May 20, 2007
Athens, Ga.– Amanda McDowell won a three-set match at No. 4 singles to clinch No. 3 Georgia Tech’s 4-2 victory over No. 6 Notre Dame in the NCAA quarterfinals Sunday in Athens, Ga., moving the Yellow Jackets into the national semifinals for the first time in school history.
Alison Silverio and Amanda Craddock won in singles and doubles for Tech (27-4), which won its 19th straight match. The Jackets will face No. 10 California, a 4-1 winner over No. 2 Georgia, on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. No. 1 Stanford and No. 4 Florida will meet in the other semifinal at 3 p.m., with the national championship match scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m.
“It was a great match for our team, and I was so happy to see so many people out in gold to support us,” said Tech head coach Bryan Shelton. “I was very pleased with the energy that we brought on the court today. I think the crowd felt that energy and responded to it.
“A great effort on our part, but give credit to Notre Dame. They are a class act on the court – they competed hard and it was just a great match.”
The Jackets held a 3-1 lead in the match but Notre Dame’s Brook Buck won at No. 6 singles to pull the Irish within 3-2 just moments before McDowell finished off Kelcy Tefft, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. The No. 1 singles match between third-ranked Kristi Miller and No. 12 Catrina Thompson was on serve at 4-4 in the third set.
A freshman from Atlanta, the No. 93-ranked McDowell won her ninth straight singles match and leads Tech with 37 wins on the season. However, she faced a much stiffer test today after dropping just six games in the Jackets’ first three NCAA Tournament wins.
“Amanda Craddock and Alison Silverio did a great job of coming through and getting it done for us, but I knew we needed one more,” said McDowell. “Coach has said to us all year to play with no fear, and that’s what I did in the third set – I just put it all on the court.
“Everyone on this team wants to have the match on their racquet because we believe in ourselves.”
Silverio, a senior from Louisville, Ohio, and Craddock, a freshman from Chesterfield, Mo., teamed for a victory at No. 2 doubles and then both won in impressive fashion in singles. Silverio, ranked No. 93, knocked off No. 124 Christian Thompson at No. 2 singles. Trailing 4-5 in the first set, Silverio won the final three games, including two service breaks, to take the set, and then jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second before winning 7-5, 6-3.
Craddock also survived a tough first set and then cruised in her second set, winning 6-4, 6-1 over Colleen Rielley at No. 3 singles.
Those two wins put the Jackets ahead 3-1, with Notre Dame’s first point coming from Cosmina Ciobanu’s win over Christy Striplin at No. 5 singles. The Irish added another win at No. 6, where Buck outlasted Tarryn Rudman in a marathon first-set that ended with a tiebreaker before winning the match, 7-6, 6-2.
Tech won the doubles point with wins from the third-ranked duo of Miller and Whitney McCray at the No. 1 flight and the 26th-ranked team of Silverio and Craddock at No. 2.
Craddock and Silverio defeated 22nd-ranked Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft by winning seven straight games to take a 7-1 lead en route to an 8-3 victory.
Notre Dame evened the doubles as Cosmina Ciobanu and Kalie Krisik earned an 8-2 victory over Rudman and Kirsten Flower at the No. 3 flight.
Then Miller and McCray clinched the doubles with an 8-4 win over Catrina Thompson and twin sister Christian Thompson, ranked 12th nationally. With the match on serve at 1-1, Miller and McCray won five straight games to take a 6-1 lead before the Thompsons rallied with three straight games to pull within 6-4. But McCray held her serve and the Jackets broke Christian Thompson for the victory.
“These girls are coming through in all the right moments, making clutch shots,” said Shelton. “We’ve got freshmen like Amanda McDowell, stepping up, and another freshman like Amanda Craddock being a catalyst for our team. Then we’ve got leadership at the top – Alison Silverio and Kristi Miller really lead the team. They really set the tempo in doubles today, and it carried over into singles.
No. 3 Georgia Tech 4, No. 6 Notre Dame 2 NCAA Quarterfinals, Henry Feild Stadium, Athens, Ga.
SINGLES 1. (6) Kristi Miller (GT) vs. (12) Catrina Thompson (ND), 6-4, 4-6, 4-4, DNF 2. (93) Alison Silverio (GT) d. (124) Christian Thompson (ND), 7-5, 6-3 3. (71) Amanda Craddock (GT)d. Colleen Rielley (ND), 6-4, 6-1 4. (94) Amanda McDowell (GT) d. Kelcy Tefft (ND), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 5. (69) Cosmina Ciobanu (ND) d. (62) Christy Striplin (GT), 6-0, 6-1 6. Brook Buck (ND) d. (108) Tarryn Rudman (GT), 7-6, 6-2 Order of Finish: 5,3,2,6,4 Clinching Match: No. 4 singles
DOUBLES 1. (3) Miller/Whitney McCray (GT) d. (12) Thompson/Thompson (ND), 8-4 2. (26) Silverio/Craddock (GT) d. (22) Buck/Tefft (ND), 8-3 3. Bailey Louderback/Kellie O’Flynn (ND) d. Rudman/Kirsten Flower (GT), 8-2 Order of Finish: 2,3,1
Records: Georgia Tech 26-4, Notre Dame 28-4