Jackets close regular season with two conference wins

The No. 25 women’s tennis team hosted its final two matches of the season over the weekend, matching up against N.C. State on Saturday, April 14, and Wake Forest on the following day.

The team also honored seniors Lynn Blau, Caroline Lilley, Jillian O’Neill and Viet Ha Ngo as part of its annual Senior Day festivities before the Wake Forest match. The Jackets won both days, beating the Wolfpack 6-1 and sweeping the Demon Deacons 7-0. With the wins, Tech improved its record to 12-10 overall and 6-5 in the ACC as the team looks ahead to the ACC tournament.

The victory over N.C. State was the 17th in a row for the Jackets against their conference foe. Tech has not lost to this team since Head Coach Bryan Shelton took over the program in 2000.

The Jackets took an early 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point. Ngo and sophomore Muriel Walker were the first to finish with a win, while No. 10 sophomore Alex Anghelescu and O’Neill sealed the deal with an 8-5 win in their matchup.

The Jackets added to their lead by winning their first two singles matches in straight sets. Anghelescu won hers 6-2, 6-2, while Blau defeated her opponent 6-3, 6-2. The next point went to the Wolfpack, but it would be their only point on the day.

Tech struggled to win its last three points. Lilley won her first set 6-4 before sending her second into a tiebreak, where she won 7-6 (7-4). O’Neill, ranked No. 16 nationally, followed that with a 6-7 (7-1), 6-2, 6-3 win over N.C. State’s top player. Finally, Elizabeth Kilborn made it official with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

The next day, Tech won its final match at the Bill Moore Tennis Center with a dominant 7-0 sweep over the last-in-conference Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Ngo and Walker once again won their doubles match easily 8-1, with Anghelescu and O’Neal finishing later to give Tech the doubles point. All four seniors won their singles matches on the day, with both Blau and Ngo sweeping their opponents 6-0, 6-0. Lilley won her match 6-1, 6-2, while O’Neill’s was closer at 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.

“I thought it was great that all four seniors could be out there and they all won,” Shelton said. “They competed well and a couple didn’t lose a game. [O’Neill] didn’t have her best stuff today, but it’s fun to see her win when she doesn’t have her best stuff because she’s come a long way. I’m really proud of all four of them because they are doing great in school and great on the court as well.”

The Jackets faced their next opponent on Thursday, April 19, when they took on the No. 11 Maryland Terrapins in the first round of the ACC tournament. The Jackets entered the tournament as a sixth seed  only two years removed from winning the ACC Championship in 2010.