def. #67 Ashlee Brown/Sianna Simmons (ASU), 8-6
3. Sasha Krupina/Viet Ha Ngo (GT) vs. Michelle Brycki/Hannah James (ASU), 7-5

Match Notes:
Georgia Tech 15-10; National ranking #16
Arizona State 15-7; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (4,1,5,6)

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