Tech Hosting NC State, Wake Forest in Key ACC Matches
No. 21 Yellow Jackets will honor Nolan Blake, their adopted teammate, at Wake match
March 24, 2011
ATLANTA - Georgia Tech's 21st-ranked men's tennis team, coming off a 12-day break since its last match, hosts two important Atlantic Coast Conference matches this weekend, entertaining No. 54 NC State Friday at 2:30 p.m. and No. 39 Wake Forest Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
Tech, 10-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC, has defeated 36th-ranked Florida State at home and lost to No. 34 Miami on the road in its two conference matches thus far. The Yellow Jackets are undefeated at home in seven matches, three of those against ranked teams. They have just four home matches remaining in the regular season.
Tech defeated both teams on the road last year, pulling out a 4-3 win at Wake Forest with All-American Guillermo Gomez winning the deciding match, then capturing a 6-1 win at NC State.
"We just had our last small break from matches, and now we will sprint all the way through the ACC tournament," said head coach Kenny Thorne. "We had a chance to reflect on the first part of the season and prepare for the second part. We also had a chance to get in a little better shape. Both NC State and Wake Forest are very good teams. We had very close matches with both of them last year and were fortunate to win both. Our guys are ready to go and it should be two great matches."
For Sunday's match, Tech will honor Nolan Blake, an 8-year-old cancer patient whom the team adopted last year through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, an organization that helps young cancer patients develop relationships with high school or college sports teams. Donations for the Friends of Jaclyn will be accepted, and the team will be raising awareness for the organization.
"Unfortunately athletes many times get too used to having things done for them," said Thorne. "We have a team that understands it isn't about us! We connected with Nolan and although we are trying to encourage him in his fight with cancer, he is our encourager by staying so strong through his battle. I was fortunate this past Sunday to be able to take Nolan and his family to church with my family. He looked great and had such good energy so we are looking forward to having him out to our match against Wake Forest. He is a champion at heart."
TECH UPDATE: Two Georgia Tech players are ranked among the top 60 in the nation in singles in this week's ITA rankings - No. 1 singles player Guillermo Gomez is ranked No. 14, and No. 2 player Juan Spir is No. 57. The Yellow Jackets' doubles team of Kevin King and Juan Spir are ranked No. 11.
All-American Gomez has won four straight matches, including both ACC contests, and eight of his last nine to improve his record to 10-2 in the spring, 21-6 overall. The senior from Alicante, Spain, has 106 career singles victories, six shy of Thorne's career mark of 112. Spir, playing No. 2 for the Jackets, is 1-1 in ACC play. He is 8-3 in the spring, 19-7 overall.
Spir and King are 8-2 in doubles matches this spring, having defeated five ranked tandems out of 23 total victories this year. Gomez and Dean O'Brien, who play No. 3 doubles, have the Jackets' best spring record at 11-1.
ACC UPDATE: Four teams are undefeated in conference play heading into this weekend, including top-ranked Virginia and Miami, both 3-0. North Carolina and Duke are both 2-0. Virginia Tech is in fifth place at 2-1, followed by the Yellow Jackets.
NC STATE/WAKE FOREST UPDATE: The Wolfpack, ranked 54th in the nation, are 8-6 overall and have lost their first two ACC matches to North Carolina and Duke. The Demon Deacons, ranked 39th, enter the weekend 6-6 overall and 0-2 in the ACC with losses to the same two teams.
UP NEXT: Tech visits Clemson for an ACC match Wednesday, March 30, at 2:30 p.m.