GAINESVILLE, FLA. - The Georgia Tech women's tennis team's 2013 season came to an end Sunday afternoon when the Yellow Jackets dropped a 4-0 decision to the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators at the Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.
Georgia Tech, ranked No. 23, finishes its season with a 15-10 overall record. The Gators, who are two-time defending national champions, improve to 24-2 and advance to the Sweet 16 which begins May 16 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the University of Illinois.
"I think for us it was a great opportunity. No matter where you go, you're going to have to play one of the top 16 teams and we had to come play Florida at Florida," head coach Rodney Harmon said. "For us, it was an opportunity to come play the best team in the country. For our young players, it was an opportunity to see the level of play and consistency that a team like Florida brings every day. I'm glad we had a chance to come down here to Gainesville and compete."
The Gators took an early edge when the Florida pair of Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana downed Tech's pair of Jasmine Minor and Natasha Prokhnevska 8-2 on court two doubles.
The Yellow Jackets' veteran pair of senior Elizabeth Kilborn and Muriel Wacker leveled the doubles matches with an 8-4 win over Florida's Danielle Collins and Brianna Morgan on court three.
The doubles point came down to court one where Georgia Tech's 60th-ranked pair of Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard was trying to pull the upset over the Gators' 11th-ranked tandem of Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen. Kurey and Woodard battled to the very end but were unable to get a break and stay alive as Florida claimed an 8-6 win to go up 1-0 on the team score.
"We competed hard," Harmon said. "Our two team played hard, they lost, but they played hard. Our three team played very, very well and won 8-4 to give us a chance. It was nip and tuck back at number one and they were able to pull it out. Then when singles starts, they're too rough. If you don't win the doubles point against them, they are going to be really, really rough to beat. All the way down the line, they have such good players."
Florida went up 2-0 in the team score when the Gators' No. 1 ranked Lauren Embree beat Tech's 98th-ranked Elizabeth Kilborn 6-0, 6-0 on court one. The Gators moved within one point of the team win when UF's 89th-ranked Brianna Morgan downed Tech freshman Megan Kurey 6-1, 6-2 on court four.
The Gators clinched the match with a 6-2, 6-3 win by No. 123 Olivia Janowicz over Tech's Muriel Wacker on court five.
"Roland Thornqvist has done such a great job with this team," Harmon added. "He's probably the best coach in college women's tennis. He's won two straight national titles and is gunning for a third. He's really the yardstick for us in the women's game. We're going to go back to the drawing board and try to do a better job and come back next year ready to go. I was very proud of my team. We stuck together through injuries and adversity. We won against a number of top 20, top 15 teams and competed hard against other top teams. Every loss we had was to a team in the top 25. We played hard this year and we played well, I think it sets us up for a good year next year."
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.
Georgia Tech vs Florida
May 12, 2013 at
#1 Florida 4, #23 Georgia Tech 0
1. #1 Lauren Embree (UF) def. #98 Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) 6-0, 6-0
2. #17 Sofie Oyen (UF) vs. #88 Kendal Woodard (GT) 6-4, 3-4, unfinished
3. #51 Alexandra Cercone (UF) vs. Natasha Prokhnevska (GT) 3-6, 4-1, unfinished
4. #89 Brianna Morgan (UF) def. Megan Kurey (GT) 6-1, 6-2
5. #123 Olivia Janowicz (UF) def. Muriel Wacker (GT) 6-2, 6-3
6. #116 Caroline Hitimana (UF) vs. Jasmine Minor (GT) 6-1, 4-3, unfinished
1. #11 Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (UF) def. #60 Megan Kurey/Kendal Woodard (GT) 8-6
2. Alexandra Cercone/Caroline Hitimana (UF) def. Jasmine Minor/Natasha Prokhnevska (GT) 8-2
3. Elizabeth Kilborn/Muriel Wacker (GT) def. Danielle Collins/Brianna Morgan (UF) 8-4
Georgia Tech 15-10; National ranking #23
Florida 24-2; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,4,5)
NCAA Tournament Second Round