May 31, 2010
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
ATHENS, Ga. - Natalie Pluskota and Caitlin Whoriskey's quest for the first NCAA Championship in school history came up just short as the Lady Vol duo was defeated 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 by No. 2-ranked Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette of Stanford on Monday afternoon.
In the opening frame, both schools were stellar in the service game. Up 6-5, Stanford recorded the first break of the match and took the set, 7-5.
UT got off to a better start in the second set, breaking the Cardinal to go up 2-1. Though UT failed to hold serve on the ensuing turn, the confidence enabled them to record a huge break late in the set, moving ahead 5-4. Pluskota then served UT all the way into a deciding third set.
Unfortunately for the Lady Vols, the final frame was all Stanford. Barte and Burdette got out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back, winning the set, 6-0, and their first-ever national championship.
They also eliminated Whoriskey and Pluskota for the second straight season. Last year, they won a third-set tiebreaker, 7-4, in the NCAA Semifinals.
The loss marks the end of Whoriskey's stellar career in Orange and White. The East Sandwich, Mass. native finishes with 92 singles victories and 114 doubles victories. She earned All-SEC honors on three separate occasions, including first team distinction each of the previous two seasons.
She was also a three-time All-America selection: in doubles (2009 and 2010) and singles (2010). This past season, she recorded a career-high 33 singles wins and 41 victories in doubles. She was named ITA National Senior Player of the Year for her efforts.
With the defeat, the book is officially closed on the 2009-10 Tennessee women's tennis season. As a team, the Big Orange finished 19-9 and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time in eight seasons.
Whoriskey and Pluskota also captured the 2009 Riviera/ITA All-American Doubles Championship in October, the second such title for Whoriskey. She also claimed a victory there in 2007 with Zsófia Zubor.
UT will say goodbye to both Whoriskey and Zubor. Often overlooked, Zubor recorded 106 doubles victories in her career and sits at fifth place in Tennessee history, just behind Whoriskey. A native of Nyrigegyhaza, Hungary, Zubor also posted 81 singles victories over her four years. Also successful in the classroom, she was a three-time Academic All-SEC selection and was named to the 2010 SEC Community Service team.
Looking forward, the future appears bright for the Lady Volunteers. UT returns the senior trio of Rosalía Alda, Maria Sorbello and Jennifer Meredith. Alda and Sorbello each captured second team All-SEC honors for their play this season.
Pluskota and rising sophomore Kata Szekely will use the offseason to recuperate from injuries that plagued them during the 2009-10 campaign.
Tennessee also adds three newcomers to the roster next season: Millicent Nichols (Austin, Texas), Whitney Wofford (Lubbock, Texas) and Brynn Boren (Laguan Nigel, Calif.) all signed with the Lady Vols and will join the team for the fall semester. A full recap will be posted later on UTLadyVols.com
Check UTLadyVols.com all summer for updates on the renovations to the Goodfriend Tennis Center as well as informationon how Tennessee players fare at summer tournaments.
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols
NCAA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
No. 2 Hilary Barte/Lindsay Burdette (Stanford) def. No. 1 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (Tennessee), 7-5, 4-6, 6-0