Ravita, McGraw, Witten Receive NCAA Tournament At-Large Bids

April 30, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A historic season for the University of Kentucky women’s tennis team continues as sophomore, Nadia Ravita, and seniors, Cece Witten and Caitlin McGraw received at-large bids to the 2014 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Tennis Championships. Ravita will compete in the singles competition while senior duo, Cece Witten and Caitlin McGraw will take on the field in doubles.

“We are excited to see the work of the past four years start to show its fruits,” Kentucky head coach Carlos Drada said. “It’s a great feeling for the coaching staff to see the progress of our players being recognized on a national level in the form of tournament berths in both singles and doubles.”

The announcement of Ravita, Witten and McGraw being selected to compete in the NCAA Championships comes on the heels of Kentucky receiving its first at-large bid as a team for the tournament since 2009. The Wildcats haven’t seen action in both the singles and doubles tournaments since 2006 when Alex Hume and Kim Coventry competed in the singles tournament and Coventry joined Carolina Escamilla for doubles. Coventry advanced to the second round in the singles competition before falling to UCLA’s Riza Zalameda. Coventry and Escamilla also survived the first round, but ultimately fell to South Florida’s Gabriela Duch and Neyssa Etienne in the round of 16.

“We are convinced that this is a sign of great things to come for this team,” Drada said. “ All the recognition goes to each and every one of our players. This is the result of them trusting the process, their belief in our values and vision and their hard work on a consistent basis.”

A native of Jakarta, Indonesia, Ravita is returning to the NCAA Tournament for her second consecutive year and is one of 49 players to receive an at-large bid. Last season as a freshman, she was the lone Wildcat to receive an at-large bid into the tournament and the first since Hume and Coventry in 2006. Ravita fell in the first round to third-ranked Robin Anderson of UCLA.

“I’m excited to compete in the tournament again this year, especially with CeCe and Caitlin,” Ravita said. “We’ve all worked really hard this season and it’s paid off.”

The sophomore posted a 10-6 overall record this season and had five wins in conference play. Ravita defeated four ranked opponents, including knocking off Auburn’s Pleun Burgmans twice. In a key Southeastern Conference win, Ravita clinched the match for the Wildcats with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Burgmans. Her second win over the Tiger gave Kentucky match point in the SEC Tournament and Kentucky advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Witten, a native of Danville, Ky., and McGraw, a native of Orlando, Fla., will join 31 doubles team in the NCAA Championships and is the first duo from Kentucky to receive and at-large bid since Escamilla and Caroline Lilley fell in the round of 16 in 2009.

“I’m beyond excited to be going to the doubles tournament with Caitlin,” Witten said. “We’ve worked really hard and have gone through a lot of ups and downs in our time here. This is the best way possible for us to go out as seniors and I can’t wait to see what the postseason has in store for this team.”

In their final season as Wildcats, the tandem made  every match count. Competing at the No. 1 doubles position, they boasted a 12-8, 5-8 SEC record. The pair had a nine match win streak before their first loss to Texas A&M’s then-No. 12 duo Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu. Facing top competition at the No. 1 doubles slot, the seniors held their own with signature wins over No. 30 Elixane Lechemia and Dominika Kanakova and No. 19 Emily Flickinger and Burgmans.

“I am ecstatic to be playing my final college match at the NCAA Doubles Tournament,” McGraw said. “I was literally shaking when I heard the news. CeCe and I have worked so hard over the last four years and it’s rewarding to see it pay off. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to be on the court with.”

Only three other SEC schools – Florida, Georgia and Auburn – are being represented in both the NCAA Singles and Doubles tournament. The singles and doubles competition will follow the conclusion of the team championship, May 21-26 at the Dan Magill Tennis complex in Athens, Ga., hosted by the University of Georgia.