Women's Tennis Begins 2009 in Top-25

Jan. 6, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Carlos Drada, the Kentucky women’s tennis team has continued its rise among the nation’s elite, beginning the 2009 season as the nation’s No. 23 team. The Wildcats’ sophomore Megan Broderick is ranked No. 61 nationally in singles along with the doubles tandem of senior Carolina Escamilla and junior Christine Johnston at No. 42.

Kentucky maintains six of seven players from last season’s top-25 squad, including the team’s number one spots in singles and doubles with Broderick, Escamilla and Johnston all returning. Also coming back into the line-up is juniors Sarah Woestmann and Whitney Spencer, and sophomore Lauren Meier. UK adds two freshmen to the roster, Jennifer Stone (Greensboro, N.C.) and Caroline Lilley (Portland, Ore.). 

Lilley had an outstanding collegiate debut during the Cats’ fall tournament season finishing with a 10-4 singles record, including championship wins at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the June Stewart Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. Stone also impressed during the fall with a 9-7 singles and a 8-4 doubles records.

 “Our freshmen bring a lot of energy to the table,” commented Drada. “Caroline and Jennifer have improved during the fall but more importantly, they have an open mind to learning which will help them grow constantly as players.  They demonstrate a solid work ethic that is not always evident in young athletes, which shows a lot of future promise for them.”

Coach Drada continues to push his players with a slew of difficult opponents throughout the season, including 15 of 21 ranked teams. Fourteen teams that were among the 2008 NCAA tournament field and 13 home matches highlight Kentucky’s 2009 dual-match schedule. Of the 13 teams coming to Lexington, four are ranked among the nation’s top-30, including No. 7 Florida, No. 11 Clemson and No. 12 Vanderbilt, while eight are in the top-60, as determined by the FILA/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings.

In 2008 the Cats made their 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament run with five Sweet Sixteen appearances in the last seven years. They also gained the program’s 11th straight final ITA Top-35 team ranking and 17th Top-25 finish in school history.

“We have the talent on our team to do really good things,” Drada said. “We have to get clear in what we want. The main thing that we are going to work on is staying in the present and current situation. There is always room for improvement and there is always room at the top.”

The Wildcats open their 2009 schedule on the road Sat., Jan. 17, at Marshall. The Cats return home for a double-header Fri., Jan. 30, against East Tennessee State and Eastern Kentucky.