Caitlin Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota with Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick
Nov. 8, 2009
By: Lindsey Williford, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A bid for a second national doubles title ended Sunday for the top-seeded and seventh-ranked Lady Volunteer combo of senior Caitlin Whoriskey and junior Natalie Pluskota, as it dropped a 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, decision to the No. 3-rated and second-seeded Stanford duo of Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette in the doubles final at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Indoor Nationals in New Haven, Conn.
"I'm very proud of the fight and effort both Caitlin and Natalie showed today," said UT Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick. "Today's outcome was not due to lack of heart, as they both gave it their all in every point."
Unlike previous matches in the tournament, Tennessee started strong, jumping out to a quick 4-1 lead in the first set. Games four, five and six, however, went to Barte and Burdette, squaring the match at four-all. Whoriskey and Pluskota never let the Cardinal have the lead however, rolling through the next two games to claim the 6-4 set win.
Stanford kicked things into high gear at the start of set two, taking a 3-0 lead before dropping a game to the Orange and White. Whoriskey and Pluskota managed to steal two more games but couldn't overcome the deficit, losing the second set, 3-6.
"Both teams showed their dominance in the first two sets," Patrick said. "Once a lead was established, it wasn't about to be given up."
It looked like Barte and Burdette were poised for another dominating set victory at the start of the third, but before they could go any further, the Big Orange fought back to tie it, 3-3.
"We had lots of momentum swings today," Patrick said. "We got down 0-3 in the third, but clawed our way back into it, only to lose the next two games."
With the score now 5-3, the Cardinal needed just one more to game to close out the set and match. Whoriskey and Pluskota found the strength though, and pulled themselves out of another hole, winning three-straight games to snag a 6-5 set lead.
Another momentum switch in Stanford's favor pushed the match to 6-6 and into a seven-point tiebreaker. From there, it was all Barte and Burdette, as they grabbed four straight points to win the game, set and ultimately, the national title.
"Caitlin and Natalie gave it their all against a very good team today," Patrick said. "Despite today's outcome, I'm very proud of them and we hope to see this Stanford team later in the spring."
(Round of 16)
(1) No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. No. 33 Lauren Magale/Pichittra Thongbach (Boise State) - 8-5
(1) No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. No. 31 Anna Redecsi/Selma Salkovic (DePaul) - 8-6
(1) No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) def. No. 36 Gabriella Mejia/Laura Vallverdu (U. of Miami) - 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
(2) No. 3 Hilary Barte/Lindsay Burdette (Stanford) def. (1) No. 7 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota (UT) - 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (4)