May 12, 2006
ATLANTA–After Whitney McCray and Kelly Anderson capped a dramatic rally in doubles, the sixth-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team cruised to three straight singles wins for a 4-0 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in the first round of the NCAA Atlanta Regional, Friday at Tech’s Bill Moore Tennis Center.
Anderson, Kristi Miller and Christy Striplin won straight-set singles matches for Tech, which advances to Saturday’s regional final, scheduled for 12 noon against the winner of Friday’s second match between Tennessee and Penn. Regional winners move on to the NCAA Championships, beginning May 20 at Stanford.
The win also improved the Jackets to 22-5 on the season, breaking the school record for victories set by last year’s squad. Southeastern Louisiana finished its season at 22-4.
Tech appeared to be on verge of losing the doubles point after the Jackets No. 1 duo of Miller and Lyndsay Shosho fell, 8-4, to Breda Kovac and Nina Knavs, and McCray and Anderson trailed 7-4 at the No. 2 flight. After Tech’s Alison Silverio and Kacie Anson finished off an 8-4 victory at No. 3 doubles, McCray and Anderson won five straight games for a 9-7 win over Emilija Arnaudovska and Iva Velkovska. McCray served the final game for the victory.
“It was a bit rocky in the beginning,” said Anderson. “Everyone has a bit of nerves in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and we had to just work through that. Whitney really stepped up at the end of the doubles and we were able to pull it out.”
“We did not play well in doubles – that’s kind of an understatement,” said Miller. “We have to give credit to the team we played; they played well. Thankfully, our No. 2 doubles team really stepped it up. That’s the way it’s been working for us. If one doubles team doesn’t play so well, the other ones pick up the slack.
With a 1-0 lead and the momentum after doubles, Tech needed barely an hour to clinch the match with three singles victories. First, Striplin dispatched Bonnie Phillips, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 6 singles.
Then Miller, the nation’s No. 1-ranked singles player, defeated Kovac, 6-1, 6-1, at the No. 1 flight. Moments later, Anderson finished a 6-1, 6-2 win over Knavs at No. 5 singles. The Jackets were leading on the other three courts as well.
“We didn’t know a lot about Southeastern Louisiana, but they certainly were dangerous,” said Tech head coach Bryan Shelton, who has led the Jackets to seven straight NCAA berths. “In doubles, they came out and played extremely well.
“Down 7-4 [at No. 2 doubles] and one game away from losing that doubles point, Whitney and Kelly just hung tough, and they got better and better as the match went along. The other team didn’t really give it to us; we had to really earn it.
“The doubles was a little bit of a wake-up call. In the singles, we came out with the mindset to really work hard early in the matches. Once we got up, we just carried that momentum through.”
“They were by far the most aggressive team we’ve played this year,” said Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jason Hayes. “Every time a ball was short, they made us pay. You can see that they’re strong, fast, and very well-coached. Every time we did anything that wasn’t perfect, they took advantage of it.”
#6 Georgia Tech 4, Southeastern Louisiana 0
Singles competition 1. #1 Kristi Miller (GT) def. Breda Kovac (SL) 6-1, 6-1 2. #63 Lyndsay Shosho (GT) led Emilija Arnaudovska (SL) 6-2, 3-2 (DNF) 3. #65 Tarryn Rudman (GT) led Iva Velkovska (SL) 6-3, 4-1 (DNF) 4. #96 Alison Silverio (GT) led Jana Simurkova (SL) 6-3, 2-2 (DNF) 5. #110 Kelly Anderson (GT) def. Nina Knavs (SL) 6-1, 6-2 6. Christy Striplin (GT) def. Bonnie Phillips (SL) 6-1, 6-0
Doubles competition 1. Breda Kovac/Nina Knavs (SL) def. #10 Lyndsay Shosho/Kristi Miller (GT) 8-4 2. Kelly Anderson/Whitney McCray (GT) def. Emilija Arnaudovska/Iva Velkovska (SL) 9-7 3. Kacie Anson/Alison Silverio (GT) def. Bonnie Phillips/Jana Simurkova (SL) 8-4
Match Notes: Southeastern Louisiana 22-4 Georgia Tech 22-5; National ranking #6 Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,1,5)