April 22, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. – The 16th ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (13-10) knew it would be in for a hard fought fight when it faced the fifth ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (21-5) in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament Friday afternoon.
The Tar Heels would come out on the high side of a slugfest, 4-1, in a match played at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center on the Duke University campus due to the rain in Cary.
“I thought overall, it was a tough match,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “I felt like we got down early losing the doubles point, but I was proud of our team and felt like we put a lot of fear in them late. We were kind of able to stop the momentum after they had three points on the board. I don’t think they ever felt secure with those three points, knowing we were still battling on the last three courts.”
Doubles play would be indicative of the match to come.
The Tar Heels landed the first blow with an 8-3 win on court two doubles by Jelena Durisic and Tessa Lyons over the Yellow Jackets’ Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn. Court one was back-and-forth before UNC’s top tandem and sixth-ranked team of Shinann Featherston and Lauren McHale were able to turn a 5-4 lead into an 8-5 win against the Jackets’ 28th ranked team of Caroline Lilley and Jillian O’Neill. It was the first time Lilley and O’Neill have lost since teaming up on April 3.
Carolina began singles play with a 6-3, 6-1 win by Durisic over Lilley on court two and added a 6-1, 6-4 win by Lyons over Kilborn on court six to put the Tar Heels up 3-0.
O’Neill earned the Yellow Jackets first point of the day with another impressive win from the top of the order, a 6-2, 6-4 win over UNC’s 11th ranked De Bruycker.
“I was proud that Jillian was able to turn that match around and beat a very solid player she had lost to in the regular season,” Shelton said. “I was very proud of the whole team for just hanging in there and turning it into a dogfight at the end. It was unfortunate that we lost, but we can take some good things from today.”
Tech would continue to fight and force third sets on courts three, four and five from Ngo, Blau and Krupina. All three matches would go back-and-forth in the final set, but Carolina’s Gina Suarez-Malaguti would claim a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Krupina on court five to clinch a Tar Heel win.
“I felt like the team was just fighting, fighting, fighting,” Shelton said. “They were very, very positive. Sasha kind of led that charge coming back, winning the second set, and getting up in the third. I thought she did a tremendous job. Lynn and Christina just battled their tails off and never quit. I thought those were the positives that we’ll take from this weekend; some good things that we can build on going into the NCAA Tournament.
“I know UNC was hoping we would go away after they jumped up on us 3-0,” Shelton continued. “I think that was the most satisfying part. Viet Ha got down in that third set and she just would not quit. She just kept coming after the girl. That’s kind of what we want our trademark to be as competitors, that we are the kind to just keep coming after you. When we really have that up and down the line, people will seriously fear our program when they come up against us. All in all, I was proud of the team. I thought we had it there towards the end of the match, I thought we were going to get the victory, but you have to keep playing. North Carolina did a good job of regrouping and finding the energy they needed to come out on top.”
Georgia Tech will now await the NCAA Tournament selection on May 3 to find out when and where it will play again. The Jackets are expected to earn an at-large selection to its 12th NCAA Tournament. First and second round matches will be played on campus sites. Beginning with the round of 16, all matches will be played at the Taube Tennis Center on the Stanford University campus in Stanford, Calif.
“I think it’s going to be important what we do in the next few weeks, not only taking something from this tournament, but we have to sharpen up some things, especially the doubles play,” Shelton said. “That’s evident with our record this season. We know we have to take care of that doubles point, it’s a top priority for our team, as well as staying fit, and improving over the next few weeks in some areas and gaining the form that we need to compete with every team in the nation.
Fans can follow Tech tennis on Twitter, @GT_MTEN, for instant updates and live scoring will be available through RamblinWreck.com.
Georgia Tech vs. UNC
April 22, 2011 in Durham, N.C.
#5 UNC 4, #16 Georgia Tech 1
1. #42 Jillian O’Neill (GT) def. #11 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC), 6-2, 6-4
2. #105 Jelena Durisic (UNC) def. Caroline Lilley (GT), 6-3, 6-1
3. #74 Viet Ha Ngo (GT) vs. #93 Shinann Featherston (UNC), 6-2, 3-6, 5-5
4. Lynn Blau (GT) vs. Lauren McHale (UNC), 3-6, 6-4, 3-3
5. Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. Sasha Krupina (GT), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
6. Tessa Lyons (UNC) def. Elizabeth Kilborn (GT), 6-1, 6-4
1. #6 Shinann Featherston/Lauren McHale (UNC) def. #28 Caroline Lilley/Jillian O’Neill (GT), 8-5
2. Jelena Durisic/Tessa Lyons (UNC) def. Lynn Blau/Elizabeth Kilborn (GT), 8-3
3. Gina Suarez-Malaguti/Zoe De Bruycker (UNC) vs. Sasha Krupina/Viet Ha Ngo (GT), 7-5
Georgia Tech 13-10; National ranking #16
North Carolina 21-5; National ranking #25
Match played indoors at Duke due to rain
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (2,6,1,4)
— RamblinWreck.com —