Jan. 14, 2012
Ann Arbor, Mich. – The 13th-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team opened its spring season in impressive fashion Saturday, posting a perfect 8-0 mark in singles action on day one of the three-day Michigan Invitational.
The Yellow Jackets first meeting with the Arkansas Razorbacks, ranked No. 24 in the first Campbell’s/ITA Division I Tennis Rankings, couldn’t have gone much better for Tech in singles play. In seven singles matches against the Razorbacks, the Yellow Jackets lost only one set.
“I thought it was pretty evident our team did some work over the break and holiday,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “It was good to see us come out fit, ready to play and eager to go. I didn’t think we were necessarily at our best today, but we played solid and smart. If we can continue to build on today, we’ll get a lot out of the weekend.
“Any time you can have a day like today where we executed pretty well and won a lot of matches in straight sets and fairly decisively, it really helps build confidence,” Shelton added. “We didn’t hit the ball as well as we could have, but we found ways to get the job done. When you can win when you’re not at your very best, it makes it that much easier when you are. Mentally, that’s where we want to be. We were resilient and got the job done.”
Senior Jillian O’Neill, ranked No. 45, dispatched of Arkansas’ Claudine Paulson 6-3, 6-0 from the top spot of the lineup. Fellow senior Caroline Lilley defeated Emily Carbone 6-3, 6-2 from the No. 2 position.
The third senior at the top of the Tech lineup, Viet Ha Ngo, ranked No. 106, cruised past Arkansas’ Stephanie Roy, 6-3, 6-1, from the third position. Junior Elizabeth Kilborn took a 6-3 first set from Arkansas’ Kate Lukomskaya, but had to battle for a 7-5 second set win to take the match at the No. 4 spot.
Senior Lynn Blau toughed out a 6-4 first set win before taking a 6-2 second set win over UA’s Abby Hayley at No. 5. Sophomore Alex Anghelescu blanked the Razorbacks’ Laurie Gingras 6-0 in the first set. Gingras extended the match with a 6-4 second set win, but Anghelescu rebounded with an easy 6-1 third set win.
Freshman Jasmine Minor rounded out Tech’s perfect 7-0 mark against Arkansas with a 6-2, 6-3 win over UA’s Catherine Parenteau.
The Yellow Jackets split four doubles matches with Washington in the afternoon session. Playing together from the No. 2 position, Anghelescu and O’Neill battled past Washington’s side of Andjela Nemcevic and Capucine Gregoire, 8-6. Lilley and Minor, Tech’s only ranked pair at No. 33, cruised past the Huskies’ team of Natali Coronel and Riko Shimizu, 8-0, from the third spot in the lineup.
The Tech team of Blau and Kilborn tallied an 8-3 win over Washington’s pair of Julija Lukac and Adrijana Pavlovic to give the Yellow Jackets a 3-1 advantage over the Huskies in doubles play.
“Doubles is one area we’ve focused in on,” Shelton said. “I feel like the work we’re putting in is starting to pay off. We weren’t as sharp today as how we ended the fall. When you’re off only 10 or 15 percent, it can make a big difference. We’re getting better and better, but most of our teams haven’t played too many matches together yet so there is room for improvement, for the teams to build chemistry, gel and get better.”
Sophomore Muriel Wacker capped Tech’s perfect singles day with a 6-2, 6-0 win over UW’s Shimizu to finish the day.
“It was good to see Muriel bounce back after a loss in doubles, and play really well to get a singles win,” Shelton said.
The Yellow Jackets will face Washington in singles play, beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday. The Huskies are led by senior Denise Dy, ranked 10th. Tech will take on host Michigan, led by 24th-ranked team of Brooke Bolender and Emina Bektas, in doubles at 1 p.m. Live scoring and video can be found here.
“I’m hoping we really get pushed tomorrow,” Shelton said. “We only had to go three sets in one match today. I want to see how we respond in tighter situations with our backs against the wall, to see how we respond when a team takes a good shot at us. I expect to be pushed hard the next two days. I think if we are, we’ll find out how mentally tough we are. You find out what you’re all about when facing adversity. This is the fun part of the year, when we get to go out and compete.”
Fans are encouraged to follow Georgia Tech women’s tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, and like the Yellow Jackets on Facebook, GTWomensTennis, for an inside look at the program.
Georgia Tech vs. Arkansas
No. 1 — No. 45 Jillian O’Neill (GT) d. Claudine Paulson (Ark), 6-3, 6-0
No. 2 — Caroline Lilley (GT) d. Emily Carbone (Ark), 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 — No. 106 Viet Ha Ngo (GT) d. Stephanie Roy (Ark), 6-3, 6-1
No. 4 — Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) d. Kate Lukomskaya (Ark), 6-3, 7-5
No. 5 — Lynn Blau (GT) d. Abby Hayley (Ark), 6-4, 6-2
No. 6 — Alex Anghelescu (GT) d. Laurie Gingras (Ark), 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
No. 7 — Jasmine Minor (GT) d. Catherine Parenteau (Ark), 6-2, 6-3
Muriel Wacker (GT) d. Riko Shimizu (UW), 6-2, 6-0
Georgia Tech vs. Washington
No. 1 — Denise Dy / Samantha Smith (UW) d. Muriel Wacker / Viet Ha Ngo (GT), 8-2
No. 2 — Alex Anghelescu / Jillian O’Neill (GT) d. Andjela Nemcevic / Capucine Gregoire (UW), 8-6
No. 3 — No. 33 Caroline Lilley / Jasmine Minor (GT) d. Natali Coronel / Riko Shimizu (UW), 8-0
No. 4 — Elizabeth Kilborn / Lynn Blau (GT) d. Julija Lukac / Adrijana Pavlovic (UW), 8-3
— RamblinWreck.com —