May 2, 2002
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech men’s tennis team earned its second-straight at-large berth into the NCAA Championships and the third bid in the last four years, when the field of 64 teams was announced on Thursday evening. The Yellow Jackets (15-10) will travel to Athens, Ga., to face South Carolina (16-8) in the first round of competition on May 10 or 11. The first two rounds will be held at the Dan Magill Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Georgia. Along with the team bid, Tech junior Roger Anderson earned a berth in the singles championship for the first time in his career, which will get under way in College Station, Texas, on May 22.
“Well, we certainly know how to get to Athens,” said Tech head coach Kenny Thorne. “Obviously our focus will be on South Carolina. We lost to them earlier in the year and they are a talented team and they had a great year. Hopefully we can match up well with them this time around. Getting into the NCAA Tournament is goal number one and we’ve done that. The regional is close to home to hopefully we can get a lot people out to support us.”
The Jackets’ 2002 appearance will be the sixth in the history of the program, as head coach Kenny Thorne has now led Tech to the NCAAs in three of his four seasons at the helm. Georgia Tech has nearly broken even in its five previous appearances, holding a 5-6 record in those matches. The Yellow Jackets’ top performance in the tourney came in 1994, when Tech reached the round of 16 in Notre Dame, Ind., before falling to third-ranked TCU. Last year, the Jackets defeated 37th-ranked Arizona in the first round before falling to top-ranked Georgia in the regional final in Athens, Ga. Tech also faced the Gamecocks earlier this year, with South Carolina claiming a 5-2 win on March 20.
All-ACC performer Anderson along with the doubles tandem of West Nott and Scott Schnugg have been among the leaders for Tech entering the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Anderson, a junior standout from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, earned All-ACC honors for the second-straight year in 2002 as he led the Jackets with 28 singles wins, 15 of which came in dual matches, as he played primarily at the No. 1 singles position. Nott and Schnugg, both transfers to Tech prior to the fall, have been solid contributors in doubles play, earning a national ranking for much of the year and leading the team with a 28-9 (.757) overall record and a 19-6 (.760) mark in dual-match play.
“I’m very excited for Roger to get into the individual championships,” said Thorne. “He certainly deserved it and he improved this year and was able to beat the guys that we was supposed to beat throughout the year. He set some high goals for himself and now he has the opportunity to achieve those goals. Looking at the players in the tournament, I wouldn’t say that there is anyone there that he can’t beat. He has a chance to do very well.”
The winner of the match between Georgia Tech and South Carolina will advance to face the winner of top-seeded Georgia (23-3) and fourth-seeded Charleston Southern (17-6) in the second round with that winner advancing to the round of 16 at Texas Tech in College Station, Texas. The full draw for the tournament is available at www.ncaachampionships.com.