No. 16 GT advances in ACC tourney
Yellow Jackets avenge early season loss to Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. - Rain and chilly weather couldn't cool off the Georgia Tech (19-4) as the 16th ranked Yellow Jackets downed the No. 25 Miami Hurricanes (14-8), 4-1, on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
The match was played indoors at NC State's J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center due to the rain.
"I felt like moving indoors was fine with us," head coach Kenny Thorne said. "You hope to play matches outdoors. The ACC Championship is an outdoor event, but we talked to the guys about being ready for a lot of rain delays or possibly coming indoors. I think we handled it very well."
In Tech's 4-3 loss at Miami in the regular season, the Yellow Jackets lost the doubles point. Thorne knew that the Jackets would need to come out and play well from the start.
Eilot Potvin and Ryan Smith were able to earn an 8-5 win over the Hurricanes' Christian Blocker and Carl Sundberg from the number two position of the lineup. After not playing yesterday, Juan Spir was inserted back into the lineup and teamed up with Kevin King as the duo is ranked No. 14 nationally. Spir and King were up 8-7 while Guillermo Gomez and Dean O'Brien were up 7-6 on court three.
Spir and King were able to close out there match first, 9-7, while Gomez and O'Brien were up 30-15 in their game when Tech's number one duo clinched the first point of the day.
"I felt like our doubles, all three matches, the guys came out well, even though we got down 3-0 on court one, we got Juan back in the lineup which I think is very important for our team," Thorne said. "Juan and Kevin played with a lot of poise to get back in the match and settled in. I feel like three or four points on each of the matches were going to make the difference, winning the doubles point or not. We played with a lot of poise in those few points and we won the doubles point and we were about to win the third match. I thought that was a good start to the match, that we were able to close out two close matches to get the doubles point, especially when we lost it down at their place."
The J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center on the NC State campus only houses four indoor courts, so the Jackets and Hurricanes sent out their top four singles to begin play.
Tech was able to win the first set on courts one, two and four, while the Hurricanes were able to get a first set win on court three. The Jackets' 14th ranked Gomez was the first to finish a win, 6-3, 6-4, over Miami's Crowley and put Tech up 2-0 in the team score.
King cruised through his first set for the Jackets 6-1, but was pitted in a battle in the second set. King was able to pull out a 7-6 second set win and give the Yellow Jackets a 3-0 lead, one point within reach of a semifinal berth.
"It would've been nice to get all six guys out there, but I felt very comfortable about who we put on the court," Thorne said. "All four of those guys have been competing well, so I felt pretty good about keeping the momentum going. I felt like Guillermo getting up early, Kevin getting up early, and Magin right away kind of kept the pressure on Miami a lot. We were always kind of on top of them. Sometimes you can let it slip, but our guys really stayed focused the whole match and closed it out well. The opportunities we had to finish matches, we did. It was a very good win for us because Miami played well."
The Hurricanes would get their only point of the day on court three as Sundberg downed Potvin, 6-3, 7-6. Georgia Tech's Magin Ortiga finished off a 6-4, 6-4 win at nearly the same time to clinch a Yellow Jacket victory and send Tech into the ACC Semifinals for the second straight year.
The Yellow Jackets will face a familiar nemesis as they will take on No. 1 Virginia at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Cavaliers knocked Tech out of last year's ACC Tournament 4-1 and UVA downed the Jackets 6-1 on the final day of the regular season in Charlottesville.
"I think it's good to have our last match with Virginia fresh in our minds," Thorne said. "We were just at their house not long ago and they had a lot of people out there. It's nice to get them at a neutral site. It's nice to have each of the matches fresh in our minds. It'll be fresh in their minds, so they'll know us very well, just like we know them. They're a very good team, they're undefeated, they're deserving of their ranking. I think our guys are going out to play individual matches and not necessarily worry about the team. I think it's going to be a very good match for us."