W-tennis reaches round of 16

The women’s team had a short run through the ACC tournament this year as they dropped their quarterfinal match to No. 17 Florida State by the score of 4-3. The Jackets failed to reach the semifinals of the tournament for the first time since 2004. With the loss, Tech was able to look ahead for the NCAA Championship where the team was able to serve as a host to first- and second-round action on May 8th and 9th. Tech qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the tenth consecutive year and has been able to host first- and second-round matches for the past five years.

In the first round, the No. 8 Jackets were set to face Jackson State for the first time in the program’s history. Tech was able to overtake the Tigers without much trouble, completing the 4-0 sweep. The Jackets won every doubles and singles match on the day before the fourth point ended the day and sealed a victory. The doubles duos of freshman Irina Falconi with sophomore Sasha Krupina and freshman Lynn Blau with junior Amanda McDowell defeated both their opponents 8-0 two clinch the doubles point for Tech. When singles play started, Falconi, McDowell, and Blau all won in straight sets without losing a game, winning 6-0, 6-0 to end the match with a final score of 4-0 in the Jackets’ favor.

The next day in the second round the Jackets faced a No. 21 Mississippi that has beaten Tech the only two times they have met. The Jackets were able to defeat Mississippi for the first time in history with a score of 4-1, pushing the all-time NCAA tournament record to 19-9. As in the first round, the duos of Falconi/Krupina and Blau/McDowell won both of their doubles matches to give Tech the doubles point with the scores of 8-5 and 8-4 respectively. In singles play, the Jackets shot the team score to 3-0 after No. 12 Falconi surpassed Kristi Boxx 6-0, 6-2 and sophomore Noelle Hickey defeated Laura van de Stroet 7-6 (1), 6-2. Krupina dropped Tech’s lone match on the day in the third set to Gabriela Rangel 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to push the team score to 3-1. Tech clinched the win afterwards as senior Christy Striplin won over Abigail Guthrie in the third set with a final score of 6-7, 6-2, 6-0. The win over Mississippi advanced the Jackets to the NCAA Round of 16 for the fifth straight year.

On May 15, Tech faced an eighth-seeded California who defeated Tech earlier in the season with a score of 5-2 at the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Golden Bears would again defeat the Jackets 5-0 in College Station, Texas, ending the tennis team’s season. California took the doubles point after they took two out of three matches, with the sole Tech doubles win coming from Falconi and Krupina. In singles play, Tech fell behind early in several matches and was not able to respond to California’s solid play. The Golden Bears clinched their spot in the Elite Eight with a victory by Mari Andersson on court three over Hickey, 6-3, 6-4.

Four Jackets are currently competing in the 2009 NCAA Individual Championship. McDowell, who won the singles championship last year, will once again represent the Jackets in the tournament along with Falconi, Striplin, and Hickey. The tournament began on Wednesday in College Station, and one round of the tournament will be played each day until the finals on Monday, May 25.