Women’s tennis falls on Senior Day to Vanderbilt

Despite Megan Broderick’s thrilling senior-day victory over a highly-ranked No. 1 singles opponent, the UK women’s tennis team fell to No. 18 Vanderbilt 5-2 at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex Sunday afternoon.

The back-and-forth action between UK senior Megan Broderick and Vanderbilt freshmen Alex Leatu, who is ranked No. 76 in the NCAA, thrilled the crowd for the entirety of their two-and-a-half hour duel.

In the decisive third set, Broderick stopped a run of four-straight service breaks by holding serve and taking a 5-4 lead. She followed up by once again breaking Leatu’s serve to earn the victory.

Broderick was thrilled with her performance in her final regular season match in front of the home fans.

“It has me shaking,” Broderick said. “I’m glad I could go out on such a positive note.”

The Cats lost the match to the No. 18 Vanderbilt Commodores 5-2. UK claimed victories at both No. 1 singles with Broderick def. Leatu 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and No. 2 singles with sophomore Jessica Stiles scoring a dominating victory over Jackie Wu 6-0, 6-0.

Vanderbilt scored victories over the Cats in No. 3 singles with Chelsea Preeg def. Khristina Blajkevitch 6-2, 6-2, No. 4 singles with Lauren Mira def. Caitlin McGraw 1-6, 6-3, 6-0, No. 5 singles with Rachael Dillon def. CeCe Witten 6-2, 6-3 and No. 6 singles with Nelly Radeva def. Misha Testerman 6-3, 6-2.

Vanderbilt also swept the three doubles matches with Dillon/Wu def. Broderick/Blajkevitch 8-2, Mira/Preeg def. McGraw/Venter 8-7 (8-6) and Ulery/Leatu def. Stiles/Witten 8-0.

UK’s three departing seniors, Megan Broderick, Lauren Meier and Nichole Scates, were honored in a ceremony prior to Sunday’s competition.

“We decided we were going out there and leave it all on the court,” Broderick said. “Play loose, stay positive and do it all for Lauren, Nichole and myself.”

UK head coach Carlos Drada said that Broderick epitomizes class and work ethic.

“She is willing to give on a constant basis,” Drada said. “We are proud of her.”

Drada said it was great to see Nichole Scates graduate and continue to be a part of the team this year. He also said that it was great to see Lauren Meier battle through her injuries and return to the court to practice with the team.

With regular season play now finished, the Cats will compete next on April 22-25 in Knoxville, Tenn. at the Southeastern Conference Championship. Drada believes that at this point in the season, the game becomes more mental than technical. He believes his team has competed well against higher-ranked, more experienced teams this season and that once they start believing they can handle the situations at hand they will really take off.

“It’s going to be exponential growth,” he said, “I’m looking forward to witnessing that.”