No. 25 Georgia Tech Cruises Past Maryland 4-0 In ACC Tournament Opener
Atlanta – All season long, Georgia Tech head women’s tennis coach Bryan Shelton has said he wants his team to be playing its best tennis in April and May, and the Yellow Jackets had won their last three matches heading into Thursday’s ACC Tournament first round match against Maryland.
The Yellow Jackets (13-10) played about as well as they could have in cruising past the Terrapins (7-15), 4-0, and advancing to meet No. 3 seed and ninth-ranked Miami (18-3) in a 3 p.m. quarterfinals match Friday at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C.
“I thought we came out and played really well,” Shelton said. “I was pleased at the start of the match with how we came out and executed in doubles. All three courts really played well. For us to come out and start the tournament like that is important. Normally in a tournament, it’s tough to get going in the first round. For us to come out firing well today, I thought that was a good sign for us.”
“We were able to continue that same play in singles,” Shelton continued. “It was a lot different from our regular-season match with Maryland. We beat them 5-2, but it was a lot of tight, three-set matches in that one. Today, to get through it the way we did, was good to see. We have a lot of respect for Maryland, we came out ready to play, and we executed. We need to do the same thing tomorrow.”
Playing doubles together for the first time since March 3, 2011, and only the second time ever, Caroline Lilley and Muriel Wacker came out firing on all cylinders, downing Mikele Irazusta and Jordan Hansbourgh 8-1 on court three.
Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn returned to the form which propelled them into national ranking with an 8-2 win over Cristina Stancu and Vroni Van Berlo on court two to clinch the doubles point and send Tech into singles play with a 1-0 lead.
Blau continued her hot singles play as she dispatched the Terps’ Jordan Hansbourgh 6-0, 6-1 on court six. The senior from Koerich, Luxembourg, has won her last four matches while losing only 13 total games, and is 8-2 in her last 10 matches.
Senior Jillian O’Neill, who is ranked No. 14 and earned All-ACC honors earlier in the day Thursday, earned her 10th win over a ranked opponent this spring as she cruised past Maryland’s 26th-ranked Stancu, 6-1, 6-1, on court one. O’Neill has also won four straight matches and is 17-8 overall this spring.
Kilborn clinched the Yellow Jacket victory for the third time this year as she claimed her fourth straight win, defeating the Terps’ Vroni Van Berlo 6-1, 6-1 on court three.
The Yellow Jackets will now try to avenge a 5-2 loss to the then-No. 6 ranked Hurricanes on March 21 in Coral Gables in Friday’s quarterfinal match. In Tech’s improbable run to the 2010 ACC Tournament title, the Jackets beat the Hurricanes 4-3 in the quarterfinals after Miami had downed Tech 5-2 in Coral Gables during the regular season.
“I think it certainly helps to get a win under your belt,” Shelton said. “Miami is a different team than Maryland. They’re going to pose some serious challenges for us, but our team is feeling pretty good. I think we’re at the right place mentally and emotionally to come out here and battle tomorrow. We know it’s going to be a battle. We had a great match with them two years ago on these courts in a similar round. Sasha (Krupina) came through in a big match, in a big win for us, so we have some good memories playing them here. We have to get after it tomorrow and I look forward to a really good match.”
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.
Maryland vs. #25 Georgia Tech
April 19, 2012
#25 Georgia Tech 4, Maryland 0
Doubles (3, 2)
1. #16 Alex Anghelescu / Jillian O’Neill (GT) vs. #20 Ana Belzunce / Welma Luus (UMD), 3-3 unfinished
2. Lynn Blau / Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) def. Cristina Stancu / Vroni Van Berlo (UMD), 8-2
3. Caroline Lilley / Muriel Wacker (GT) def. Mikele Irazusta / Jordan Hansbrough (UMD), 8-1
Singles (6, 1, 3)
1. #14 Jillian O’Neill (GT) def. #26 Cristina Stancu (UMD), 6-1, 6-1
2. Ana Belzunce (UMD) vs. Caroline Lilley (GT), 6-0, 3-4 unfinished
3. Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) def. Vroni Van Berlo (UMD), 6-1, 6-1
4. Alex Anghelescu (GT) vs. Welma Luus (UMD), 6-4, 4-2 unfinished
5. Jasmine Minor (GT) vs. Mikele Irazusta (UMD), 6-6 unfinished
6. Lynn Blau (GT) def. Jordan Hansbrough (UMD), 6-0, 6-1
Georgia Tech 13-10, 6-5 ACC, national ranking No. 25
Maryland 7-15, 1-10 ACC
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