April 17, 2010
It’s more than absurd, this embarrassment of men’s tennis riches that No. 1 Virginia is bringing to Georgia Tech today.
Yellow Jackets coach Kenny Thorne, however, is not laughing. He wants to win, and believes No. 26 Tech has a legitimate shot at picking off a team that has won 55 straight ACC matches dating back nearly half a decade.
Tech has picked off a No. 1 Virginia squad before. “They’re undefeated in the ACC, and we’re undefeated at home,” Thorne said of today’s 1 p.m. match, which is free for all at the Bill Moore Tennis Center. “It should be really good tennis.”
Virginia (30-1, 9-0 ACC) has seven players ranked in the top 103 in the nation, and only six can compete at a time in dual matches. The No. 1 singles match between Tech’s Guillermo Gomez, who is ranked No. 4, and Virginia’s Michael Shabaz, who is No. 3, will headline – if everything goes down. Injuries can affect lineups.
Thorne’s trying to get his team back on track. Tech won eight straight before losing back-to-back matches on last weekend at Duke (4-3) and North Carolina (5-2), who both fell earlier in the season by a 4-3 score to Virginia.
Virginia’s 14-man roster, which includes freshman Jarmere Jenkins of College Park, Ga., has players from Hong Kong, the Netherlands, India, Guatemala, Colombia, Los Angeles, and other exotic places like Tulsa and Brentwood, Tenn.
“I think throughout the course of the season when you’re playing as many tough teams as we play, you’re going to have a bad match every once in a while,” Thorne said. “I feel like we put a lot into the Duke match, and came within a tiebreaker of winning it, and [Tech was emotionally down the next day against North Carolina].
“This weekend [which includes a match Saturday at home against No. 21 Virginia Tech] is an absolute combination of being able to play our best in both matches, not just one. We’ll find out this weekend what we learned.”