Seven Yellow Jackets To Play In USTA/ITA Southeast Regional

Senior Jillian O'Neill is the third seed at this weeken'ds Southeast Regional Championship.

Oct. 20, 2011

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After two weeks without competing, the Georgia Tech women's tennis team will be back in action at the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional to be played at the Ring Tennis Complex on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Ga. Play will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The singles and doubles champion will earn an automatic berth into the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships to be held Nov. 3-6 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., home of the U.S. Open. The Southeast Region is comprised of schools from Georgia and Florida.

"I don't think you ever want to go too long without competing against outside competition," head coach Bryan Shelton said. "It's one of the key parts of development to get out there and test yourself, and see where you're at. We're working really hard on technical and tactical aspects of our game right now. But the competitive part, we need to continue to sharpen those skills as well. To be able to compete in this region, which I believe is the strongest region in the nation, with a ton of quality players. We're going to be pushed this weekend. Hopefully we're going to go out there and compete at a high level."

The Yellow Jackets' sixth ranked doubles team of seniors Caroline Lilley and Jillian O'Neill were tabbed as the No. 1 seed in the doubles draw and will play Georgia State's team of Tereza Lerova and Masa Grgan in the first round.

On the singles side, the 21st-ranked O'Neill earned the No. 3 seed and will play Kennesaw State's Vera Shkundina in the first round.

In total, the Yellow Jackets will be sending three doubles teams and seven singles players to Gainesville for the weekend.

"I think our team has an opportunity to gain more confidence, to see what the best competition looks like," Shelton said. "That's the great thing about being in our region, is that we get to see all the players from some super strong teams. Florida won the national championship last year and their whole team will be there playing this weekend. To have the opportunity to play against them, to see where we stack up at this point in time, is certainly a motivator for our team, for our program. I think we'll gather some confidence as we compete well this weekend.

The Jacket pair of senior Lynn Blau and junior Elizabeth Kilborn will also face a Georgia State team, the Panthers' pair of Abigail Tere-Apisah and Maryna Kozachenko in their opener. Senior Viet Ha Ngo and sophomore Muriel Wacker will play Stetson's Diana Bukajeva and Jen Miller in the first round.

Ngo, ranked No. 44, will face Florida International's Karyn Guttormsen in her first match on Friday. The Jackets' No. 69 ranked Lilley also drew a member of the Golden Panthers's squad as she'll face Giulietta Boha in the first round.

No. 124 ranked Blau will play FIU's Lisa Johnson in the opening round. Kilborn drew an ACC foe in Miami's Brittany Dubins in a first round contest. Wacker will play USF's Kate Parker while Tech freshman Jasmine Minor will take on Florida's No. 37 ranked Olivia Janowicz in the first round.

"To be able to play where the best players in the world have been playing over the years at the U.S. Open site, it's a cool experience," Shelton said. "We've been fortunate to have multiple players qualify for that event by winning our regional or by making the finals of our regional tournament in past years and we'd like to continue that tradition."

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.

As hosts, Florida will be posting updates throughout the weekend here.

USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Championship Schedule of Events
Friday (play begins at 9 a.m.): 1 round of doubles, followed by 1 round of singles and 1 round of doubles
Saturday (play begins at 9 a.m.): 1 round of doubles, followed by 2 rounds of singles
Sunday (play begins at 9 a.m.): 1 round of doubles, followed by 2 rounds of singles
Monday (time TBD): doubles finals (main and consolation), singles finals (main and consolation)

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