Kentucky's Top Duo Selected to Partake in NCAA Doubles Championship
May 1, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior Carolina Escamilla (Medellin, Colombia) and freshman Caroline Lilley (Portland, Ore.) have been selected as one of 32 doubles teams to partake in the NCAA Doubles Championship in College Station, Texas. Since 1999, UK has sent a doubles team to NCAA's either as an alternate or competitor nine times. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 20-25 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center at Texas A&M following the conclusion of the team championship (May 15-19). The draws for the championship will not be announced until the week of the championship.
The Wildcat duo is currently ranked No. 31 in the country. They have defeated multiple ranked teams including three teams which were ranked higher than themselves. The biggest upset came when the tandem upended the No. 18 Arkansas pair of Nanar Airapetian and Anouk Tigu earlier in the season. Escamilla and Lilley also defeated Clemson's No. 27 duo of Josipa Bek and Ina Hadziselimovic in March to help the Cats upset the No. 14 Tigers for the second year in a row.
Escamilla and Lilley are 9-8 overall, holding the most wins for a doubles team for Kentucky. This year's competition will mark the second consecutive and third overall time Escamilla has traveled to the NCAA Doubles Championship. Last season Escamilla and then partner junior Christine Johnston went as alternates to Tulsa, Okla. In 2006, as a freshman, Escamilla headed to Palo Alto, Calif., with former player Kim Coventry. The duo made it through the first round but was defeated in the Round of 16. Kentucky has had a doubles team reach at least the quarterfinals three times since Carolina Mayorga and Sarah Witten first did so in 2001.
Automatic qualification into the Division I doubles championships was awarded to any conference with one or more eligible doubles teams ranked in the ITA Top 60 for eligible/entered doubles teams. For conferences with more than one doubles team within the ITA Top 60 eligible/entered doubles teams, the subcommittee will apply the NCAA selection criteria to determine which doubles team is the automatic qualifier from those conferences. All doubles teams must have a record of a minimum of 10 completed doubles matches in order to be selected as an automatic qualifier or an at-large selection.
Georgia's Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist were selected as the automatic qualifier from the Southeastern Conference. Eight of the 21 other at-large bids are also from the SEC. Four additional conference doubles teams were selected as alternates.
The Wildcats were also recently selected to participate in the 2009 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships. Kentucky will travel to Evanston, Ill., to face No. 37 Ohio State in the NCAA First Round at host school Northwestern. UK is seeded second with the No. 1 Northwestern Wildcats taking the obvious first seed position. Competition is set to begin on Friday, May 8. UK and the Buckeyes take the court first at 11 a.m. ET at the Vandy Christine Tennis Center. Northwestern will face No. 72 Miami University in the first round of competition at 2 p.m. ET. The winners of each match will face off on Saturday, May 9 at 1 p.m. ET. The successor of both rounds will advance to the "Sweet Sixteen" in College Station, Texas.