Feb. 14, 2010


Courtesy of Tennessee

MADISON, Wis. - Sixth-ranked senior Caitlin Whoriskey defeated the nation's top singles player on Saturday, to help the No. 13 University of Tennessee women's tennis team (5-1) edge No. 9 Georgia Tech, 4-3, in the first consolation match of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championships.

"We limped into this tournament and it's not an easy one to limp into, so this is a big win for us," Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick said. "Georgia Tech is a tough opponent, but the team gave great effort."

After losing the doubles point for the first time this season in their contest with Northwestern, the Lady Vols performed a clean sweep of the Yellow Jackets to win the team point. Junior Rosalía Alda and senior partner Zsófia Zubor were first off the court for Tennessee. The two overpowered Viet Ha Ngo and Hillary Davis, 8-3. Sophomore Katie Lee and junior Maria Sorbello combined for the Big Orange to claim an 8-4 victory against Elizabeth Kilborn and Lynn Blau.

Keeping the Big Orange perfect was the duo of Whoriskey and sophomore Natalie Pluskota. The two won, 8-6, over Tech's Sasha Krupina and Irina Falconi.

Tennessee moved into singles with the 1-0 lead but saw it vanish after Rosalía Alda faltered in three heartbreaking sets to Amanda McDowell from Georgia Tech, 6-3, 1-6, 2-6.

Playing singles for the first time since September, junior Jennifer Meredith found herself penciled in at the fifth roster spot against Lynn Blau. The two pushed both sets into tiebreakers but it would be Meredith who was able to claim them and win the struggle, 7-6, 7-6, and propel UT back into the lead for good.

"Jen was competing in her first singles match in months and she did great," Patrick said. "She played with a lot of heart."

With the Orange and White ahead, 2-1, Whoriskey was able to add to Tennessee's lead by upsetting the No. 1 player in the country. Last fall, the East Sandwich, Mass., native beat then-No.1 Maria Mosolova from Northwestern, 6-3, 6-1, in round one of the Riviera/ITA All-American Tournament. This time, however, she needed a comeback three-setter to triumph over Tech's Falconi. Coincidently it was Falconi who used straight, 6-1, 6-1, sets to knock Whoriskey out of the All-American.

The first set began with both players matching each other, game-for-game; eventually bringing the set to 6-6, and forcing a tiebreaker. Falconi would go on to win it and take set-one, 7-6.

"Losing the first hurt, but I regrouped and came out strong," Whoriskey said.

Come out strong she did, as the first four games in the second went in UT's favor. Falconi was able to push the score to 5-4, but Whoriskey held on to win set two, 6-4, and push the match into a third stanza. Much like the first set, this one was evenly played but, ultimately, Whoriskey came out on top with a 6-4 score, and the match upset.

"It was a big win over a great opponent," Whoriskey said. "It was as much a mental game between us as the actual physical game, and I'm glad to have stayed focused."

51st-ranked Maria Sorbello also needed three sets to win her individual match and secure the team win for Tennessee. Her 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 triumph, over No. 66 Krupina came in the wake of a loss by UT sophomore Katie Lee to Kilborn, 6-2, 6-0.

The Big Orange's last competitor, Zubor also fell in straight-sets, 6-3, 7-5, to the Yellow Jacket's Ha Ngo.

Tennessee will close out its stay at the Indoor Championships with a 9 a.m. CT (10 a.m. ET) clash versus No. 20 Florida State on Sunday, Feb. 14.

#13 Tennessee 4, #9 Georgia Tech 3
ITA National Team Indoor Championships (CONSOLATION)
February 13, 2010

1: #6 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) def. #1 Irina Falconi (GT) - 6-7, 6-4, 6-4
2: #51 Maria Sorbello (UT) def. #66 Sasha Krupina (GT) - 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
3: Amanda McDowell (GT) def. Rosalía Alda (UT) - 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
4: Viet Ha Ngo (GT) def. Zsófia Zubar (UT) - 6-3, 7-5
5: Jennifer Meredith (UT) def. Lynn Blau (GT) - 7-6, 7-6
6: Elizabeth Kilborn (GT) def. Katie Lee (UT) - 6-2, 6-0

Order of finish: (3, 5, 1, 6, 2*, 4)

1: #1 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. Sasha Krupina/Irina Falconi (GT) - 8-6
2: Rosalía Alda/Zsófia Zubor (UT) def. Viet Ha Ngo/Hillary Davis (GT) - 8-3
3: Katie Lee/Maria Sorbello (UT) def. Elizabeth Kilborn/Lynn Blau (GT) - 8-4

Order of finish: (2, 3, 1)
* Clinching point