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Yellow Jackets Host Vanderbilt In Top 25 Matchup Saturday

Feb. 1, 2013

THE FLATS – The 22nd-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team (2-1) will return to the Ken Byers Tennis Complex to the host the 21st-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores (3-0) at 12 p.m. Saturday. The Yellow Jackets will be trying to improve to 2-0 at the Byers Tennis Complex, which opened Jan. 17.

Tech is coming off a 1-1 weekend with a 4-2 win over then-No. 23 Tennessee at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Lincoln, Neb. The Commodores defeated Illinois and Yale at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Oxford, Miss., and beat No. 14 Northwestern 4-2 on Thursday, Jan. 31.

“It’ll be great to back home and have another opportunity for us to improve our games,” head coach Rodney Harmon said. “I think it’ll be a great match. Vandy has a great program, Geoff Macdonald has done a phenomenal job there building a program for years, they are always very strong and it’ll be an extremely competitive match.”

Tech suffered its first loss of the year, a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to No. 18 Notre Dame at the Kick-Off Weekend before rebounding with the victory over the Lady Vols.

“I think we built some momentum from the win over Tennessee, but I think we got some momentum from our match against Notre Dame too,” Harmon said. “We won the doubles point and so far haven’t lost the doubles point in any dual match we’ve played. We played some very competitive singles matches as well. Saturday we’re going to need to play doubles well at all three spots and we’re going to have to compete at all six singles spots. We need everyone to compete and play hard because we’re playing such high quality opponents. We have seen a lot of improvement in our games since September.”

Tech’s freshmen duo of Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard boast a 7-3 record in doubles play and have won all three matches in dual action. Junior Muriel Wacker and freshman Natasha Prokhnevska are 5-1 in doubles and are also undefeated in dual play.

“It’s a huge advantage to win the doubles point,” Harmon said. “It definitely takes the pressure off going into singles because you know if you split singles, you’ve won. It helps momentum; you go into singles on a high. I would rather win the doubles point each time but ultimately you have to win 3-4 singles matches to win the dual match. You still have to get after it at each position and you need each player to focus and compete as hard as they can.”

Senior Elizabeth Kilborn is 9-8 overall and 2-1 this spring playing at the No. 1 position of the lineup. Kilborn is ranked No. 39 in singles, the only Jacket to earn a ranking and has knocked off four ranked foes this year. Kurey, Prokhnevska and Woodard all have nine singles wins as well.

Vanderbilt brings three players ranked by the ITA, but only one in the top 100, Marie Casares at No. 91.The Commodores will be the fourth top-25 team Tech has faced this springs.

“I think the reason student-athletes come to Georgia Tech is to get a great education but they know we’re in maybe the toughest conference for women’s tennis,” Harmon added. “You come here because you want to play great teams and great players, improve your game and get a great education. That’s why they’re here and that’s why we’re excited for our match against Vandy.”

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.



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