A healthy Natalie Pluskota could pay big dividends for the Big Orange
May 4, 2010
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The field for 2010 NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament was announced earlier this evening and with it came good news for the Lady Vols. UT will host the first and second rounds for the second consecutive year.
UT received the No. 13 overall seed and will face Big South champion Winthrop (16-8, 6-1) in a first round matchup on Friday, May 14 at 1 p.m.
For Tennessee Co-head coach Mike Patrick, the ability to host the opening rounds is something that his team relishes.
"We're happy to host," Patrick said. "Winthrop has a pretty good team and I know they're excited to come here. We also know Vanderbilt and Indiana pretty well. It'll be fun to have an opponent to start working for and it should be really fun for us the next 10 days or so."
Senior Caitlin Whoriskey, who was named to the All-SEC First Team last week, echoed similar sentiments.
"It's nice being at home," Whoriskey said. "We had the opportunity to last year and we let it slip through our fingers. I'm pretty sure all the girls are happy that we're at home. You have your own fans and your own environment."
The winner of the UT-Winthrop match will take on the winner of a first round meeting between No. 28 Vanderbilt and No. 41 Indiana. Tennessee faced both teams during the regular season. Indiana defeated the Lady Vols, 5-1 on Feb. 21 while Tennessee took two of three regular season contests against the Commodores, most recently a 4-2 win in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
That victory helped propel UT to its second consecutive SEC Championship match, where it lost to Florida, 4-1.
Tennessee is aiming to get healthy. Sophomore Natalie Pluskota, who currently ranks No. 1 in the Campbell/ITA doubles rankings with Whoriskey, returned from a two-month layoff at the SEC Tournament.
Patrick thinks that having Pluskota and freshman Kata Szekely at full strength could really benefit his squad.
"We're excited to have them back," Patrick said. "We've had a full team of eight people back at practice for the first time all season."
The draw for the NCAA Women's singles and doubles championships will be posted on www.ncaa.com tomorrow evening by 6 p.m.
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vols on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTLadyVols
MAY 14-16, 2010
Vanderbilt vs. Indiana at 10 a.m.
Tennessee vs. Winthrop at 1 p.m.
Vanderbilt/Indiana vs. Tennessee/Winthrop at 3 p.m.