May 22, 2007
Athens, Ga.–Freshmen Amanda Craddock and Amanda McDowell won singles matches, and then sophomore Christy Striplin rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the third set to clinch a 4-2 victory for No. 3 Georgia Tech over No. 10 California, putting the Yellow Jackets in the national championship match for the first time in school history. Tech will face No. 12 UCLA Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Henry Feild Stadium.
Tickets for the NCAA Championship, priced at $10, are available at the gate. On-line tickets and other information, as well as live scoring for the match are available at www.georgiadogs.com. The match will be televised on ESPNU.
Tuesday’s match will mark the third time any Yellow Jacket team has played for an NCAA championship, but Georgia Tech has never won an NCAA team title in any sport (Tech has won four national championships in football but they are not considered NCAA titles). Most recently, the Tech men’s basketball program lost to Connecticut in the 2004 NCAA title game, and in 1994, the Yellow Jacket baseball team fell to Oklahoma in the College World Series championship game. The Tech golf team has finished second at the NCAA championships on four occasions.
Tech won its 20th straight match to run its record to 28-4 on the season.
Playing No. 5 singles against Cal’s Marion Ravelojaona, Striplin won the first set 6-2, but lost the second set 6-1 and fell behind 4-1 in the third before winning five straight games for the 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory and Tech’s clinching fourth point. The No. 2 singles match was in the third set with Tech’s Alison Silverio serving at 40-40, 1-2 in the set against 12th-ranked Zsuzsanna Fodor when Striplin broke Ravelojaona’s serve to win the match.
“This team showed so much resilience,” said Tech head coach Bryan Shelton. “Cal is a premier team, and they played so well and fought so hard in singles. For Christy to be down 4-1 and win five straight games – we had freshmen and sophomores stepping up for us today.”
“I knew it would come down to either Alison or me,” said Striplin. “I just wanted to fight as hard as I could, and I’m glad I could get it done for my team.”
After claiming the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead, the Jackets came out strong in singles by winning first sets on four of the six courts. But only McDowell was able to finish off her match in straight sets as she downed Stephanie Kusano at No. 4 singles, 6-3, 6-0, to stretch Tech’s lead to 2-0. That win was the 10th straight for the freshman from Atlanta, who leads the Jackets with 38 wins on the season.
Craddock, ranked 71st in the nation, knocked off No. 22 Nina Henkel, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, at No. 3 singles to push the Jackets’ advantage to 3-0. She has won 17 of her last 18 matches, and the win over Henkel marks the highest ranked player that she has beaten.
With Tech leading 3-0, Cal quickly answered with wins at No. 6 and at No. 1, where fourth-ranked Susie Babos rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Tech’s sixth-ranked Kristi Miller.
Tech won the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 flights. First Silverio and Craddock, ranked 26th, knocked off Henkel and Kusano, 8-2.
Then Tech’s duo of Miller and Whitney McCray, ranked third nationally, defeated Cal’s fifth-ranked duo of Babos and Fodor, 8-6. The Jackets jumped to a 5-1 lead before allowing Cal to even the match at 6-6, but Tech broke Babos’ serve to go up 7-6 and then Miller served out the match. On court three, Tech’s Tarryn Rudman and Kirsten Flower led 7-4 and had a match point when Miller and McCray finished.
“I knew from day one in practice that this was a special group,” said Miller, the junior all-American from Marysville, Mich. “These freshmen were not afraid to challenge for spots in the lineup, and they came through for us today.”
No. 3 Georgia Tech 4, No. 10 California 2NCAA Semifinals, Henry Feild Stadium, Athens, Ga.SINGLES1. (4) Susie Babos (CAL) d. (6) Kristi Miller (GT), 2-6, 6-3, 6-02. (93) Alison Silverio (GT) vs. (12) Zsuzsanna Fodor (CAL), 6-7 (8), 6-4, 1-2, DNF3. (71) Amanda Craddock (GT) d. (22) Nina Henkel (CAL), 6-3, 2-6, 6-14. (94) Amanda McDowell (GT) d. (89) Stephanie Kusano (CAL), 6-3, 6-05. (62) Christy Striplin (GT) d. Marion Ravelojaona (CAL), 6-2, 1-6, 6-46. Claire Ilcinkas (CAL) d. (108) Tarryn Rudman (GT), 6-4, 6-2Order of Finish: 4, 3, 6, 1, 5Clinching Match: No. 5 singles
DOUBLES 1. (3) Kristi Miller/Whitney McCray (GT) d. (5) Susie Babos/Zsuzsuanna Fodor (CAL), 8-6 2. (26) Alison Silverio/Amanda Craddock (GT) d. Nina Henkel/Stephanie Kusano (CAL), 8-2 3. Tarryn Rudman/Kirsten Flower (GT) led Claire Ilcinkas/Bojana Bobusic (CAL), 7-4, DNF Order of Finish: 2,1
Records: Georgia Tech 28-4, California 23-7