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No. 20 Jackets Outlast Notre Dame, 4-3

THE FLATS – No. 20 Georgia Tech clinched a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame on Thursday evening to open a five-match homestand at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex. The Yellow Jackets won the doubles point and three singles matches to improve to 10-7 overall and 6-3 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.

In a battle for the doubles point, Georgia Tech pulled out the early lead, pocketing wins on courts two and three. Kylie Bilchev and Scarlett Nicholson gave the Yellow Jackets the advantage, rolling to a 6-2 victory on court three. Facing Yashna Yellayi and Nibi Ghosh, Bilchev and Nicholson earned an early break and never looked back for the win.

But it was point-for-point battle on courts one and two. Notre Dame’s Carrie Beckman and Akari Matsuno held a consistent game lead over Alejandra Cruz and Given Roach on court two, but the Jackets held strong. Knotted at 4-all, Cruz and Roach broke for a 5-4 lead, but the Fighting Irish answered, tying it at 5-5. Once again, Tech gained a 6-5 lead and Cruz served out the win, 7-5, to clinch the early lead for Georgia Tech. Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura led 6-5 on court one when the point was clinched.

Georgia Tech won five first sets, but Notre Dame pushed four courts into three-set battles as the conference foes fought through another tough match. Wrapping up first in just under two hours, Bilchev upended Freeman on court two to give the Jackets a 2-0 match lead. Bilchev raced out with a 5-1 lead in the opening set, but Freeman won four-straight games to rally back to 5-all. The Jacket held tough and claimed the next two games to win the opening set, 7-5. At a 2-all standstill to open the second set, Bilchev took a 4-2 lead and pocketed the match, 6-4, to extend Tech’s lead.

In a remarkable comeback on court six, Sharabura wrapped up second, winning a three-set match over Matsuno. Sharabura blanked Matsuno in the opener, 6-0, but Notre Dame forced a deciding third set, winning the second, 6-4. Matsuno looked in control of the final set, leading 5-1, before Sharabura sparked a comeback, dominating the next five games to take a 6-5 lead. The opponents went into a tiebreak to decide the victor and Sharabura did not drop a point, winning, 7-0, to give Georgia Tech a 3-0 match lead.

Notre Dame got on the scoreboard with a win on court four, but Cruz clinched the victory to seal the match. Facing Bojana Pozder, Cruz led narrowly in the first set that resulted in a 7-3 tiebreak win to take the set lead. The Jacket would lead 4-2 in the second set and seal the win, 6-3, clinching the match at 4-1.

The Fighting Irish won the final two singles matches on courts one and five to account for the final 4-3 score.

Georgia Tech returns to action on Saturday, March 30, welcoming Louisville to the Ken Byers Tennis Complex. First serve is slated for 2 p.m.

1. No. 12 Carol Lee/Kate Sharabura (GT) vs. No. 28 Julia Andreach/Page Freeman (ND) 6-5, DNF
2. Given Roach/Alejandra Cruz (GT) def. Carrie Beckman/Akari Matsuno (ND) 7-5*
3. Kylie Bilchev/Scarlett Nicholson (GT) def. Yashna Yellayi/Nibi Ghosh (ND) 6-2
Order of finish: 3,2*

1. No. 29 Julia Andreach (ND) def. No. 45 Carol Lee (GT) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
2. Kylie Bilchev (GT) def. Page Freeman (ND) 7-5, 6-4
3. Alejandra Cruz (GT) def. Bojana Pozder (ND) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3*
4. Nibi Ghosh (ND) def. Scarlett Nicholson (GT) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Yashna Yellayi (ND) def. Mahak Jain (GT) 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
6. Kate Sharabura (GT) def. Akari Matsuno (ND) 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (7-0)
Order of finish: 2,6,4,3*,5,1


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