Freshmen Lead Cats to Doubleheader Sweep

Feb. 19, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Strong play from freshmen Caitlin McGraw, Khristina Blajkevitch and Cece Witten led the Kentucky women’s tennis team to a pair of victories in its doubleheader against Miami (Ohio) and Eastern Kentucky on Saturday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center.

Kentucky (2-6) began Saturday’s twin billing on the right foot with a 4-3 win over Miami (Ohio). It was Kentucky’s first win of the season. Following UK’s win over Miami, the Cats defeated Eastern Kentucky 7-0.

“What we’re trying to get them to realize is regardless of who you’re playing against, there are things that are so fundamental that you have to execute in any tennis match to increase the odds to win,” UK head coach Carlos Drada said. “Today, we did that a lot better and that’s why we were able to come out with the wins.”

The visiting RedHawks earned the doubles point over Kentucky but the Wildcats responded in singles play by winning four of the six matches.

Trailing 2-0 in the overall match against Miami, Blajkevitch took down Riekie Honiball in convincing fashion with a 6-2, 6-1 victory. The win was Blajkevitch’s first in singles play of the spring season.

Sophomore Jessica Stiles captured her co-team leading fourth win in singles play this spring with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Miami’s Stephanie Danesis shortly after Blajkevitch finished her match.

McGraw then won her singles match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, to give Kentucky a 3-2 lead overall in the match.

With the pressure on in a tight 3-2 match, Witten stepped up and delivered. After winning the first set 6-4 and leading in the second set 5-4, Witten finally put away Miami’s Jessica Parr after Parr had fought off three match points earlier. The clinching victory was the first of Witten’s collegiate career.

“The match against Miami was a little shaky,” Drada said. “We had a really below average performance in doubles, and it’s not so much results oriented. The way we’re working right now is more process oriented. This was completely an anomaly because we’ve been doing a great job of keeping our energy up, and then on top of that our number one player loses and Megan Broderick’s been playing great. It was great in the sense that we came back, and actually that Miami team is well coached, disciplined, and mature, they have a lot of seniors on their team. It was great that we came back and turned around a tough situation. We saw some of the freshmen step up to the plate and finally make the decision that they’re going to do the right things at the right times and do the things we’ve been working on all season.”

Kentucky jumped on the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky in Saturday’s second match. The Wildcats got out early and never let up, earning the doubles point by sweeping all three matches. Broderick and Blajkevitch clinched the point at court No. 1 with an 8-3 victory.

The most drama in doubles came from court No. 3 where Meredith Morrow and Witten came from behind to win the match in a tiebreak, 8-7 (4). Morrow and Witten fell behind 3-0 early after having their serve broken twice. The freshman duo wasn’t discouraged however, rallying back to take a 6-5 lead and hold on to win the tiebreak 7-4.

In singles, the Cats were on point the entire evening and did not drop a single set the entire match. McGraw, playing at No. 2 singles for Stiles who rested in Saturday’s second match, earned Kentucky’s second point of the day with a straight sets, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Eastern Kentucky’s Myriem Mhirit.

Blajkevitch followed closely behind McGraw with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Eastern Kentucky’s Milena Poffo. Combined, Blajkevitch lost just four games in her two singles match victories.

Broderick sealed the match over EKU with a 6-4, 6-0 victory at No. 1 singles. Freshman Marni Venter won her singles match at the No. 4 spot with a 7-5, 6-1 victory to give Kentucky a 5-0 advantage in the overall match.

Misha Testerman won her first singles match of the day against Eastern Kentucky’s Anouk Faure. Testerman played strong throughout the match and got the win 6-2, 6-2.

Witten, like McGraw and Blajkevitch, went 2-0 on the day, the first two wins of her collegiate career. Witten picked her shots well against EKU’s Esmira Gheisary and won convincingly 6-2, 6-0.

“It’s a great step forward for our program because winning is a habit,” Drada said. “Now they know what it feels like to win and I think it’s the best time for that to come.”

Kentucky’s next match will be against Indiana on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m. ET at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center. The match with the Hoosiers will be UK’s third match of a five-match home stand. Live results for the match will be available at UKathletics.com and parking will be free at parking structure No. 7.

For all Kentucky women’s tennis news go to UKathletics.com.

AGATE
Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center
Lexington, Ky.
Feb. 19, 2011

Kentucky 4, Miami (Ohio) 3

Doubles competition:
1) Martzolf/Danesis (MU) def. Broderick/Blajkevitch (UK) 8-2
2) Honiball/Parr (MU) def. Stiles/McGraw (UK) 8-4
3) Wald/Dracheva (MU) def. Testerman/Venter (UK) 8-4

Singles competition:
1) Anastasia Dracheva (MU) def. Megan Broderick (UK) 6-2, 6-0
2) Jessica Stiles (UK) def. Stephanie Danesis (MU) 6-3, 6-2
3) Caitlin McGraw (UK) def. Megan Martzolf (MU) 6-4, 6-4
4) Khristina Blajkevitch (UK) def. Riekie Honiball (MU) 6-2, 6-1
5) Cara Wald (MU) def. Misha Testerman (UK) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
6) Cece Witten (UK) def. Jessica Parr (MU) 6-4, 6-4

Order of finish: Doubles: 1, 2*, 3     Singles: 1, 4, 2, 3, 6*, 5
___________________________

Kentucky 7, Eastern Kentucky 0

Doubles competition:
1) Broderick/Blajkevitch (UK) def. Albuquerque/Faure (EKU) 8-3
2) McGraw/Testerman (UK) def. Mhirit/Poffo (EKU) 8-3
3) Morrow/Witten (UK) def. Oscoz/O’Neill (EKU) 8-7 (4)

Singles competition:
1) Megan Broderick (UK) def. Jessica Albuquerque (EKU) 6-4, 6-0
2) Caitlin McGraw (UK) def. Myriem Mhirit (EKU) 6-2, 6-0
3) Khristina Blajkevitch (UK) def. Milena Poffo (EKU) 6-0, 6-1
4) Marni Venter (UK) def. Saioa Oscoz (EKU) 7-5, 6-1
5) Misha Testerman (UK) def. Anouk Faure (EKU) 6-2, 6-2
6) Cece Witten (UK) def. Esmira Gheisary (EKU) 6-2, 6-0

Order of finish: Doubles: 2, 1*, 3     Singles: 2, 3, 1*, 4, 6, 5