Wildcats Drop Close Call to South Carolina

April 23, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - All the higher seeded teams found victory during the first round of the SEC Tournament in Fayetteville, Ark. The No. 25 Kentucky Wildcats dropped a 4-2 decision to the No. 20 South Carolina Gamecocks in the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center Thursday evening.

"It was a great match," head coach Carlos Drada said. "South Carolina played with a lot of energy and discipline in doubles. Overall it was a well fought match between both teams. I'm proud of my players and think we were able to put ourselves on the right track heading into NCAAs. I believe we can learn a lot from today's match and can make a lot of progress and have a lot of success in the NCAA Tournament."

Junior Whitney Spencer gave the Cats a spark as she came off the courts first in singles to knot the score 1-1 after South Carolina had won the doubles point. Spencer defeated Suzanna Mansour in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, on court six.

The Gamecocks pulled ahead after nabbing wins on courts four and one. Sophomore Megan Broderick then gave the Wildcats life with an intense victory on court two. In the first set the Tampa, Fla., native was down 5-3 to South Carolina's Ana Zubori. Broderick rallied back to tie the score at six and went on to take the win with a 7-2 breaker score. Zubori tallied a win with 6-4 score in the second set, but Broderick dominated in the third set allowing no opponent games for a 6-0 result.

The match came down to courts three and five, occupied by Kentucky's Lauren Meier and Caroline Lilley, respectively. Both courts went into three sets. Meier won the first set against Dijana Stojic, 7-6(1). Stojic then went on to take the second set, 6-2 and had to fight the Wildcat for the third set. Each girl held serve until four all when Stojic pulled out the next two games for the win and to give South Carolina a trip to the second round against Tennessee on Friday.

Earlier in the afternoon Kentucky had dropped the doubles point on courts one and two. The Wildcats' ranked doubles team of No. 36 Carolina Escamilla and Carolina Lilley fell to Natasa Vuckovic and Ana Zubori, 8-4. Court three didn't get to finish its match, but UK's Meier and Spencer led 7-5 over Miljana Jocic and Gira Schofield.

The Wildcats will await word on Tuesday, April 28 at 5:20 p.m. ET of their location in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

No. 22 South Carolina 4, No. 25 Kentucky 2

1. Natasa Vuckovic/Ana Zubori (SC) def. Caroline Lilley/Carolina Escamilla, 8-4
2. Miljana Jocic/Gira Schofield (SC) def. Megan Broderick/Christine Johnston, 8-6
3. Diljana Stojic/Suzanna Mansour (SC) vs. Lauren Meier/Whitney Spencer, 7-6 dnf

1. Gira Schofield (SC) def. Carolina Escamilla (UK), 6-3, 6-3
2. Megan Broderick (UK) def. Ana Zubori (SC) 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-0
3. Diljana Stojic (SC) def. Lauren Meier, 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-4
4. Natasa Vucovic (SC) def. Christine Johnston (UK), 6-2, 6-2
5. Miljana Jocic (SC) vs. Caroline Lilley (UK), 1-6, 6-2, 4-2 dnf
6. Whitney Spencer (UK) def. Suzanna Mansour (SC), 6-2, 6-0

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