The Jackets women’s tennis team traveled to N.C. on March 26-27 to face off against N.C. State in Raleigh, N.C. before heading west to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest. Tech won both matches, improving the Jackets to 3-1 in conference play for the season.
The doubles point has proven crucial this year for the women’s tennis team and their record. This held true once again for the team on Saturday as the Jackets faced the No. 32-ranked N.C. State Wolfpack. Tech senior Sasha Krupina and sophomore Elizabeth Kilborn decided a quick victory at 8-1 over senior Sanaa Bhambri and sophomore Tatiana Illova in the first doubles matchup.
N.C. State responded quickly with an 8-4 victory over another Jackets duo. Junior Jillian O’Neil and junior Viet Ha Ngo rescued the point and secured the early lead for Tech with an 8-4 win against junior Sandhya Nagaraj and senior Lenka Hojckova.
“Today the doubles point was the difference. We can’t overlook that,” said head coach Bryan Shelton in an interview with ramblinwreck.com.
Tech opened up singles play with a quick sweep from junior Lynn Blau as she won 6-0, 6-0 at the sixth spot versus freshman Christy Sipes. The Wolfpack responded with another quick win from freshman Joelle Kissel over Kilborn before O’Neill continued her success with a victory of 6-4, 6-3 against Nagaraj to put the Jackets within a point of winning.
N.C. State fought back and was able to win their next two matches to even the score at 3-3. The game boiled down to the match between the Jackets junior Caroline Lilley and Hojckova.
The first set ended successfully at 6-3. The next set kept people well on their toes while Lilley was able to pull off the 7-5 victory to give the Jackets the final point they needed to win the game.
“[Caroline] clinched a number of matches for us this year and she’s starting to get comfortable doing that,” Shelton said about the 83rd ranked Lilley courtesy of ramblinwreck.com.
The following day, the Jackets made their way to Winston-Salem to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Wake Forest’s lack of a singles and doubles team gave Tech an early 1-0 lead as well as a head start in the doubles point.
The Deacons quickly evened out the advantage in doubles with a win over Kilbron and Krupina by senior Emilee Malvehy and junior Martina Pavelec. Blau and Lilley came through for the Jackets, however, with an 8-6 win against juniors Kayla Duncan and Anna Mydlowska to put Tech at a 2-0 lead heading into singles play.
Though Wake opened up singles play with a 6-2, 6-3 win over O’Neill by Pavelec, Blau once again responded well and made a 6-3, 6-3 win over freshman Brigita Bercyte to put the Jackets within a single point of victory.
With three matches left, the odds were stacked in Tech’s favor to beat the Demon Deacons. The expected final result became a reality when Ngo defeated Duncan 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the third spot of the lineup.
Though this gave Tech the point it needed to win, Lilley and Krupina were still fighting to come back from both of their first game losses to assist the Jackets in their margin of victory.
Lilley finished her match against Malvehy 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 while Krupina finished out 7-5, 7-6, 6-2 in a drawn out match against Mydlowska. The two wins allowed the Jackets to finish the match 6-1 and extend their winning streak to four games.
The Jackets will host a pair of ACC matches this weekend against the Maryland Terrapins on April 1 and Boston College Eagles on April 3 at home.