March 1, 2007
ATLANTA – The sixth-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team will begin defending their Atlantic Coast Conference title this weekend when they travel to Clemson to take on the Tigers in the first ACC match of the season for both teams. The match is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. (a change from previously-printed schedules) at the Hoke A. Sloan Tennis Center on the campus of Clemson University.
“We are excited about opening our ACC campaign and it’s nice to know that we will have the support of the SWARM coming over with us this weekend,” said Georgia Tech head coach Bryan Shelton of the Georgia Tech student spirit organization. “We have had great support already in our two home matches, and it is nice to know that we are going to be supported on the road like that. It will create a great atmosphere, which will just add to the great matches that we already have with Clemson.”
Georgia Tech (8-3) is coming off a tough loss on the road to the University of Georgia Wednesday evening, while the 13th-ranked Tigers are 7-2 entering their match against No. 75 South Alabama Thursday afternoon.
Saturday’s match will be the 28th in history between the two teams, dating back to 1984. Despite the Tigers’ 21-6 lead in the series, the Yellow Jackets have held the edge of late, winning each of the last three, including a 4-1 victory over Clemson in the 2006 ACC Tournament. Three of Georgia Tech’s six wins in the series have come in Clemson.
“I think that we’ve had one of the toughest schedules in the nation this year, with no easy matches in there, and we know that it has prepared us for the ACC portion of our season, as well as any postseason play,” said Shelton. “Although we have taken a few losses, we are getting stronger, and I’m looking forward to a lot of great things ahead for this season.”
The Yellow Jackets boast an entire lineup of ranked singles players, led by junior Kristi Miller, who stands at No. 10 in the nation. Kirsten Flower, a freshman from Columbus Ohio, is ranked 18th while sophomore Christy Striplin rounds out the Jackets ranked in the top-30 at No. 27.
Senior Alison Silverio moved to No. 41 in the rankings last week after a strong start to the spring, while freshman Amanda Craddock stands 45th in the nation. Whitney McCray cracks the top-50, standing at No. 50, and freshman Amanda McDowell gives the Jackets seven players in the top-75, appearing at No. 74. Senior Tarryn Rudman rounds out the team with a No. 82 singles ranking.
The junior duo of McCray and Miller, Tech’s top doubles team, stand at No. 18 in the nation in the latest doubles poll.
“It is great to have a team that is as deep as ours,” added Shelton. “We are fortunate, this year, to have everyone healthy. The girls have taken advantage of their opportunities and because of that we hope to be well-represented at the end of the year in the individual portion of the NCAA Tournament.”
Following the match in Clemson, the Jackets will hit the road for a pair of conference matches the following weekend at Maryland and Boston College.