Men’s Tennis falls at UGA, women sweep UK

Singles victories by junior Guillermo Gomez and freshman Magin Ortiga were not enough to overcome a top-10 opponent, as the Tech men’s tennis team fell 5-2 at No. 7 Georgia on Feb. 7 while the women’s tennis team cruised to a 7-0 home win over Kentucky on Feb. 6.

The men’s team was looking to avenge last season’s 7-0 loss to the then-No. 2 Bulldogs at the Bill Moore Tennis center as they traveled to the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility for a Sunday afternoon matchup.

The Jackets, though, were unable to break their losing streak in the rivalry, as UGA handed the relatively young Tech squad its second straight loss and its 24th loss in a row to the Bulldogs.

With Gomez sitting out of doubles play, juniors Ryan Smith and Miguel Muguruza played in the top flight in doubles play for Tech but fell against UGA’s Nate Schnugg and Jamie Hunt 8-2.

The Jackets put up a fight in the other two doubles matches but were unable to secure a victory in either one. In the third flight, freshmen Juan Spir and Magin Ortiga went down against UGA’s Christian Vitulli and Bo Seal 8-5, and juniors Eliot Potvin and Dean O’Brien played a close match but lost against the tandem of Drake Bernstein and Javier Garrapiz, 8-6.

As a result, UGA took the doubles point, and the first three singles matches ended in their favor, quickly clinching the match for the host Bulldogs.

On court two, Spir played a close match early on against the more experienced Schnugg but fell in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. O’Brien had little luck in his third-flight match against Hunt and lost 6-2, 6-3.

The match on court four saw Potvin take Bernstein, the No. 60 singles player in the nation, to a first-set tiebreaker. Bernstein swept the tiebreaker, though, and took the second set to defeat Potvin 7-6 (7-0), 6-2 and clinch the match for UGA.

Even with the result set, Tech rebounded to win two of the final three matches. Court one featured a battle between ranked opponents in No. 3 Gomez and No. 45 Garrapiz, and Gomez faced a stiff challenge but earned a straight-set victory, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1).

On court five, freshmen Ortiga and Seal traded the first two sets and headed to a superset tiebreaker, which Ortiga won to take the match 6-2, 3-6, 10-8. Vitulli edged sophomore Dusan Miljevic on court siz to round out the match.

The women’s team, meanwhile, took on No. 31 Kentucky for the second time in eight days after defeating the Wildcats 4-2 as part of ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The No. 9 Jackets were sharp in the second meeting, cruising to a 7-0 sweep.

The doubles point did not come easily, though. Senior Amanda McDowell and sophomore Hillary Davis rolled to an 8-1 victory in the third flight of doubles play, but the other two matches were considerably closer.

Sophomore Irina Falconi and junior Sasha Krupina, Tech’s top doubles tandem, faced a stiff challenge from Wildcats Caroline Lilley and Minnette Pienaar but were able to hold out for a 9-7 victory. Sophomore Lynn Blau and freshman Elizabeth Kilborn also faced a challenge, but they defeated UK’s Megan Broderick and Christine Johnson 8-6.

With the doubles point in hand, the Jackets proceeded to dispatch the Wildcats in singles play, winning all six matches in straight sets.

Falconi, the No. 1 player in the nation, did not lose a game as she defeated Lilley 6-0, 6-0 on court one. Kilborn trumped Elle Coldiron by the same score on court number five.

Blau and Davis had little trouble in their matches. Blau, playing the fourth flight against Pienaar, rolled to a 6-0, 6-1 win and Davis took down UK’s Nicole Scates 6-1, 6-1.

Krupina, ranked No. 66, defeated Broderick 6-2, 6-3 while McDowell faced a challenge from Johnston but held on for a 7-5 win.

The Kentucky rematch was Tech’s last before the ITA Indoor National Championships begin on Friday, Feb. 12. The Jackets are one of six ACC teams in the 16-team bracket and will open play against No. 3 California.

The men’s team, meanwhile, returns to action on Feb. 17 against Auburn before opening the ACC schedule against Florida State on Feb. 21.