Women's Tennis Records Program's Best Start in Over 19 Years

Feb. 22, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Wildcats of the No. 20 women's tennis team (7-0 overall, 0-0 conference) earned more than just a win Sunday afternoon. As the squad improved to 7-0 overall, Kentucky recorded the program's best start since 1990. UK knocked off the No. 44 Indiana Hoosiers (7-4, 0-0 conference) in the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center, 6-1.

The team's start also ties for the best under fourth-year head coach Carlos Drada. Former head coach Mark Guilbeau earned six with his team in 1999. This was also Drada's first win over the Hoosiers since he took over the program in the 2005-06 season. Three of the wins this season have come over ranked opponents, all in the top-50.

"Wins like today are a testament to all the hard work our players put in on a daily basis," head coach Drada said. "All the credit for today's win goes to our athletes who keep trying to excel for the benefit of the team. We have a really special group of athletes and I'm glad they get to be a part of this significant event in the program's history."

The Blue and White cleaned up the round of doubles matches, sweeping all three courts. Senior Carolina Escamilla paired with freshman Caroline Lilley on court one against Indiana's Katya Zapadolova and Alba Berdala. The Wildcat tandem improved to 3-0 after allowing only one opponent game for an 8-1 victory.

Kentucky's second win came shortly after court one. Junior Whitney Spencer paired with freshman Minnette Pienaar on court three to defeat IU's Megan Matter and Lindsey Stuckey, 8-2. After remaining close on court two, sophomore Megan Broderick and junior Christine Johnston went up a break at 6-5. They then held serve for 7-5 before breaking a serve from Indiana's Myriam Sopel and Sigrid Fischer again to close out the match at 8-5.

The Cats went into singles with a 1-0 lead and never looked back. The matches continued to fall with a domino effect in Kentucky's favor.

Court one finished first as No. 86 Broderick earned a rematch against Zapadolova after losing to the Hoosier in Bloomington last year. The Tampa, Fla., native broke Zapadolova in the first set to win 6-4 followed by a convincing 6-2 second set win. Escamilla followed with a 6-3, 6-2 win on court two against Charlotte Martin.

Johnston grabbed a solid 6-0 first set against Indiana's Berdala but struggled in the second. The pair rallied back and forth but the Wildcat prevailed, 7-5, remaining undefeated thus far while securing UK's record-book win over the Hoosiers.

The Cats had fallen to Indiana twice in the last three years, including 4-3 at Bloomington last season. "Indiana is a really tenacious team," Drada stated. "We knew it was going to be a tough task if we wanted to win. We really emphasized our doubles today and I'm glad our team's efforts were successful. Today's win gives us a great boost of energy going forward into the rest of the season."

Kentucky's Spencer extended the Cats' lead to 5-0 after toppling IU's Fischer, 6-2, 6-4, on court four. On court five, Lilley gave up only two opponent games for a 6-1, 6-1, result. Indiana's Sopel grabbed the team's only point while on court six after snagging the second set and tie-break against UK's Pienaar, 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5).

The Wildcats have three more home matches remaining until they hit the road for two weeks. Kentucky next hosts No. 14 Clemson Sunday, March 1 at noon ET.

#20 Kentucky 6, #44 Indiana 1

Singles
1. #86 Megan Broderick (UK) def. Katya Zapadolova (IU), 6-4, 6-2
2. Carolina Escamilla (UK) def. Charlotte Martin (IU), 6-3, 6-2
3. Christine Johnston (UK) def. Alba Berdala (IU), 6-0, 7-5
4. Whitney Spencer (UK) def. Sigrid Fischer (IU), 6-2, 6-4
5. Caroline Lilley (UK) def. Lindsey Stuckey (IU), 6-1, 6-1
6. Myriam Sopel (IU) def. Minnette Pienaar (UK), 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5)
Doubles
1. Escamilla/Lilley (UK) def. Zapadolova/Berdala (IU), 8-1
2. Broderick/Johnston (UK) def. Sopel/Fischer (IU), 8-5
3. Spencer/Pienaar (UK) def. Matter/Stuckey (IU), 8-2

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