Tennis hopes to stay perfect against U of L

When the women’s tennis team faces Louisville today at the Hilary J. Boone Complex, the Cats will be putting a couple of individual undefeated streaks on the line.

UK enters the match at 1 p.m. today boasting a 3-0 start, which has propelled the Cats to a No. 26 ranking. But more importantly, UK comes into today’s showdown with a perfect 14-0 record against the Cardinals.

Although Megan Broderick is just a freshman and will be playing in her first UK-U of L rivalry, she expects the match to be as close as ever as the Cards try to end the streak.

“In past years, all of the matches have been really intense and close,” Broderick said. “We will all be motivated to do well. This week is very important — every match is just as important as the next. Everyone is extra-focused. I’m excited to go out there and play.”

With the success that UK has had over U of L (1-1) and the fast start the Cats are off to, head coach Carlos Drada is hoping that fan support is high for the rivalry this afternoon.

“It will be awesome if people can go,” Drada said. “It is a fun event to watch. A large crowd is positive for the team, because they help them through tough situations.”

UK dominated U of L 6-1 last season at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center in Louisville, but the Cats only return sophomores Christine Johnston, Whitney Spencer and Sarah Woestmann from last year’s match. Meanwhile, the Cards have four returning players from a year ago in sophomore Jo-Ann Van Aerde, junior Natalia Baez, junior Bianca Gorbea and senior Robyn White.

While U of L has more upperclassmen and experience than UK — the Cats have no seniors on the team and only one junior — UK is not fazed by its lack of inexperience, Broderick said.

“They have more experience, yeah, but we have a lot of hunger because our team is younger,” she said.

The key to beating the Cards for the 15th consecutive time will be the Cats’ ability to focus and stay disciplined in each individual match, Drada said. UK could also use a quick start by winning one of the doubles’ matches out of the gate to gain some early momentum, he added.

“We need to focus and keep the energy high and focus on each individual match,” Broderick said.

The Cats have had focus on individual matches so far, losing just three individual matches in three team competitions this season.

UK won its third straight match of the year Sunday, conquering then-No. 23 Michigan 7-0. UK swept the court in singles, and only lost once in doubles.

“We had a really good performance,” Drada said. “The girls were really focused on the small details. They worked on their discipline and focus in tough situations.”