Broderick, Stiles Grab Wins in UK Defeat to Vanderbilt

April 16, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Megan Broderick won a thrilling match over No. 76 Alex Leatu in her final match at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center, and sophomore Jessica Stiles won convincingly, but it was not enough for the Kentucky women’s tennis team which fell to No. 18 Vanderbilt 5-2 on Senior Day.

Broderick, who was honored prior to the match along with fellow seniors Lauren Meier and Nicole Scates, entertained the fans with a thrilling back and forth, come from behind victory at No. 1 singles. After dropping the first set 6-4, the Tampa, Fla., native rebounded with a 6-4 victory in the second set to force a decisive third set. Broderick and Leatu both found success on the other’s serve and exchanged breaks in the third set before Broderick finally held to take a 5-4 lead. Then, with Leatu serving, Broderick found another break and took the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Broderick, who has won over 60 matches throughout her fantastic UK career, said after the match that she wanted to go out and leave everything on the line and play loose.

“It means everything,” Broderick said of her victory and looking back at her time in Lexington. “Between the players and the coaches and all the close relationships, this win means a lot.”

Stiles, a sophomore who transferred from Duke, turned in the most dominating performance of her collegiate career, taking down Vanderbilt’s Jackie Wu in straight sets at love 6-0, 6-0. Stiles covered the court well all afternoon against Wu, who entered the match with a 7-3 singles record in conference action, and was aggressive in picking her shots. The win was Stiles’ 10th singles victory of the season, a team high, and her fourth conference victory.

UK head coach Carlos Drada said Stiles and Broderick’s wins were important to show the young team what it takes to get wins.

“This was a huge step forward for us not only for this year but for next year as well,” Drada said. “We’re a young team. Jessica was able to simplify the game out there and Broderick beat one of the best players in the nation on Senior Day.”

Vanderbilt (13-7, 7-4 SEC) swept the doubles point with convincing performances at the Nos. 1 and 3 positions. Freshmen Caitlin McGraw and Marni Venter, playing at No. 2 doubles, fought all match with Vanderbilt’s Lauren Mira and Chelsea Preeg, pushing it to a tiebreak. McGraw and Venter fell behind early in the tiebreak 5-1, but rallied to score the next five points and take a 6-5 lead. Vanderbilt bounced back however, and ended up taking the tiebreak 8-6 to complete the sweep.

The Commodores won at Nos. 3-6 singles to seal the match 5-2. Vanderbilt has won its last four matches against the Wildcats.

Saturday’s match marked the end of the regular season for the Wildcats. Kentucky (4-19, 2-9 SEC) will enter the SEC Tournament as the No. 10 seed and face off against the No. 7 seed LSU in the SEC Tournament's opening round on Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn. Kentucky lost to LSU 5-2 on April 10 in Baton Rouge, La. The winner of the Kentucky-LSU match will face No. 2 seed Tennessee on Friday. Florida won the regular season crown and will be the top seed in the tournament.

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Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex
Lexington, Ky.
April 16, 2011

No. 18 Vanderbilt 5, Kentucky 2

Doubles competition:
1) Dillon/Wu (VU) def. Broderick/Blajkevitch (UK) 8-2
2) Mira/Preeg (VU) def. McGraw/Venter (UK) 8-7 (8-6)
3) Ulery/Leatu (VU) def. Stiles/Witten (UK) 8-0

Singles competition:
1) Megan Broderick (UK) def. No. 76 Alex Leatu (VU) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
2) Jessica Stiles (UK) def. Jackie Wu (VU) 6-0, 6-0
3) No. 83 Chelsea Preeg (VU) def. Khristina Blajkevitch (UK) 6-2, 6-2
4) Lauren Mira (VU) def. Caitlin McGraw (UK) 1-6, 6-3, 6-0
5) Rachael Dillon (VU def. Cece Witten (UK) 6-2, 6-3
6) Nelly Radeva (VU) def. Misha Testerman (UK) 6-3, 6-2

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