Wildcats Grab Bulls by the Horns

The No. 17 Wildcats (10-4, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) earned the team’s 10th win of the season with a 5-2 victory over the South Florida Bulls Saturday afternoon at the USF Varsity Tennis Center.

The Bulls were on a three-match winning streak after recently defeating No. 69 Wisconsin 5-2 just before the Cats came to town. Kentucky had its own three-match streak but on the other end and will now resume conference action after today’s win.

“Our players played with a high level of determination today,” head coach Carlos Drada said. “Despite a lot of adversity, we played with discipline. I am proud of all the players in the line-up today.  This win will help us build momentum for the rest of our SEC schedule.”

The Cats started the day with a 2-0 lead after winning doubles and the first singles match, but the Bulls made a late rally to tied it up at 2-all. Kentucky’s back courts took charge and finished out the match for the remaining points and the win.

UK’s ranked double’s tandem of senior Caroline Escamilla and freshman Caroline Lilley found success on court one as the No. 29 pair defeated South Florida’s Iciri Rai and Irene Rehberger, 8-5. USF split courts with a close 8-6 court three win over freshman Minnette Pienaar and junior Whitney Spencer. To clinch, Kentucky junior Christine Johnston and sophomore Megan Broderick pulled out an even closer 9-7 triumph on court two.

Escamilla was also the first to finish in singles. UK’s lone senior defeated Rai 6-4 in the first set and then swept in the second, 6-0, putting the Cats at a two-point lead.

The next two courts went to the Bulls. Broderick fell to No. 82 Rehberger on one, 6-3, 6-3 as South Florida’s Natalie Guevara topped Pienaar, 6-4, 6-1 on four.

But Johnston, Lilley and freshman Jennifer Stone each secured wins for the Wildcats. Johnston defeated Jessica Zok, 6-2, 6-3 while Stone finished the match on court six to defeat Christine Wilson, 7-5, 6-2.

Freshman Lilley was the solidifying factor in UK’s win over the Bulls. For the fourth time this season, the Portland, Ore., native clinched the match for the Cats. Lilley trumped USF’s Allyn Mueller on court five in three sets, 7-6, 1-6, 6-1.

The Cats finish their five-match road trip in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with the No. 16 Crimson Tide Friday, March 27 at 4 p.m. ET. Kentucky returns home to host the Auburn Tigers on Sunday March 29 at noon.

For the most up to date information and coverage of the Wildcat women’s tennis team visit, www.ukathletics.com.

#17 Kentucky 5, USF 2

1. No. 29 Caroline Lilley/ Carolina Escamilla (UK) def. Iciri Rai/ Irene Rehberger(USF), 8-5
2. Christine Johnson/ Megan Broderick (UK) def. Lauren Shumate/Natalia Guevara (USF), 9-7
3. Allyn Mueller/ Jessica Zok (USF) def. Minnette Pienaar/Whitney Spencer (UK), 8-6

1. No. 82 Irene Rehberger (USF) def. Broderick (UK), 6-3, 6-3
2. Carolina Escamilla (UK) def. Iciri Rai (USF), 6-4, 6-0
3. Christine Johnston (UK) def. Jessica Zok (USF), 6-2, 6-3
4. Natalia Guevara (USF) def. Minette Pienaar (UK), 6-4, 6-1
5. Caroline Lilley (UK) def.  Allyn Mueller (USF), 7-6, 1-6, 6-1
6. Jennifer Stone (UK) def. Christine Wilson (USF), 7-5, 6-2

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