Georgia Tech Women's Tennis Downs Georgia State 5-2
Caroline Lilley clinches Yellow Jacket ITA opening win
Jan. 27, 2012
Atlanta - Senior Caroline Lilley clinched Georgia Tech women's tennis (2-1) 5-2 win over Georgia State (2-1) in the ITA KickOff Weekend with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 win over the Panthers' Tereza Lerova on court two.
The Yellow Jackets will now face 27th-ranked South Carolina (2-0) at 2 p.m. for a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships to be held February 10-13 at the Boar's Head Tennis Club in Charlottesville, Va.
"I thought Georgia State played really well today and I give them a lot of credit," head coach Bryan Shelton said. "I think [head coach] Miha Lisac has done a tremendous job of putting a great squad together. Not only were they talented, but they competed like champs. They certainly pushed us to the limit. It's certainly the best Georgia State team I've seen in my 12 years at Georgia Tech. I was really proud of our team for hanging in there and staying tough. It was our first outdoor match of the season. What a great way to open the outdoor season here at Georgia Tech with an exciting match."
For the third time in three matches, Georgia Tech grabbed the first point of the day with a win in doubles play.
Tech's top team of senior Jillian O'Neill and sophomore Alex Anghelescu made quick work of the Panthers' pair of Maryna Kozachenko and Abigail Tere-Apisah, 8-2, to give the Yellow Jackets an early advantage.
"It was good to see [Jillian and Alex] start the match so quickly today," Shelton said. "In our last match against Memphis, they got off to a little bit of a slow start and finished strong. Today they started strong and finished strong. It was nice to see them be the catalyst for our team and get that first doubles win for us, and give us an opportunity to win the doubles point."
The Jackets' 33rd-ranked team of senior Caroline Lilley and freshman Jasmine Minor gave Tech win with an 8-4 win on court two over the Panthers' Whitney Byrd and Tereza Lerova. Lilley hit several over-hand slams to get the Panthers running all over the court before Minor hit a cross-court cut for the win.
Tech came out firing in singles play, winning quick first sets on courts two, three, five and six. Senior Lynn Blau finished off a 6-1, 6-1 win over the Panthers' Grgan on court five to put the Yellow Jackets up 2-0. Junior Elizabeth Kilborn soon followed that with a 6-0, 6-1 win over GSU's Kozachenko on court three to put Tech within one point of the team win.
"Those two [Lynn and Elizabeth] were able to get out of the gates, really set up their plays, understood what they wanted to do and they were able to execute. They got on offense early in the point and they were finishing at the net, which was a good sign for them today," Shelton said.
Georgia State got on the board with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Tech's Alex Anghelescu on court six.
The Yellow Jackets would have lengthy battles in the final three sets - all of which took over three hours to finish - for the win.
Courts one, two and four all went to decisive third sets with Tech needing only one point for the win. Lilley claimed an easy 6-2 first set win, but dropped a hard-fought 7-6 second set. The Portland, Ore., native responded with a resounding 6-1 third-set win to clinch the Georgia Tech victory.
Minor, who fell behind 4-0 in the first set, fought back to tie the set at 4-4, before falling 6-4 in the opener. She responded to with 6-4 wins in the second and third sets to beat the Panthers' Whitney Byrd.
"Jasmine is a warrior out there," Shelton said. "She's starting to establish herself as one of the better competitors. I like it because she has a no quit attitude and she just keeps firing. She wasn't always playing her best tennis, but by no means was she out of it. She continued to compete til the last ball. She's doing things that a lot of freshmen don't do. To be able to be composed, and fight back, continue to battle this early in her freshman year is a good sign for great things to come."
The Panthers got a final point when Tere-Apisah downed O'Neill 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 at the No. 1 position.
"You want to be tested, you want to be pushed, and you want to come through in the end," Shelton said. "All of these matches, all of the experience we got today is only going to help us as we move forward. It's going to help us tomorrow against South Carolina and help us throughout the season. It was a hard fought win and I'm very proud of this team for the way they stuck in there today and were able to get the job done."
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.
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2)
Singles (Order of Finish: (5, 3, 6, 2, 4, 1)
-- RamblinWreck.com --