March 8, 2009
ATLANTA – Sophomore Noelle Hickey clinched the match with a three-set victory over Katie Rybakova to lead the No. 8 Georgia Tech women’s tennis team to a 5-2 win over No. 17 Florida State (6-3, 0-1 ACC) Sunday afternoon at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
Hickey, ranked No. 53 in the nation, dropped the opening set 6-2 to No. 41 Rybakova before battling back to win a second-set tiebreaker and then holding her off in the third set for a 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 win to help the Yellow Jackets (7-4, 2-1) to their second straight victory.
“It was just another great effort from Noelle today,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “She has been rolling of late and when she rolled her ankle, she continued to roll. It was very gutsy of her and for her to clinch the match for us was a true testament to her competitive spirit.
“We knew this would be a tough weekend. It was great to play outside and play in front of her fans. They helped us to both victories this weekend.”
For the second straight match, the Jackets opened the day by taking the doubles point. The No. 16 duo of Christy Striplin and Hickey, playing in the top doubles flight, defeated Noemie Scharle and Katie Rybakova, 8-4. Irina Falconi and Sasha Krupina clinched the point with an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles over Federica Suess and Jessica Sucupira. Lynn Blau and Amanda McDowell completed the sweep for the Jackets with a 9-7 win over Lauren Macfarlane and Bonny Davidson on court three.
“The girls really accepted the changes we have made this week to the doubles lineup and have worked really hard to get things right on the court,” Shelton said. “It paid off for us this weekend.”
The Jackets took a commanding 3-0 lead on the Seminoles after Falconi and McDowell picked up straight-set victories in the first and third flights, respectively. Falconi, the fifth-ranked player in the nation, defeated Scharle, 6-1, 6-4 and No. 18 McDowell earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over Macfarlane.
“We knew we had to solidify the top part of the lineup and I believe we did that this weekend,” Shelton added.
Florida State picked up its first point of the day when Sucupira defeated Viet Ha Ngo, 6-1, 6-4, on court No. 6 before Hickey earned the clinching victory for the Jackets.
Blau closed out the day with the Jackets fifth point after earning a tough 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 win over Ania Rynarzewska in the fifth singles flight.
“Lynn is getting some valuable experience as a freshman,” Shelton said. “For her to get two wins in ACC matches in her first two dual-matches ever bodes well for the future. She is a great girl and she is going to do great things for us.”
Tech will conclude its four-match homestand next Saturday when it hosts No. 3 Notre Dame at 1 p.m. The Jackets have scheduled this match as their “Ace for the Cure” and will raise money through pledges and donations for the Atlanta Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.