Kentucky to Face South Carolina in the First Round of SEC Tournament Action

April 19, 2009

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The conference office announced the draw for the 2009 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis Tournament this weekend. Kentucky's No. 24 women's tennis team is set to face No. 20 South Carolina in the first round of the tournament. First round matches will take place on Thursday, April 23 in Fayetteville, Ark. Matches begin at 9:30 a.m. ET with Kentucky taking the courts later in the day at 3:30 p.m. ET. All times are subject to change.

UK fell to the Gamecocks during the regular season in Lexington, 5-2, ending the Cats' nine-match winning streak. Kentucky grabbed a doubles win on court three and singles wins on courts three and six.

South Carolina will be coming off a 4-2 loss to Florida when they play the Wildcats on Thursday. UK is also heading to the tournament after a loss as they were defeated by Vanderbilt on Saturday.

"Playing South Carolina will definitely be a challenge," head coach Carlos Drada said. "But I know that we are capable of finding success if we play to our full potential."

The Wildcats are led by freshman Caroline Lilley and junior Christine Johnston who hold 14 and 13 wins, respectively. Lilley has performed the best among the Blue and White squad during SEC play, defeating six of her opponents. Johnston files in just behind her teammate with five conference wins.

Playing in UK's front court is senior Carolina Escamilla occupying court one and sophomore Megan Broderick, ranked No. 104 in the nation, standing at court two. Escamilla also makes up one half of the top Kentucky doubles team. She pairs with Lilley as the nation's No. 47 duo. The team has defeated four ranked teams this season with their biggest upset coming over Arkansas' top-ranked pair, then ranked No. 18. Sophomore Lauren Meier and junior Whitney Spencer have had the most league success for UK as a doubles pair with eight SEC wins.

The Blue and White have recently struggled in its last stretch of matches, although the team's last three contests have been against top-20 teams, including No. 2 Georgia. Kentucky's play in the SEC Tournament could give them a better position going into the NCAA Tournament in May.

"I see the tournament as an opportunity for our team to play with the energy and mental toughness that I know we are capable of," said Drada. "I am certain that when we do, the results will speak for themselves."

The SEC Tournament schedule is as follows, all times are central and subject to change:

Thursday, April 23
8:30 a.m. #9 Auburn vs. #8 Alabama
10:30 a.m. #12 Mississippi State vs. #5 Vanderbilt
12:30 p.m. #10 LSU vs. #7 Ole Miss
2:30 p.m. #11 Kentucky vs. #6 South Carolina

Friday, April 24
8:30 a.m. Winner Match 1 vs. #1 Georgia
10:30 a.m. Winner Match 2 vs. #4 Florida
12:30 p.m. Winner Match 3 vs. #2 Arkansas
2:30 p.m. Winner Match 4 vs. #3 Tennessee

Saturday, April 25
10 a.m. Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6
1 p.m. Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8

Sunday, April 26
Noon Winner Match 9 vs. Winner Match 10