June 6, 2012
Following a run to the NCAA Doubles Tournament Semifinals, Tennessee's Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely were ranked seventh together in the final ITA rankings of the 2012 season, which also featured three Lady Vols in the Top 50 of singles and two other UT tandems in doubles.
Pluskota and Szekely both earned All-American honors for their efforts at the tournament. The duo elevated three spots for its final rating after taking down three Top 25 opponents at NCAAs to finish with an 18-2 record. They were also ranked the top pairing in the Ohio Valley Region.
Sophomore Brynn Boren, ranked first in the Ohio Valley Region, was UT's highest-ranked singles player nationally at 31. Primarily playing from the No. 2 spot for UT in 2012, Boren was the lone Lady Vol on the All-SEC first team and was honored as the region's Player to Watch heading into her junior campaign after posting a 25-13 record.
Pluskota advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament to also earn All-American honors in singles and finish her career ranked 37. Also ranked third in the region, she became just the fifth player in UT history to earn All-American honors in both singles and doubles.
After leading Tennessee with 26 wins and defeating 12th-ranked Emina Bektas (Michigan) at the NCAA Tournament, Szekely jumped 11 spots to finish the season ranked 46, also placing fifth in the region. An All-SEC second team pick, Szekely defeated 10 ranked opponents in 2011-12, including three in the Top 30.
Pluskota was also ranked in doubles with freshman Caitlyn Williams, finishing the season rated 25. The duo rose to as high as ninth in 2012 after two Top Five wins before injuries split them apart.
Despite not playing together since March 25, Boren and freshman Sarah Toti were ranked 31 in the final doubles poll. The tandem was ranked second on Feb. 16 after a team-high 15 consecutive wins. Toti suffered a season-ending ACL injury against Arkansas, but the pair's 25-6 overall record was enough to be ranked second in the region.
Boren, Szekely, Toti and Williams are all back in 2013 as four of five returning singles starters. Tennessee finished the season ranked 24, marking the 17th time in 18 years the Lady Vols completed the season in the Top 25. UT was also ranked first in the Ohio Valley Region.
Natalie Pluskota/Kata Szekely - 7, Natalie Pluskota/Caitlyn Williams - 25, Brynn Boren/Sarah Toti - 31
Pluskota/Szekely - 1, Boren/Toti - 2
UT PICKS 2013 ITA KICK-OFF DESTINATION
Tennessee chose to travel to Nebraska for the 2013 ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Wednesday's national draft, and will face the Huskers for the first time in school history next season.
The annual Kick-Off Weekend will be held Jan. 25-28 and serves as a qualifying tournament for the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va., which Tennessee has advanced to three consecutive years.
The selection guarantees two match dates for Tennessee, which will play either the winner or loser of Notre Dame and Georgia Tech based on the results of the opening contests.
Nebraska's regional, which was the first to fill up with all four slots, is one of 15 host schools based on the final rankings for 2012. Tennessee was the sixth school to select its destination, marking the first time since 2009 that the Lady Vols will not host.