Feb. 9, 2008
MADISON, Wisc. – Seventh-ranked Kristi Miller pulled off a three-set victory to complete No. 4 Georgia Tech’s 4-3 comeback win over No. 1 Stanford (3-1) in the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which are being contested at Nielsen Stadium on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.
The Jackets are one of just two teams to defeat Stanford in the last five years, and the only team to do so twice during that span. Georgia Tech also stopped the Cardinal with an identical 4-3 win in last year’s semifinal match at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
With the win, the Yellow Jackets advance to the finals of the premier national indoor tournament for the second-straight year and will meet No. 3 Northwestern in what will be a rematch of last weekend’s match, which resulted in Tech’s first loss in nearly a year.
The Cardinal started the afternoon by picking up the doubles point with wins at the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles lines after the Yellow Jacket duo of Christy Striplin and Noelle Hickey knocked off Celia Durkin and Carolyn McVeigh, 8-2, at the No. 3 spot.
“This was an unbelievable match and perhaps the biggest comeback in the history of our program,” said head coach Bryan Shelton. “We lost doubles, despite playing unbelievably well at No. 3, and went down 1-0 in the match. Even after that, it didn’t look too good for our team as we proceeded to lose two singles matches pretty quickly and then went down a set in three of the next four. But the girls kept fighting.”
Stanford pushed the score to 3-0 when Hilary Barte and Celia Durkin posted straight-set wins at the Nos. 3 and 4 singles spots, but it was all the Cardinal could manage after the Jackets rallied from losing the first set in three of the final four singles matches to pull off the upset victory.
Third-ranked Amanda McDowell gave the Jackets their first point of the afternoon when she posted a comeback 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win against No. 21 Jessica Nguyen at the No. 2 singles spot before Kirsten Flower pulled Tech to within one point when she rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Whitney Deason at No. 5 singles.
Fifty-sixth ranked Noelle Hickey then evened the match at 3-3 when she defeated Stanford’s 58th-ranked Carolyn McVeigh, 6-2, 6-3, at the No. 6 spot to set up the top singles line for the deciding match.
“Noelle came up huge for us tonight, and played like a senior,” Shelton added. “Amanda was able to break free after getting killed in the first set, and then it came down to Kirsten (to tie the match), and she played with unbelievable emotion tonight.
“Finally it came down to Kristi, our captain, and it was fitting for her to clinch the match for us in the end. We were just one set away, so many times, from losing to one of the premier teams in the country, but our team didn’t give up and I couldn’t be more proud of them tonight.”
Miller dropped a first-set tiebreaker to 39th-ranked Lindsay Burdette before breezing through the next two sets to win, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-3, to secure the Jackets’ appearance in Sunday’s final match, which begins at 11 a.m. CT.
Tennis Match ResultsGeorgia Tech vs StanfordFeb 09, 2008 at Madison, Wisc.
#4 Georgia Tech 4, #1 Stanford 3
Singles competition 1. #7 Kristi Miller (GT) def. #39 Lindsay Burdette (STAN) 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-3 2. #3 Amanda McDowell (GT) def. #21 Jessica Nguyen (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 3. Hilary Barte (STAN) def. #22 Whitney McCray (GT) 6-1, 7-5 4. Celia Durkin (STAN) def. #38 Christy Striplin (GT) 7-5, 6-1 5. Kirsten Flower (GT) def. Whitney Deason (STAN) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 6. #56 Noelle Hickey (GT) def. #58 Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) 6-2, 6-3
Doubles competition 1. Burdette/ Barte (STAN) def. Miller/ Flower (GT) 8-5 2. Deason/ Nguyen (STAN) def. McCray/ McDowell (GT) 8-5 3. Striplin/Noelle Hickey (GT) def. Celia Durkin/Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) 8-2
Match Notes: Georgia Tech 5-1; National ranking #4 Stanford 3-1; National ranking #1 Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,4,2,5,6,1)