Women’s tennis closes out season in N.C.

The women’s tennis team closed out the regular season last weekend after traveling to N. C. to face both UNC and Duke. The No. 7 ranked Jackets had won seven straight and 10 of the last 11 matches going into the weekend. With a 15-5 overall record while being 8-1 in the ACC, wins in both matches would have given the Jackets a share of the ACC regular season title. But Tech came up short of an ACC Championship losing to Duke, after beating UNC.

In the first matchup last Friday, Tech’s met a No. 19 Tar Heel team which stood fifth in the ACC with a record of 6-3. UNC has lost to the Jackets the last four times the teams have met, while losing six of the last seven. The Jackets continued its recent winning ways against the Tar Heels as it was able to defeat them with a score 5-2.

The Jackets opened the day by taking the doubles point to give an early lead of 1-0. Junior Amanda McDowell and freshman Lynn Blau won the first match 8-5 against the UNC tandem of Laura Reichert and Meg Fanjoy. The Jackets then clinched the doubles point after sophomore Sasha Krupina and freshman Irina Falconi defeated Austin Smith and Katrina Tsang 8-4.

UNC struck back in the beginning of singles play as Sanaz Marand overtook No. 7 Falconi 6-1, 6-1 on court one to up tie the game score 1-1. Tech took the lead again as No. 19 McDowell defeated Tsang 6-3, 6-0 on court two. Blau’s victory on court six over Jelena Durisic 6-1, 6-4, pushed the Jackets ahead 3-1. Sophomore Noelle Hickey then clinched the win on the day as she won in straight sets over Smith 6-3, 6-3. A win by Senior Christy Striplin and loss by Krupina ended the match with the final score of 5-2.

The Jackets then traveled to face a No. 5 Duke team that holds a 30-2 advantage in the series over Tech all time. Tech’s only two wins, though, have come in the last three meetings. The Jackets ended up losing a close match as the Blue Devils won 4-3.

Duke came out on top quick as they swept all three doubles matches to earn the doubles point. Both tandems of McDowell/Blau and Falconi/Krupina were beaten first with the scores of 8-4 and 8-2 respectively. Hickey and Striplin lost the last doubles match in a close 8-7 bout, falling against the Blue Devils’ tandem of Melissa Mang and Amanda Granson.

In singles play, Duke took the first three matches to clinch the match at a score 4-0. In the match that clinched Duke’s win, Falconi lost in three sets to Mallory Cecil 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. Even with the match over, Tech came back strong and finished the day with the last three singles wins. Striplin scored the Jackets first point of the day with a 2-6, 6-4, 2-1 win over Granson on court four. McDowell then won a second point for Tech as she survived a three-set, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 match with Ellah Nze on court two. Blau picked up the final win on the day after defeating Jessi Robinson 6-3, 4-7, 4-3 and pushing the final score to 4-3 in Duke’s favor.

The women’s team has earned a fourth seed in the 2009 ACC Women’s Tennis Tournament that runs April 16- April 19 at the Cary Tennis Center in Cary, NC. Tech has earned a first round bye and will face either No. 5 seeded Florida State or No. 12 seeded N.C. State in the second round today at noon.