Jan. 5, 2010
By: Lindsey Williford, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - University of Tennessee women's tennis players Caitlin Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota were officially named the No. 1 doubles team in the country in the first Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings of the 2010 season, announced Tuesday. Overall, the Lady Volunteer squad was voted in at the 11 spot.
"I'm very pleased with the way the first rankings played out, especially for Caitlin and Natalie," said Co-Head Coach Mike Patrick. "Everyone had a great fall season, and we're proud to be seeded as one of the best in the country."
After finishing the 2009 fall season with a stellar 10-1 record, the All-American combo of Whoriskey and Pluskota start the 2010 season as the No. 1 doubles team in the country. The two became the first-ever Lady Vol tennis duo to claim top doubles honors and the first in 13 years to be in the top five. Margie Lepsi and Manisha Malhorta finished the 1997 season ranked fifth by the ITA.
Whoriskey and Pluskota climbed six spots from their preseason seventh slot after winning the Riviera/ITA All-American Tournament, reaching the doubles finals of the ITA Indoor Nationals and defeating seven nationally ranked opponents along the way. The Tennessee tandem reached the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships in College Station, Texas to conclude the 2009 season.
"It's an honor to coach the top doubles team and a credit to Caitlin and Natalie to be ranked above so many other top teams." Patrick said. "They beat tough opponents this fall and I'm sure this will motivate them to continue playing at their best."
As a team, the Big Orange fell one notch to No. 11 after concluding the 2008-09 campaign in 10th place. The Lady Vols finished the 2009 fall schedule with a 47-23 (.671) overall record and went 10-10 and 9-1 versus nationally rated opponents in singles and doubles, respectively.
It's no surprise to see Whoriskey ranked in the initial singles poll for the second straight year after tallying a team-best 11-3 record, and winning the singles title at the ITA Ohio Valley Regionals. The East Sandwich, Mass., native was voted in at No. 6, an outstanding 21-place jump from her rank at the start of the fall season and the highest ranking of her collegiate career.
Elsewhere in the singles rankings, junior Maria Sorbello debuted at No. 51. This is a first for Sorbello but not a shock. She posted eight wins, two against top-100 opponents, with only two losses. She won four of her last five matches, including a perfect 3-0 mark in the St. Mary's Tournament.
"I'm very impressed with Maria's appearance in the rankings," Patrick said. "She has worked so hard to get to this point, and I'm confident she will continue to improve."
The rankings from the Ohio Valley Regionals were also released with all three Tennessee doubles pairs in the top five. Whoriskey and Pluskota once again topped the polls, followed by junior Rosalía Alda and senior Zsófia Zubor in third and Sorbello with freshman partner Kata Szekely took the fifth spot. For the third time, Whoriskey's name can be found in the No. 1 spot, this time in the regional singles poll. Sorbello came in at No. 5, Szekely at No. 11 and Alda took her place at No. 15.
The next team rankings will be released Jan. 26. Singles and doubles rankings will not be released again until Feb. 18.
ITA National Rankings (Jan. 5)
No. 6: Caitlin Whoriskey
No. 51: Maria Sorbello
No. 1: Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota
ITA Ohio Valley Regional Rankings (jan. 5)
No. 1: Caitlin Whoriskey
No. 5: Maria Sorbello
No. 11 Kata Szekely
No. 15: Rosalía Alda
No. 1 Caitlin Whoriskey/Natalie Pluskota
No. 3 Rosalía Alda/Zsófia Zubor
No. 5: Maria Sorbello/Kata Szekely