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Georgia Tech Defends Title at ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships

February 11, 2008 02:06 PM
Georgia Tech beat Northwestern, 4-2, in Sunday's final at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Women's Team Indoor Championships at the University of Wisconsin's A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

Fourth-seeded Georgia Tech won the doubles point in the final and got wins in singles from Kirsten Flower, Whitney McCray and Christie Striplin.

Flower, a sophomore from Columbus, Ohio, was the key to victory for the Yellow Jackets, as she was a part of the doubles team that sealed the point, and she won her match at No. 5 singles to clinch the title. She and partner Kristi Miller beat Lauren Lui and Samantha Murray at No. 1 doubles, 8-5, to put Georgia Tech up 1-0.

Flower is 8-0 in singles at this event. Today in the No. 5 spot, she took on Lui again and won the first set, 6-4; Flower was down, 5-1, in the second before coming back to win six straight games and force a tiebreaker. With the whole team match on the line, Flower and Lui battled for every point, with Flower coming out on top, 6-4, 7-5 (5).

"It was great for me, in a pressure situation in a big match, to come through for my team," Flower said after the win. "To be honest, that's the first time I've ever done that. It was a monkey off my back -- to have my back against the wall and to come through. That was really huge for me."

Junior Striplin was the first to chalk up a singles win for the Yellow Jackets, as she beat Nazlie Ghazal, 6-3, 6-2, in the No. 4 spot. Georgia Rose from Northwestern had a big win at No. 1 singles, beating Miller, 6-3, 6-1, to put the Wildcats on the board, 2-1.
Northwestern's Suzie Matzenauer tied it up at 2-2 with her win at No. 6 singles over Noelle Hickey, 6-2, 6-4. But then the momentum shifted in Georgia Tech's favor, as senior Whitney McCray beat Murray, 6-1, 7-5, at No. 3, putting the win within reach. Flower sealed the deal 45 minutes later, giving Georgia Tech its second straight National Team Indoor title.

The Yellow Jackets beat some of the best on the way to the top. On Saturday night, they handed No. 1 seed Stanford a 4-3 loss in a repeat of last year's semifinal. Friday, they beat No. 5 seed and inter-state Georgia, 4-2, and they beat host Wisconsin, 4-0, in the first round.

"It's certainly different [winning the title this year]," Georgia Tech coach Bryan Shelton said. "Last year our goal was to make the semifinals, and once we made it, we decided to go for it. Win or lose, we'd achieved our goal. This year, our goals are different: we wanted to win here, we want to win the conference title, and we want to win another NCAA championship. This team believes in themselves, and I think these are attainable goals. This was a good first step."

This victory was especially sweet, considering their opponent. Last week, Northwestern upset the then-No. 1 Yellow Jackets, 6-1. Northwestern coach Claire Pollard thought that might have been a factor coming into today's match.

"I think we made them upset last week," Pollard said. "And I was concerned about that coming into the match, that 'revenge' factor. Great teams respond to a loss like that, and they're a great team. It was their title, and they didn't want to give it up."

Northwestern (6-1) had wins over Fresno State, No. 6 California and North Carolina on the way to the final.

On Saturday, Notre Dame senior Brook Buck received the ITA Sportsmanship Award.

ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships
A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium
Madison, Wis.

(4) Georgia Tech 4, (3) Northwestern 2

1. Miller/Flower (GT) def. Lui/Murray (NW), 8-5
2. Conil/Rose (NW) def. McCray/McDowell (GT), 8-3
3. Striplin/Hickey (GT) def. Mosolova/Ghazal (NW), 8-2
[GT won doubles point]

1. Georgia Rose (NW) def. Kristi Miller (GT), 6-3, 6-1
2. Maria Mosolova (NW) vs. Amanda McDowell (GT), 6-4, 2-6, 5-3, did not finish
3. Whitney McCray (GT) def. Samantha Murray (NW), 6-1, 7-5
4. Christy Striplin (GT) def. Nazlie Ghazal (NW), 6-3, 6-2
5. Kirsten Flower (GT) def. Lauren Lui (NW), 6-4, 7-6(5)
6. Suzie Matzenauer (NW) def. Noelle Hickey (GT), 6-2, 6-4

Order of finish (singles): 4, 1, 6, 3, 5*, dnf
Records: Georgia Tech 6-1, Northwestern 6-1




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