Oct. 11, 2009
By: Lindsey Williford, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - For the second time in three years it was a University of Tennessee pair taking home the doubles title at the Riviera/Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Tournament in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
This time it was the No. 7-ranked Lady Vol duo of senior Caitlin Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota emerging victorious after a thrilling three-set comeback. The Big Orange battled the tough freshmen team of Lauren Embree and Allie Will from Southeastern Conference rival Florida, in what was the first-ever contest between the two pairs.
The Gators took early control of the match by winning the first set, 3-6. "Florida came out playing incredibly well," stated Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick. "They were picking us apart at the net, hitting everything from the baseline and it didn't help that we played a little conservatively."
From the beginning of the second set however, it was obvious that the Tennessee tandem wasn't going ready to go home so early. It dropped only one game in an easy 6-1, second-set victory, forcing a third-set tiebreaker. "It's never easy when you lose the first-set, but Caitlin and Natalie settled down and came out in the second with great focus," said Patrick. "They got into a real good flow and their momentum picked up."
Whoriskey and Pluskota kept that momentum in set three. The duo didn't lose a game en-route to a 6-0 third-set win and ultimately, the match. "You could tell early on in the set that Natalie and Caitlin wanted to bring the title home," Patrick said. "They were playing good, solid tennis, reminding everyone of why they're a top-10 team in the country."
"We played great tennis the past few days against strong competitors and it's always fun when the end result is a national championship win," summed up Patrick. The pair had to beat four opponents, including the nation's No. 2 team to win the tournament.
Round of 16
No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. No. 15 Kristy Frilling/Kali Krisik (ND) - 8-2
No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. No. 2 Hilary Barte/Lindsay Burdette (Stanford)- 8-4
No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. No. 8 Lenka Broosova/Csilla Borsanyi (Baylor) - 6-4, 6-3
No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. Lauren Embree/Allie Will (UF) - 3-6, 6-1, 6-0