No. 16 GT advances in ACC tourney
Yellow Jackets cruise to 4-1 victory against Terrapins
CARY, N.C. - No. 16 Georgia Tech (13-9) avenged one of its regular season ACC losses with a 4-1 victory over Maryland (13-9) on the first day of the ACC Women's Tennis Tournament at the Cary Tennis Park.
"It feels good to come out and get a win over a team that beat us earlier in the year," head coach Bryan Shelton said. "I think the tournament comes down to what have you learned throughout the season and can you go out and execute the things you've learned. That's the beauty of getting to see a team twice, you can game plan and figure some things out. Some of the girls we hadn't seen before, now we have. That was helpful. I thought our team did a very good job of being poised and executing under pressure. It's nice to get the doubles point to start the day."
As has been the key to the Yellow Jackets success all season, the doubles play was again key today. Tech's No. 1 doubles team, ranked No. 28 nationally, of Caroline Lilley and Jillian O'Neill dominated Maryland's 22nd ranked tandem of Christina Sanchez-Quintanar and Jordaan Sanford, 8-2, to earn the first advantage.
After falling behind 7-2 early, Tech's No. 2 pair of Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn fought back within 7-5 before falling 8-5. With the doubles point down to the match on court three, Tech's Sasha Krupina and Viet Ha Ngo were able to hold off the Terrapins' Cristina Stancu and Jordan Hansbrough to give Tech an early 1-0 lead.
Ngo cruised through her first set 6-0 and earned a win when Sanford retired on court three, putting the Yellow Jackets up 2-0. Kilborn avenged an earlier loss to Maryland's Julia Huschke by posting a dominant 6-2, 6-0 win on court six. Lilley lost a tough 6-2, 6-3 match on court two to Maryland's Belzunce to make the team score 3-1 in favor of the Yellow Jackets.
With three matches remaining, on courts one, four and five, each headed to the third set with Georgia Tech needing to win just one of the final three sets in order to advance. O'Neill was locked in a battle with the 24th ranked Sanchez-Quintanar, a match that ended with O'Neill holding a slim 4-3 lead in the third set.
Blau and Krupina both posted decisive second set wins and with Krupina up 4-3 in her final set, Blau continued her hot streak and claimed a 6-0 third set victory to send Georgia Tech through to the second round.
"For Elizabeth to come out of the gates firing, I think she'll probably want to have a residence here in Cary one day," Shelton joked. "She seems like this place, it brings out her very best, or maybe it's just the tournament. I think it was fitting for Lynn to clinch today, because they are two girls that were here battling here for us last year. All in all, it was a team effort. All the girls did well today.
"I think being able to watch the video from our first match against Maryland, go through it, and for the team to see it and see the doubles and exactly how we lost the match, and be able to work on some of those things and come out here and try to execute what we've been working on, I thought our girls did a great job of it," Shelton said. "Viet Ha lost last time love and love. She came out of the blocks ready to go today. For her to be able to turn it around in doubles and singles today, I think was huge as well. Overall, up and down the line, I thought we did a good job."