May 18, 2007
Athens, Ga.– Alison Silverio defeated 54th-ranked Renata Kucerkova at No. 2 singles, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the clinching match, and Amanda McDowell, Christy Striplin and Tarryn Rudman also won singles matches to give No. 3 Georgia Tech a 4-2 victory over Fresno State in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Round of 16 Friday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The Yellow Jackets advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history and will face Notre Dame Sunday at 3 p.m.
“I was proud of our effort today,” said Tech head coach Bryan Shelton. “The last two years we’ve been knocked out in the Sweet 16 round, so this is a milestone for Georgia Tech to reach the Elite Eight, but of course we’re not trying to rest there.
“Fresno State is a very, very good team. We held our ground out there and we didn’t flinch when the pressure came.”
Tech (26-4), which won for the 18th straight time, led 3-2 in the match but No. 1 singles player Kristi Miller had just gone down a break at 4-5 in the third set when Silverio, ranked No. 93, clinched the victory. After winning the first set in a tiebreaker, Silverio jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second set, then held on to win 6-4. She had served for the match at 5-2 but had her serve broken before finishing it off on her next serve.
The first set between the two nationally-ranked players featured no service breaks before moving to a tiebreaker at 6-6. Then Silverio, a senior from Louisville, Ohio, won the first four points and led 6-2 before winning 7-5. Kucerkova served the first game of the second set and led 40-0 before Silverio won five straight points for the service break en route to a 4-0 lead in the set.
“I just told myself to calm down and play disciplined,” said Silverio of going up 4-0 in the second set. “The discipline and the hustle was what would get it done for me.
“We definitely had a fight out there today, and I think that’s going to help us in the next round.”
Tech fell behind by losing the doubles point before winning easily at flights four, five and six to move ahead 3-1. Then Fresno State’s Anastasia Petukhova snapped Amanda Craddock’s 15-match winning streak with a 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory at No. 3 singles to pull the Bulldogs within 3-2.
“We knew Fresno State was going to be a very tough match,” said Silverio. “We were feeling very confident in our doubles coming into the tournament, but I think today we played a little tight. That opened our eyes and we all came out fighting in singles.”
Amanda McDowell won for the eighth straight time with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Tinesta Rowe at No. 4 singles. The freshman from Atlanta leads the team with 36 victories on the season and has dropped just six games in Tech’s first three NCAA wins.
Rudman and then Striplin quickly followed with identical 6-3, 6-1 wins. The senior Rudman downed Jacqueline Haskett at No. 6, and the Striplin finished off Danon Beatty at No. 5.
The No. 1 singles match featured a battle between Tech’s Miller, ranked No. 6 in the nation, and No. 3 ranked Melanie Gloria. Miller won the first set, 6-2, but Gloria answered by winning the second set, 6-2. They stayed on serve in the third set until Gloria broke to go up 5-4 just as Silverio was winning.
Fresno State took a 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point. Gloria and Rowe, ranked 39th, rallied from a 6-3 deficit to win five straight games, including three service breaks, for an 8-6 win over Tech’s third-ranked team of Miller and Whitney McCray that clinched the point. Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova also won 8-6 over Alison Silvero and Amanda Craddock. In the No. 3 doubles match, Tech’s Tarryn Rudman and Kirsten Flower were on serve, leading 5-4.
“Once we lost the doubles point, I knew how strong this team was at the top half of their lineup and I knew that we were going to have to find a win somewhere,” said Shelton. “They’ve got the No. 3 player in the country at No. 1 singles, and at two and three those are very good, experienced players.
“We certainly got a boost from the lower half of the lineup today. Amanda McDowell was a catalyst for us again today as she has been all season. She sets the tempo for that bottom core. Then I knew we had to find one more win at the top, and it was nice to see Alison and Kristi battle like they did.”
No. 3 Georgia Tech 4, No. 14 Fresno State 2NCAA Round of 16, Henry Feild Stadium, Athens, Ga.SINGLES
1. (3) Melanie Gloria (FS) led (6) Kristi Miller (GT), 2-6, 6-2, 5-4, DNF 2. (93) Alison Silverio (GT) d. (54) Renata Kucerkova (FS), 7-6 (5), 6-4 3. (80) Anastasia Petukhova (FS) d. (71) Amanda Craddock (GT), 7-6 (3), 6-1 4. (94) Amanda McDowell (GT) d. Tinesta Rowe (FS), 6-3, 6-1 5. (62) Christy Striplin (GT) d. Danon Beatty (FS), 6-3, 6-1 6. (108) Tarryn Rudman (GT) d. Jacqueline Haskett (FS), 6-3, 6-1 Order of Finish: 4, 6, 5, 3, 2 Clinching Match: 2
DOUBLES 1. (39) Melanie Gloria /Tinesta Rowe (FS) d. (3) Kristi Miller/Whitney McCray (GT), 8-6 2. (52) Renata Kucerkova/Anastasia Petukhova (FS) d. (26) Alison Silverio/Amanda Craddock (GT), 8-6 3. Tarryn Rudman/Kirsten Flower (GT) led Danon Beatty/Vanessa Heroux (FS), 5-4 Order of Finish: 2,1
Records: Georgia Tech 26-4, Fresno State 23-3