Escamilla and Lilley Head to College Station for NCAA Doubles Championship
May 19, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After being selected as one of the 32 doubles teams to compete for the NCAA Doubles Championship title senior Carolina Escamilla (Medellin, Colombia) and freshman Caroline Lilley (Portland, Ore.) head to College Station, Texas. Doubles match play begins on Thursday, May 21 with the first pairs taking the court at 11 a.m. ET in the Mitchell Tennis Center.
Escamilla and Lilley are pitted against the No. 3 overall seed and No. 3 team in the country, Andrea Remynse and Yasmin Schnack of UCLA. The top-ranked pair is 17-5 this year. Last year another doubles team from the Bruins, Tracey Lin and Riza Zalameda, went on to claim the doubles title after being selected as the No. 1 overall seed.
If the Kentucky duo advances into the Round of 16, there is a possibility for a rematch with Northwestern's Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui who the Blue and White faced during the NCAA Second Round in Evanston, Ill., just weeks ago.
Since 1999, UK has sent at least one 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 SEC is making a strong appearance in the NCAA Doubles Championship as eight of the 21 at-large bids are from the league, not including the four other pairs listed as alternates. Overall Kentucky's tandem has faced 11 of the 32 teams listed in the bracket.
The Wildcat duo is currently ranked No. 31 in the country and holds a 9-10 overall record. They have defeated multiple ranked teams including three 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.
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 applied the NCAA selection criteria to determine which doubles team was the automatic qualifier from those conferences. All doubles teams must have had a record of a minimum of 10 completed doubles matches in order to be selected as an automatic qualifier or an at-large selection.