The CNMI’s Carol Lee went 2-for-2 in her debut with Georgia Tech in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I yesterday in Mississippi.
Lee earned her first win in the collegiate ranks after teaming up with junior Gia Cohen in rallying past University of Mississippi’s Kelsey Mize and Reka Zadori, 7-5. According George Tech’s athletics website, Lee and Cohen were just a point away from dropping their first doubles match of the spring season, as the Ole Miss pair took a 5-3 lead. However, the Yellow Jackets duo regrouped and mounted a comeback, winning the last four games to steal the victory.
After their close doubles triumph, Lee returned to the hosts’ court and faced a familiar foe—Reka Zadori. The Georgia Tech rookie struggled a bit at the start of the singles match, as she was forced to a 2-2 standoff in the first set. However, Lee got her rhythm and dominated Zadori in the closing stage of the opening set for a 6-3 victory. The five-time Northern Mariana Sports Association/Tan Siu Lin Foundation Female Student of the Year awardee went on to sweep Zadori after a similar 6-3 triumph in the second set. Lee, this time, was in full took control of the match early, leading at 4-2 en route to posting a perfect record in her NCAA debut.
“I am very excited for the upcoming season. I haven’t played official matches since the COVID-19 pandemic hit so I’m thankful and grateful that our season is not cancelled for spring,” said Lee, who received a full athletic scholarship from Georgia Tech.
The Pacific Games gold medalist was supposed to debut with the Yellow Jackets last fall, but the season was scrapped due to the pandemic.
“I can’t wait to compete with my new teammates and represent Georgia Tech and also the CNMI. I don’t know the line ups yet for doubles and singles but if I do play, I would like to start off the season strong and build into it, as we compete in more matches with different teams,” Lee told Saipan Tribune on the eve of her debut with Georgia Tech.
The 19-year-old indeed started the season strong, as well as the 12th-ranked Yellow Jackets after routing Ole Miss, 8-2.
Lee was one of the five Georgia Tech rookies that won their singles matches yesterday and the team went on to collect six singles victories. Victoria Flores, Ava Hrastar, Rush Marsh, and Mahak Jain were the other freshmen to hand the Yellow Jackets wins in the singles game. Georgia Tech’s sixth singles triumph was courtesy of sophomore Monika Dedaj.
In the doubles, Flores and Kenya Jones gave the Yellow Jackets the other victory after outclassing Tereza Janatova and Sabina Machalova, 6-3.
Georgia Tech’s duel against the University of Mississippi was part of the Bulldogs Kickoff event that also features Mississippi State University. The Yellow Jackets will take on the Bulldogs today.
Lee and company will remain in Starkville, Mississippi until Tuesday (Saipan time) as they will also play against the University of Memphis.
From Mississippi, the Yellow Jackets will head home to Georgia, but will only have a few days of rest, as they will kick off the Intercollegiate Tennis Association season with a showdown against South Carolina on Jan. 23. For its remaining games this month, Georgia Tech will meet Duke or Michigan on Jan. 24, Georgia State on Jan. 26, and University of Alabama at Birmingham and Kennesaw State on Jan. 29.
Lee and her teammates will continue to compete until April, capping the season with the Atlantic Coast Conference Tennis Championships set for April 21 in Rome, Georgia.