Tech Faces Stern Tests in ITA Kick-Off Weekend
Yellow Jackets take on Fresno State in opening round Friday
Jan. 24, 2013
THE FLATS - Georgia Tech takes its 2-0 record to Los Angeles, Calif., to participate in one of 16 ITA Kick-Off Weekend events hosted by No. 2-ranked Southern California Friday and Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets open Friday against Fresno State at 4 p.m. Eastern time, while No. 67 San Diego State takes on the host Trojans. The winners meet Saturday for the right to play in the ITA National Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., Feb. 15-17 (9 p.m. ET), while the losers compete in a consolation match (6 p.m. ET).
Fifteen universities are hosting ITA Kick-Off Weekend events, designated as host sites in order of their year-end 2012 ITA team ranking. Three visiting schools travel to each host site for a four-team tournament with the host school facing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed playing the No. 3 seed. The winners will come back the following day to play for a berth at the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship.
USC, the host team in Los Angeles, looks to pick up where they left off last year as the four-time defending NCAA Champion has seven players in the ITA College Tennis Rankings of 2013.
"We're excited to be in this event and compete against some of the best programs in the nation this weekend," said Tech coach Kenny Thorne. "It's a terrific early opportunity to see some teams outside our part of the country and see our young guys go toe-to-toe against some great competition."
The Yellow Jackets began the dual match season with a pair of homecourt victories last Friday against Old Dominion (5-2) and Lipscomb (4-3), getting solid contributions from underclassmen.
Sophomores Vikram Hundal of Alpharetta, Ga., and Eduardo Segura of Madrid, Spain each won a pair of singles matches and captured the deciding point for Tech, Hundal against the Monarchs and Segura against the Bison. Freshman Nathan Rakitt of Marietta, Ga., also won both his singles matches Friday.
Their victories were important because senior All-American Juan Spir lost his match at No. 1 against ODU and was unable to play against Lipscomb due to illness. Fellow senior Juan Melian, who won his match at No. 2 against ODU to run his record to 4-0 this spring, stepped up to the top position against Lipscomb but had to retire due to an ankle injury.
The Yellow Jackets swept the doubles point in each match, anchored by the nation's No. 3 team of Spir and Hundal, who won twice to remain undefeated this spring and run their overall record to 13-1 for the year. Melian and Rakitt played at No. 2, and freshman Garrett Gordon and Segura played at No. 3, each cruising to easy victories against ODU before pulling out close matches against Lipscomb.