Crystal Cleveland wrapped up her career as a Lady Vol.
June 19, 2003
Having said good-bye to three of six starters from a squad that reached the NCAA Final Four for the first time in school history in 2002, the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer tennis team had a tough act to follow this year. Co-Head Coaches Mike Patrick and Sonia Hahn-Patrick knew they had a pair of outstanding veterans in seniors Vilmarie Castellvi and Crystal Cleveland to lead their otherwise inexperienced team, but several question marks remained at the outset of the fall. When it was all said and done, though, the Patricks and the rest of the Lady Vols had the pleasure of enjoying one of the most successful campaigns in school history.
The fall season kicked off with a monumental announcement for Tennessee by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on Sept. 9 when the preseason rankings revealed that Castellvi was the nation's No. 1-ranked singles competitor. In 2002, the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native concluded her stellar junior year with a program-high No. 4 rating. Only months later, she had the nation's coveted top spot, and it was the first of a countless number of honors Castellvi would go on to receive during the 2002-03 academic year.
Tennessee headed to Peachtree City, Ga., for the adidas Invitational, its first tune-up for the spring season. Joining Castellvi and Cleveland on the trip were junior Tammy Encina, sophomores Ashley Robards, Erin Cohn and Claudia Farace, and freshmen Melissa Schaub and Sabita Maharaj. Overall, the Lady Vols performed well, but it was Castellvi who stole the show from the rest of the field. She claimed the title for the top flight of singles, beating all of her opponents in straight sets, two of whom were ranked in the Top 25. By the end of the year, Castellvi had posted an amazing 20-2 mark against Top 25 foes.
The following weekend, UT hosted its annual St. Mary's Fall Classic. Joining the Lady Vols were participants from Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Purdue. Tennessee began showing signs of the great results it would produce in the spring when Castellvi and Maharaj each won their respective flights of singles. Castellvi collected her 100th career win in the process with her first-round conquest of Georgia Tech's Misty Morris. Cleveland also had a big weekend for the Orange and White, reaching the finals of her draw by stunning 36th-rated Delila Causevic of Maryland in two straight-set tiebreakers. Castellvi and Schaub, ranked 23rd for the fall, took home a doubles title for UT, as did Cleveland and Robards. The St. Mary's tourney also gave sophomores Breanna Kray and Majen Immink, and junior Melinda Morrow a chance to get some playing time after fighting off injuries at the beginning of the year.
While most of the team made the two-hour drive on I-40 to Nashville a couple weeks later for the June Stewart Invitational, Castellvi paid the West Coast a visit following her wins in Knoxville. She entered the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships-the first of the ITA's three Grand Slam events-as the tourney's top seed. Castellvi cruised by Florida's Julie Rotondi in the initial round but stumbled in her next matchup with Stanford freshman Amber Liu, the ITA's National Rookie of the Year by season's end. Unbeknownst to them at the time, it was the first of four battles between the Cardinal rookie and the four-year Lady Vol starter. Their final contest in May would take place with much more at stake than simply a trip to the third round.
At the June Stewart Invitational, Maharaj displayed more of her tennis prowess by taking home a second-straight singles crown. Encina also had a strong showing by winning two of three matches. Only one tournament remained on the team's fall schedule and things were beginning to take shape for the spring lineup.
The SEC Coaches Tournament in November was where most of the Lady Vols found themselves, except for Castellvi, who flew with Hahn-Patrick to Farmers Branch, Texas, for the ITA's second Grand Slam: The Omni Hotels Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The tournament was a homecoming of sorts for Hahn-Patrick since she claimed the tournament title for Kentucky in 1987. It was a tough opening round for Castellvi, as she fell to Northwestern freshman Christelle Grier, who was later named the ITA's National Player to Watch. All was not lost for Castellvi, and she bounced back to reach the finals of the consolation draw, avenging her loss to Liu along the way in an epic three-set encounter. Liu's teammate, Alice Barnes, downed Castellvi in three sets in the final match.
While Castellvi was butting heads with some of the nation's best, her fellow Lady Volunteers were fighting a different battle in Peachtree City at the SEC Coaches Tournament with the weather. Torrid rainstorms were wreaking havoc with the schedule and forced the final day of play to be cancelled. But, before Mother Nature sent the field home a day early, a pair of doubles duos emerged as the victors in their flights. Cleveland and Robards snatched their second title of the fall in Flight B, while Encina and Maharaj, who entered the tourney with a mere 2-5 mark, chalked up four wins in a row for the Flight A crown. With their fall slate concluded, the Lady Vols looked to use the remainder of November and December to rest up for the grueling dual matches that awaited them in the spring.
Not everyone was prepared to hang the rackets up for the winter, as Castellvi traveled south in December to El Salvador for the Central American and Caribbean Games. It was yet another success for Castellvi, who took home gold and silver medals from an event considered to be one of the most important sports competitions in the region. Despite the tight squeeze with her academic commitments, she managed to return to Rocky Top just in time to finish out her final exams for the semester.
On Jan. 13, the long-awaited preseason team rankings were released by the ITA. The Lady Vols would begin the year one spot away from the Top 10 at No. 11. As usual, their opponents also weighed in with some healthy ratings, five of which were at No. 8 or better (No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Duke, No. 5 North Carolina and No. 8 Vanderbilt). If Tennessee planned on enjoying the same success that it did last season, it would have to do so against one of the nation's most imposing schedules, not to mention the country's premier conference. The rankings also placed Castellvi at No. 4 in singles and 22nd in doubles with Schaub. Encina and Maharaj also earned a spot in the doubles ratings at No. 53.
Before opening dual match play at Middle Tennessee State on Jan. 25, Patrick took Castellvi, Schaub and Cleveland to Las Vegas for one final tourney in the Collegiate Tennis Kickoff. Once again, Castellvi snared another piece of hardware for her mantle, defeating Liu in straight sets for the championship. Castellvi then pulled double-duty with Schaub by claiming supremacy in the doubles ranks with an 8-5 decision over Jennifer Magley and Zerene Reyes of Florida. Cleveland saw a lot of action in singles, playing a total of five matches. She finished with a 3-2 record, notching wins over players from Georgia, Notre Dame and UNLV.
The day before Castellvi's first dual match of the season in Murfreesboro, she traveled just a little further west to Nashville with Hahn-Patrick to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The hall honored her as one of its three Female Amateur Athletes of the Year for her performance in 2001-02. She was in high company that night, as Lady Vol basketball coach Pat Summitt was inducted into the hall. Castellvi also had the opportunity to meet Tennessee Titans' quarterback Steve McNair, who sat behind her during the ceremony. With yet another bullet point added to her ever-growing list of achievements, Castellvi was now poised to lead the squad into its first test of the year.
The Orange and White had little trouble in dispatching Patrick's alma mater, sweeping all the singles and doubles contests. Every match, with the exception of Encina's at two singles, was decided in straight sets. The next day, UT hosted its first dual of the year when it welcomed Michigan to the Goodfriend Tennis Center. It took little time for Tennessee to go up by a 4-0 count, but the Wolverines refused to leave Knoxville without a little redemption, taking the bottom half of the singles lineup for three points.
Although the Big Orange had gotten through its first couple of matches, injuries were causing chaos in the lineup. Robards and Maharaj had yet to see any action during the spring, and it was uncertain how long the two would be out. Robards' hand seemed to be healing quickly from a slight sprain, but Maharaj's bothersome foot ailment appeared as though it might keep her sidelined at least a few more weeks.
The Lady Vols took to the road for Purdue and Illinois, their next two Big Ten adversaries. On paper, Tennessee looked as if it was the clear favorite, but with a jumbled lineup anything was possible. UT's clash with Purdue at Lafayette Sports Center turned out to be a real nail-biter that was much closer than the 5-2 score indicated. Tennessee won two of the three doubles matches for an early 1-0 advantage, however, five of the six singles went to three sets and thankfully the Lady Vols prevailed in three of them. Encina's third-set tiebreak win over Gretchen Haynor proved to be the clincher at the No. 2 slot.
Tennessee's stay in Champaign-Urbana was no picnic either. Even though the Fighting Illini's Atkins Tennis Center had six indoor courts to shield the players from the snow outside, the match took over five hours to complete. A heated doubles point that Castellvi and Schaub won for the Lady Vols after fending off two match points foreshadowed what would take place in the singles portion of the event. Once again, only one matchup was decided in straight sets, including Castellvi's battle with Jennifer McGaffigan, which the UT senior won by a 6-4 score in the third. Tennessee found itself clinging to a precarious 3-2 lead after Castellvi and Schaub's victories at one and three. Cleveland was able to put the match in the bag with a thrilling win at five in a tiebreaker versus Brianna Knue. Kray provided the Big Orange with its final point at four singles to set the score at 5-2. With a sigh of relief, the team jumped on the bus and headed back to the familiar surroundings of Knoxville knowing that much work needed to be done in preparation for the arduous USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
Even though Robards returned to the lineup for Purdue and Illinois, a key ingredient to the Lady Vols' mix was still missing: Maharaj. Predicted to play at four or five singles for UT, Maharaj tried some doubles with Encina at the No. 2 hole against the Fighting Illini, but it was a costly move for Tennessee since she aggravated her foot injury once again. The Patricks decided to stick with the exact same group, minus Maharaj, that they used for their last two tilts.
The nation's most prominent team event behind the NCAA Championships, the USTA/ITA National Indoors in Madison, Wis., feature some of tennis' best squads and typically provide a glimpse of what is to come at NCAAs. UT was pitted against UCLA in the opening round, its first test against a Top 10 team. The Bruins won the doubles point and took three straight in the singles. Tennessee, managed to win the last three for a 4-3 loss. The Lady Vols cruised in their next match with Tulsa, winning in a shutout, but their final matchup with Northwestern resulted in another 4-3 shortcoming.
On the same day as Tennessee's tilt with Tulsa, Castellvi was tabbed ITA National Player of the Month for January. The announcement came the day after she earned the same honor from the university, being named edsouth Lady Vol Athlete of the Month. Castellvi would go on to earn the national accolade again in March and the departmental recognition two more times for April and May as well.
Even though things did not go as well as the Patricks would have liked in Madison, they found some consolation a week later when UT took out some revenge on a familiar non-conference foe. The Lady Vols blasted Wake Forest, 5-0, at home to avenge a pair of defeats that the Demon Deacons dished out the prior year. After another week of rest, Tennessee welcomed Indiana and Notre Dame to Knoxville. Before the teams arrived, the Patricks got word that Maharaj was cleared for action in both matches, putting the Lady Vols' final injury-ridden athlete back on court.
The Hoosiers and Lady Vols typically had a strong rivalry over the years, and many of their matches were very close, but that was not the storyline in 2003. Tennessee swept every position for its third shutout of the season. Its showdown with the Fighting Irish the day after was not quite as easy, as the Big Orange narrowly escaped with a 4-3 victory. Cleveland's seventh win in a row gave UT its first win of the year over a Top 25 team and a big confidence boost in preparation for its first weekend of SEC play versus Eastern Division rivals Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Tennessee came in having owned the Wildcats in recent years, winning 10 of the past 12 meetings. Although several of the matches were close, the Lady Volunteers always seemed to prevail in the end. Kentucky's doubles tandems were highly regarded by the Patricks heading in, which is why they felt Tennessee would win if it could steal the doubles point away. UT ended up doing just that, but things did not go as smoothly in the singles. The Lady Vols could only muster two victories by Castellvi and Cleveland at one and four. The deciding match came at the No. 6 slot, where Robards was dropped in straight sets, 7-5, 7-6(2), by Shannon Stough.
In danger of starting out the year 0-2 with a loss to ninth-ranked Vanderbilt, the Patricks knew they were in a must-win situation with the Commodores. Vandy was hungry for a rematch of last year's NCAA Sweet 16 tussle in which the Lady Vols upset the tourney's No. 6 seed, 4-2. Tennessee was not intimidated by its intrastate rival and got the match started by putting on a clinic in the doubles. Afterwards, Patrick acknowledged that he had never seen all three doubles teams perform that well at the same time in his 16 years with the Orange and White. The Lady Vols wasted no time finishing what they had started by dominating the Commodores at one, two and four singles for the win. Castellvi secured the victory at the top spot with a 6-4, 6-0 decision against 12th-rated Sarah Riske.
Even though the Lady Vols still wished they could replay their match with Kentucky, they felt good about how they were performing heading into a lengthy nine-match excursion on the road for the remainder of March. The doubles lineup had finally been solidified with Castellvi and Schaub at No. 1, Encina and Immink at two, and Cleveland and Maharaj filling the void at three. The singles ladder looked fairly concrete, although, the Patricks were still unsure if they had found the right order. Something else was also on their minds with Alabama and Auburn looming in the near future. All 12 of UT's matches so far had been played indoors and Tennessee had practiced only one time outdoors before busing to Alabama, where the forecast looked favorable for the weekend. The Patricks felt their squad was much better outside, but with hardly any practice in those conditions anything could happen against the Crimson Tide and Tigers.
Winning the doubles point against the Tide proved to be the difference in Tuscaloosa, as the two teams split in singles. Castellvi, Cleveland and Robards picked up wins at one, four and six to provide the Lady Vols with a 4-3 victory. Auburn put up less of a fight, winning its lone match at two singles.
Swings through Baton Rouge, La., and Fayetteville, Ark., were next on the travel itinerary. Tennessee had little trouble in dispatching LSU and Arkansas, winning by scores of 6-1 and 7-0. Cleveland managed to pick up a pair of wins at two singles during the matches, the first time in her career she had notched some victories at a position above three. It was a good omen for the Patricks, as well, since they would soon be moving the Delray Beach, Fla., product permanently out of her career comfort zone at four and five to three singles.
On the same day that UT defeated LSU, Castellvi chalked up yet another gem for her résumé. Puerto Rico's largest circulating newspaper El Nuevo D'a named her one of the country's Women of the 21st Century. The announcement came in conjunction with Women's Week, an annual nationwide celebration. She was also the first athlete in the history of the festivities to be acknowledged by the island's paper.
After coasting by BYU in shutout fashion in Provo, Utah, Tennessee faced another Top 10 opponent in No. 8 North Carolina. UT dropped the doubles for only the third time that season, but it proved to be of little consequence when the singles matches ended. The Lady Vols won five of the six, with Robards securing the win at six with a three-setter over Kendrick Bunn. The unranked Encina also had an impressive win at two by upending No. 42 Marlene Mejia, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Tennessee was now ready to put its 15-3 record on the line the next day in Durham, N.C., against fourth-ranked Duke.
Duke's entire doubles lineup was ranked in the Top 40, and two of those duos were among the Top 10. Its singles were equally impressive with all but one athlete ranked in the Top 100. Castellvi and Schaub were not frightened by the No. 2 billing held by Julie DeRoo and Amanda Johnson, taking down the pair at one doubles, 8-6. A win at three doubles by Cleveland and Maharaj gave UT the early 1-0 lead, but Tennessee would get only two victories in singles to fall by a 4-3 margin. The third-ranked Castellvi made short work of No. 2-rated Kelly McCain, 6-3, 6-1, while Robards got her first career victory against a ranked foe with a straight-set win over No. 62 Katie Blaszak at the No. 6 spot. Cleveland's loss to Saras Arasu at the third position brought her incredible 15-match unbeaten streak to a close as well.
The Lady Vols had a couple of dates in the Magnolia State with Mississippi State and Ole Miss before finally getting some sleep in their own beds again. Neither squad gave the Orange and White much of a run, with Tennessee racing by the Bulldogs and Lady Rebels by counts of 7-0 and 6-1. Now with a 7-1 mark in the SEC, Tennessee had three crucial conference battles with Florida, South Carolina and Georgia remaining on its docket. Each match would be critical in determining where UT would be seeded for the SEC Tournament, which it had the satisfaction of hosting on April 17-20.
The Gators were the only SEC team Tennessee had never defeated, and the Patricks knew their squad had a chance to change that on April 4. The contest was held on a Friday evening under the lights, which may or may not have played a factor in the outcome. The Lady Vols only won a single doubles match to dig an early 1-0 hole for themselves. In singles, Florida's powerful bottom three proved to be too much for Tennessee's youngsters, but the Lady Vols were able to pull off wins at one, two and three singles. Even though the end result was a 4-3 loss, the Orange and White knew it had the ability to contend with anyone in the country.
The Lady Volunteers redeemed themselves two days later when they avenged their loss to South Carolina in last season's SEC Tournament by a 4-1 score. The match began outdoors but had to be finished inside when a powerful thunderstorm rolled in unannounced. Castellvi recorded her 15th-straight win at one singles, defeating Kathy Boyanovich, 6-3, 6-2. Schaub also posted a much-needed victory at four, and Cleveland sealed the match for UT at three with a three-set win over Danielle Wiggins, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
Georgia was the final regular season matchup for the Lady Vols. All Tennessee had to do was win to assure itself of a bye in the first round of the SEC Tournament the following weekend, but that was easier said than done since the Bulldogs owned a 31-3 mark in the all-time series. There was much more anticipation leading into the contest for other reasons as well. The latest unveiling of the Omni Hotels Collegiate Rankings showed that Castellvi was once again the nation's No. 1-ranked player. She would be butting heads with the No. 2-rated contender in Agata Cioroch, who defeated Castellvi in last year's match in Athens, Ga. Castellvi and Schaub, ranked fifth, would also be matching up with the No. 2 doubles duo in Cioroch and Lori Grey. Encina and Immink were also holding strong in the rankings at 41st. Encina cracked the singles rankings for the first time as a NCAA Division I player at No. 82 and Cleveland remained steady as well at No. 59.
When the smoke cleared from the battle between the Lady Vols and Bulldogs, the scoreboard displayed something that no one could have foreseen. Tennessee stomped the 1994 and 2000 NCAA Champions by a 7-0 count, winning all the singles and doubles matches. At the top spot, Castellvi and Cioroch's clash did not live up to the hype, as Castellvi dominated, 6-3, 6-0.
Tennessee's win over Georgia gave it a tie for second-place in the conference with the Bulldogs and Kentucky. When the SEC's tiebreaker rules were put into effect, however, the Lady Vols came out on the short end of the stick for the conference tournament with the No. 4 seed, which put them in No. 1-seeded Florida's half of the draw. Still, before Tennessee could face the Gators again a likely second heated skirmish with Vanderbilt awaited in the quarterfinals.
Before the first day of competition, the All-SEC awards were handed out at the tournament banquet. Castellvi was named SEC Player of the Year, becoming the first Lady Vol to earn the nod. In addition to holding the No. 1 singles slot for the All-SEC first team, Castellvi and Schaub were placed on the second team for doubles. Cleveland landed on the first team for both singles and doubles with Maharaj, thanks to a perfect 11-0 record in both categories during conference play.
Winning the doubles point gave the Lady Vols a huge lift against the 'Dores. The singles went in Tennessee's favor as well, picking up victories at one, two and six courtesy of Castellvi, Encina and Robards. It was Encina's 6-1, 7-6(5) conquest of Aleke Tsoubanos at the No. 2 hole that provided UT with the 4-1 triumph to set up a rematch with Florida in the semis. Castellvi's win over Riske also gave her more than just another mark in the win column, as it tied her with Paula Kelly for the most wins in school history with 133. The senior now had a chance to shatter Kelly's 21-year-old standard and help end the Gators' mastery of the Lady Vols all on the same day.
Castellvi was able to fulfill half of her goals against Florida in the semifinals, defeating Julia Scaringe in straight sets to rewrite the record books, but she could only watch afterwards as Tennessee fell once again by a single point. The match was a mirror image of the first battle, with UT surrendering the doubles point away and taking the top three singles positions. The clinching match came from Jennifer Magley at six singles, where she was able to stave off a second-set comeback from Robards to win, 6-0, 7-5.
With a 20-6 record and a No. 8 ranking, Tennessee knew it was a lock for the NCAA Tournament and would most likely host the first and second rounds of the tourney for the third year in a row. The NCAA selection show on ESPNEWS on April 30 confirmed that thinking for Tennessee when it was given the No. 7 seed ahead of Georgia for its impressive win over the Bulldogs in the regular season. The other three teams the Lady Vols would host were Virginia, Ohio State and their first-round opponent Murray State. Tennessee also bolstered three individuals for the singles championship with Castellvi, Encina and Cleveland. It was the first time in school history that three Lady Volunteers made the tournament in the same year. Castellvi and Schaub were also selected for the doubles tourney.
UT and UVa had little difficulty in sending Murray State and Ohio State home for the year with a pair of 4-0 defeats. When Tennessee and Virginia met, the Lady Vols worked their way through the doubles for a 1-0 lead on the Cavaliers and then earned their seventh-straight trip to the NCAA's Round of 16 after wins from Encina, Cleveland and Maharaj at two, three and five singles. The next round would be a case of déjà vu for Tennessee because it would tangle with Vanderbilt in Gainesville, Fla., to jumpstart the NCAA Championships on May 15.
Unfortunately for the Big Orange, the old saying "third time's a charm" proved to be correct in the Sunshine State, as Vanderbilt knocked the Lady Vols out by one point, 4-3. Failing to capture the doubles point proved to be Tennessee's undoing. Castellvi, Encina and Robards were able to knot the match at 3-3 to rest the deciding match on Cleveland's shoulders at three singles. Leading 4-3 in the third set against Kelly Schmandt, Cleveland appeared to be in control, but the Commodore junior was able to fight back and win the next three games to propel Vanderbilt into the quarterfinals.
Looking back at the season, Tennessee finished with a 22-7 record and a 9-2 showing in the SEC. In a fact that was hard for UT to swallow, all seven of its losses came by 4-3 counts. The Orange and White's second-place finish in the league tied for its best performance in school history. The Lady Vols equaled the feat in 1981 and 2001. Tennessee also finished the year ranked 10th, only the second time it finished among the nation's Top 10. Even though the team competition had come to end, there was still plenty of tennis to be played in Florida with the individual championships.
Castellvi earned the No. 1 seed in the singles tourney and the No. 4 seed with Schaub in doubles. Because she was seeded in both competitions, Castellvi automatically became an All-American in singles and doubles. It was the second-straight year she snagged All-America honors in singles and the first accolade for her in doubles. Before the start of the individual events, Castellvi took home one more award from the ITA, being named its National Senior Player of the Year. She became the first Lady Vol to win the prize.
The first day of the singles saw Castellvi and Encina advance rather easily in straight sets. Castellvi disposed of Northwestern's Jessica Rush, while Encina cruised past Anne Nguyen of Georgia. Cleveland had the misfortune of drawing the No. 6 seed in the opening round in Raquel Kops-Jones of California, and although she fought hard, Kops-Jones came out on top, 6-4, 6-3. The next day, Castellvi and Schaub were upset in the first round of the doubles draw, falling to McGaffigan and Michelle Webb from Illinois in straight sets. The day was not a complete wash, though, since Castellvi and Encina both moved on to the third round in singles action.
Encina's victory in the second round allowed her to become Tennessee's third All-America honoree of the year. The only other time UT bolstered a trio of All-Americans in one season came in 1981 with Paula and Peta Kelly and Michelle DePalmer. Encina pulled the biggest upset of her career in the second round by ousting one of the No. 9-16 seeds, Sara Walker of UCLA, 6-1, 6-3. Walker came into the match ranked 12th, the same spot she held in the final rankings as well.
Although Grier stopped Encina's run in the next round, Castellvi continued to roll in the draw. Her third-round victim was Amanda Johnson of Duke, who fell in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. Next, Castellvi ended Ole Miss' Mira Radu's career with a 6-4, 6-1 defeat to become the first Lady Vol to reach the semifinal round. Cioroch was Castellvi's next opponent and like their regular season match, it was all Castellvi, 7-5, 6-2.
The stage was now set for Castellvi to face the nemesis she had run into in the previous two Grand Slam events in Liu, the tournament's No. 5 seed. Castellvi entered the championship match having beaten Liu in their last two meetings and was the odds-on favorite to take home the title. Unfortunately, the Cardinal freshman defied the laws of probability and gave Stanford its 11th individual NCAA Champion by defeating Castellvi, 7-6(5), 6-2.
The loss still did not affect the final rankings, as Castellvi maintained her No. 1 rating. She became the first Lady Vol to complete a season as the top-ranked player. Castellvi was certainly not alone in the rankings, being joined by Encina, Cleveland, Immink, Robards, Schaub and Maharaj. In singles, Encina and Cleveland closed out the year at Nos. 41 and 53. Castellvi and Schaub came in at sixth in doubles, while Encina and Immink were 33rd. Cleveland's name appeared twice in the doubles at 54th with Robards and 58th with Maharaj.
In addition to their spectacular senior seasons, Castellvi and Cleveland etched their names in the Lady Vol record books for several years to come. Castellvi's 140-51 mark in singles was tops in school history and her 97-63 doubles showing was not too shabby either, placing fifth all-time. Cleveland wrapped things up with a 125-36 ledger in singles, third only to Castellvi and Paula Kelly. She also finished third in doubles victories, thanks to a 119-34 slate. Cleveland also became only the fourth Lady Vol to eclipse the 100-win plateau in singles and doubles play.
Before Castellvi headed to Tampa to train with retired tennis pro Gigi Fernandez, she had a couple summer courses to finish and another trophy to win. On June 2, Castellvi became the first Lady Vol netter to take home the Honda Sports Awards, which recognizes the top woman collegiate athlete. It was a fitting end for perhaps the greatest UT tennis player the school had ever seen.
Even though the Lady Vols did not return to the NCAA Final Four, the accomplishments they garnered both as a team and as individuals made the 2002-03 season one of the most exciting and memorable in UT history. With two All-Americans and five ranked players returning, some talented newcomers and two of the country's finest coaches at the helm, the future of Lady Vol tennis is ready to continue its tradition of great success on and off the court.