No. 9 Cal Tops No. 26 Georgia Tech 4-0 In Sweet 16
Yellow Jackets won seven of season's final nine dual matches
May 17, 2012
Athens, Ga. - The 26th-ranked Georgia Tech women's tennis team fell in the NCAA Championships Sweet 16 4-0 to ninth-ranked Cal Thursday morning on the McWhorter Courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Center in Athens, Ga.
Cal improved to 20-6 and will face No. 1 UCLA in the Elite Eight. The Yellow Jackets end their season 16-12, but won seven of their final nine matches. Tech senior Jillian O'Neill will compete in the NCAA Singles Championship and O'Neill along with doubles teammate Alex Anghelescu will play in the NCAA Doubles Championship, both begin next week also in Athens.
"It was a great season," head coach Bryan Shelton said. "I felt like we got better at the end which is what you want to do. I think we dealt with some adversity throughout the year. Some of the girls had ups and downs, from confidence to injuries to different things they battled, but overall they stuck together and stuck with it. That's where I'm proud because once we got midway through the ACC season and didn't have a lot of success against the tougher teams, we could've folded a little bit. And this team didn't, they kept coming out to practice and working hard. Their idea was `let's keep developing, let's keep getting better.'
"There are a lot of positives," Shelton continued. "This team did academically better than any team I've ever had, finishing with a 3.72. To do that at Georgia Tech is pretty impressive. And to play at this level and reach the final 16 says a lot about the team and the program and that things are in good order. The future is bright. For the ones that are coming back, I'm looking forward to working with them this summer, having them develop, keep getting better and next year making a better run at this thing."
Cal took the early lead when the Bears clinched the doubles point. Playing at No. 1 doubles for Cal was the 15th-ranked pair of Jana Juricova and Zsofi Susanyi downing Tech's 11th-ranked team of Jillian O'Neill and Alex Anghelescu, 8-3.
Caroline Lilley and Muriel Wacker improved to 4-1 on the year with an 8-3 win over the Bear's Alice Duranteau and Cecilia Estlander on court three. Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn fought hard and rallied from down 5-2 to pull within 5-4, but the Bear's fifth-ranked side of Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting pulled away for the 8-4 win.
The Bears carried the momentum from doubles play into singles action and really put the pressure on Tech.
"You want to cut that deficit down as quickly as possible when you take the singles courts down 1-0 and we weren't able to do that today," Shelton said.
Playing from the No. 2 position of the Cal lineup, 13th-ranked Susanyi edged Tech's Lilley, 6-3, 6-0, to put the Bears up 2-0. After winning a hard-fought first set 6-4, 30th-ranked Schutting downed Kilborn 6-1 in the second set on court three to extend Cal's lead to 3-0.
Blau fought her way to a 6-3 first set win over Duranteau on court five and was leading 5-3 in the second when the matched was clinched. Viet Ha Ngo battled her way to a 7-5 first set victory over No. 67 Goransson and was leading 3-2 when the match was suspended. Anghelescu and No. 48 Tayler Davis were locked in a long, tight match on court four. Davis grabbed a 7-5 first set win, but Anghelescu claimed the first game of the second set.
In a battle of highly-ranked individuals on court one, the Bears' No. 8 Juricova proved why she is one of the favorites in next week's singles championship with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Tech's No. 11 O'Neill to punch the Bears' ticket to the Elite Eight.
Shelton and assistant coach will welcome the nation's second-ranked recruiting class of Catherine Harrison, Megan Kurey, Natasha Prokhnevska and Kendal Woodard as freshman next season.
"Some of our incoming freshmen have been out," Shelton said. "Megan was here today, Catherine came last weekend to Alabama, Kendal has been to a bunch of matches. They're excited, they know what's in store. Being around us, coming and visiting, I think that's going to be a positive. The players coming back are certainly going to be ready. I think Liz is in a position to be the leader of this team and take that role on. She kind of adopted that late in the season. She's our emotional leader, she's steady, comes ready to practice every day and doesn't take any days off. When you have that kind of leadership in a senior coming back, that's huge for us."
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#9 California (20-6) def. #26 Georgia Tech (16-12), 4-0
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