March 1, 2011
ATLANTA – The 21st-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis (5-4, 0-1 ACC) will make its first road trip of ACC play when it travels to Clemson, S.C., to face the 11th-ranked Clemson Tigers (10-3, 0-0 ACC) at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center on the Clemson University campus at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 2.
Yellow Jacket junior Jillian O’Neill jumped 21 spots to 40th in the Campbell’s/ITA College Tennis singles rankings after defeating Florida State’s 32nd ranked Noemie Scharle, 6-4, 6-1, on Feb. 26. Juniors Viet Ha Ngo and Caroline Lilley both made significant moves in the rankings as well with Ngo moving up to No. 84 and Lilley two spots behind at No. 86.
The Georgia Tech doubles team of Ngo and O’Neill, which has played from the No. 2 spot in the lineup most of the season moved up to No. 60 in the latest edition of the doubles rankings.
“It was good to see Jillian have some success in singles and doubles this past weekend,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “As she continues to work on her game and continues to improve, she’s going to be able to put those wins back-to-back-to-back. I think when she does that her confidence is going to continue to grow out there on the court. She’s a great striker of the ball. She can hurt you in a lot of different ways, with her serve, with her return serve. Now she’s really working on being able to win the extended rallies, the longer points, and to out-tough her opponents in the longer matches as well. I think once she starts doing that, she’s going to be a super threat out there to any player in college tennis.”
The Tigers are 9-1 at home this season, but have played only one other match outdoors, a 4-3 win over South Carolina Feb. 27. The Jackets are 2-1 in outdoor matches this season.
“Clemson is a tough and talented group,” Shelton said. “We’ve had some battles with them over the last few years, and I always expect matches with them to be a battle. For us we need to go out there and being mentally tough. We need to know that we’re going to face some adversity and be able to handle it when it comes.
“Hopefully we have another beautiful day and a good crowd out there at Clemson,” Shelton added. “I want to see our players go out there and relax and compete hard, and let the hard work they’ve been putting in pay off. I think if we do that, when we get up in the sets or at a point to win, we need to sprint through the finish line rather than slowing down. I think for our team, that’s going to be one of the big things moving forward is closing out sets and closing out matches, and doing that a little better.”
The Tigers are led by junior Josipa Bek who is ranked No. 15 nationally, while junior Keri Wong is ranked 58th in the latest rankings. Clemson’s top doubles team of Wong and Bek is ranked third.
Last season, Clemson beat Georgia Tech, 5-2, in Atlanta, but the Yellow Jackets got a 4-2 win over the Tigers when it counted – in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.
Live stats will be available through RamblinWreck.com and fans can follow Tech tennis on Twitter, @GT_WTEN, for instant updates.
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