2009 Women’s Tennis Team Preview

This weekend marks the beginning of another season in women’s tennis as the Jackets host the Georgia Tech Invitational tournament. The Jackets had a national ranking of No. 8 at the end of the 2009 season and reached the round of 16 at the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year.

This will be Head Coach Bryan Shelton’s 11th season leading the program. Shelton has guided the team to ten straight NCAA Tournament appearances, two ITA National Indoor championships and the 2007 NCAA Championship.

The departures of Christy Striplin and Noelle Hickey leave only two returning upperclassmen in senior Amanda McDowell and junior Sasha Krupina.

McDowell won the 2008 NCAA Singles championship as a sophomore and is the only returning player from the 2007 national championship team. She struggled early last year, but rebounded to finish strong in singles and doubles. Krupina played mostly at the No. 5 position last year and recorded a 12-10 singles mark in the dual-match season.

The team returns four other players from last year’s squad, all of whom are sophomores, in Irina Falconi, Lynn Blau, Hillary Davis and Viet Ha Ngo.

Falconi, who joined the team last season as a five-star recruit, immediately had an impact at Tech as she earned 30 singles wins in her freshman season. She recorded a 16-9 dual-match singles record while competing alongside McDowell in the top two spots in the lineup last season, and in late August she had the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open wild card round.

Blau will see more action after starting in 11 singles dual matches. She had a 6-5 singles record in the dual season but went 5-0 against conference opponents. Blau had a 10-9 dual record in doubles and saw some playing time alongside McDowell.

Davis ended the tournament season with a 10-4 singles record and finished the fall ranked No. 30 in the ITA South Region. She played doubles alongside Krupina in the dual-match season but never competed in any singles matches during that time.

Ngo saw success in her first season at Tech as she played in the No. 6 spot on the lineup. She ended her first season with a 13-5 dual-match singles record and an overall singles record of 20-11.

Freshman Elizabeth Kilborn will be the new face in Tech’s lineup this season. The Marietta, Ga. native led Walton High School to four straight region and state championships as her team went 116-0 during her four years there. Kilborn was rated the No. 2 recruit in Georgia, No. 7 in the Southeast region, and No. 22 in the nation.