Women's Tennis Gains Team Ranking

Jan. 24, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the first time since the 2008-09 season, the University of Kentucky women’s tennis team has made its way into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national team rankings. After an extremely successful opening weekend, the ITA awarded the Cats the 72nd-ranked position. 

The UK’s women’s tennis program is in no way new to the rankings. Kentucky faced rebuilding years after the 2008-09 season, after having sat comfortably in the top-30 for over 20 years. The program reached an all-time high in 2005, when ranked No. 4. That year the Cats won the Southeastern Conference Tournament, had three Wildcats ranked nationally for singles, and two doubles team in the top-35.

The Cats look to return to such prominence, but seventh-year head coach, Carlos Drada, knows that every little detail matters to reach such a point.

“We are relatively young but very capable to execute basic patterns consistently,” Drada said. “If we execute our games regardless of the opponents we may be facing, we will have a very successful season.”

Kentucky is on the path to success, after opening the season with a 3-0 record. The Wildcats demonstrated their talent, as they defeated 54th-ranked Marshall, 5-2, and grabbed, 7-0 victories from Belmont and Morehead State over the weekend.

Contributing to the Wildcats success were junior Jessica Stiles and sophomore Khristina Blajkevitch who occupy the 34th-rankied position for doubles teams. The two took on Marshall’s 35th-ranked duo of Dominika Zaprazna and Maria Voscekova in an intense match the required a tiebreaker to decide the final result of, 9-8 (8).

Also proving their worth for the Cats are freshmen Stephanie Fox and Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff. The two fit seamlessly into the line-up and dominated in every match they participated in during the opening weekend. Fox demonstrated her power as she took only 32 minutes to defeat one of her opponents, 6-0, 6-0. After an injury sidelined Khristina Blajkevitch, Morin-Kougoucheff handled the pressure of the No. 1 singles position with ease with the help of sophomore Caitlin McGraw. The two defeated their opponents 8-4, and, 8-0, in the doubleheader with Belmont and Morehead State.

McGraw, along with Misha Testerman, Marni Venter, and Cece Witten, are also continuing to contribute to Kentucky’s success with their experience. All four played like veterans this past weekend to help the Cats take the three victories.

The Wildcats look to continue their success as they face Purdue at home on Feb. 4 at noon ET.

For continuing coverage of UK women’s tennis log on to UKathletics.com.