May 20, 2009
College Station, Texas - For the second straight season, University of Tennessee junior women's tennis player Caitlin Whoriskey was ousted in the opening round of the NCAA Singles Championships, falling in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to Reka Zsilinszka of Duke Wednesday evening at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Whoriskey, ranked 34th in the nation, faced an uphill climb from the get-go, as the 30th-rated Zsilinszka was fresh off being named the Most Valuable Player for the team portion of the NCAA Tournament where she led the Blue Devils to their first national title. The Duke sophomore won all five of her NCAA singles contests and had won 16 straight to end the year.
In the match on Thursday, Whoriskey fell behind early and was unable to recover. In the first set, she picked up a quick service break to take a 2-1 advantage but gave the point right back when Zsilinszka answered with a break of her own. That point proved to be the beginning of the end for Whoriskey, unfortunately, as the second-year Blue Devil rattled off three more games in a row to take a commanding 5-2 lead. Although Whoriskey was able to hold serve to move within two scores, Zsilinszka followed suit shortly thereafter to win the frame, 6-3.
Despite the first-set loss, Whoriskey came out on fire in the second, taking a 2-1 lead behind the strength of her strong serve and powerful forehand. That would be all the East Sandwich, Mass., native would be able to muster against Zsilinszka though, as she found the same rhythm she used to close out the first set and used it to win the final four games of the contest and the match 6-3, 6-2.
Whoriskey was defeated in the opening round of the singles tournament last season as well, dropping a 6-2, 6-1, decision to Sanaz Marand from North Carolina. For the year, the 5-8 junior finishes with a 22-19 singles record, including a team-high 10 victories over nationally-ranked opponents. She will enter her senior campaign with a 58-40 career mark.
Whoriskey's season is not over quite yet, however, as she will join forces with Lady Volunteer freshman Natalie Pluskota in the doubles portion of the competition beginning on Thursday afternoon. The 10th-ranked pairing in the nation will take on the 35th-rated California duo of Marina Coussou and Claire Ilcinkas.
The Tennessee tandem has been terrific this season, amassing a 12-6 record, with nine of those victories coming against nationally-ranked opponents. In contests against fellow competitors in the NCAA Tournament, Whoriskey and Pluskota have tallied a 6-4 record. If they can advance past the first round, they would face the winner of the match between the No. 2-seeded Notre Dame pairing of Kristy Frilling and Kelcy Tefft and the 11th-ranked Georgia Tech duo of Irena Falconi and Amanda McDowell on Friday.
A link to live video of Thursday's doubles contest can be found at www.UTLadyVols.com.
Round of 64
No. 30 Reka Zsilinszka (Duke) def. No. 34 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) - 6-3, 6-2
Round of 32 - Thursday
No. 10 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) vs. No. 35 Marina Coussou/Claire Ilcinkas (California)