Women’s tennis team upsets Tennessee in final home match

By Patrick Kenkel

After suffering a heartbreaking loss Friday to No. 10 Georgia, the UK women’s team was on its game yesterday from start to finish. The No. 25 Cats upset No. 17 Tennessee, defeating the Volunteers 5-2 at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.

UK (14-7, 5-5 Southeastern Conference) received a combination of strong performances from its freshmen and sophomores to get back to .500 in conference play.

“We were really disciplined,” head coach Carlos Drada. “We competed really well, and when you do that, you give yourself the best chance to get the best results.”

The Cats struck early yesterday by winning the doubles point. Despite losing to the nation’s No. 11 ranked doubles duo on court one, UK stormed back to win on courts two and three. Freshmen Megan Broderick and Alaina Trgovich won 8-5 while, nationally ranked singles player sophomore Sarah Woestmann and freshman Lauren Meier won 8-4.

Individual players then took the spotlight in the singles matches. Broderick dominated SEC Athlete of the Week and No. 51 Caitlin Whoriskey 6-0 and 6-2 for the victory. Immediately after, sophomore Whitney Spencer captured the victory on court six.

UK managed to pull off the upset despite losses from two of its top players. Sophomore Christine Johnston, who entered yesterday’s match with a 19-1 record in singles, lost to Tennessee’s Zsofia Zubor in a back-and-forth battle.

After dropping the first set 6-4, Johnston came back to win the second set 7-6, only to suffer a difficult loss in a 10-point tiebreaker.

Woestmann was also defeated yesterday, but her loss came after junior Carolina Escamilla clinched UK’s victory with the fourth point.

The Cats are hoping their top-25 upset will build some momentum for the SEC Tournament, which starts in two weeks. Despite sitting at just 5-5 in the conference, the players believe they have a legitimate shot at winning the tournament.

“I think we have a good chance of doing really well in the tournament,” Woestmann said. “Everyone on the team has been competing really well.”

The Cats have just one match remaining before the tournament. They’ll hit the road for the season finale when they battle No. 13 Vanderbilt on Saturday.

“I hope we keep the same level of intensity and accountability through the remainder of the season,” Drada said.