On May 22, the University of Tennessee Lady Vols tennis doubles team of Caitlin Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota earned All-American honors by upsetting the second-ranked doubles team in the country and advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships. By doing so, they became just the 13th and 14th players in the team’s 33-year history to earn such honors and the first since 2003. Though they were defeated in the resulting semifinal match, their performance earned them a national ranking of eighth in the final Campbell/ITA doubles poll of the season.
“Natalie and I are extremely excited about becoming All-Americans,” Whoriskey said. “We worked so hard all season, and it is very gratifying to see it pay off.”
Whoriskey came to Tennessee from East Sandwich, Mass., as one of the top-ranked high school players in the country. Upon arriving, she broke immediately into the top spots in the lineup. As a freshman she played from the three and four spots in the singles lineup, where she finished with a record of 21-12 and also played with numerous doubles partners to post a record of 21-15.
During her sophomore campaign, Whoriskey played a majority of the season in the top position in the lineup, having a singles record of 16-9 to go along with her 26-14 doubles record. She earned bids to compete in both the singles and doubles fields at the NCAA Individual Championships. For her accomplishments, Whoriskey was honored as a co-MVP of the Lady Vols team and earned second team All-SEC honors.
Going into her junior year, Whoriskey was the only Lady Vol ranked in the preseason by the ITA. According to co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick, one of Whoriskey’s goals for the year was to become an All-American. After a slow start to begin the season, she found her form and accomplished her goal with her quarterfinal doubles victory at the NCAA Championships.
As a senior, Whoriskey will be looked upon for leadership during the upcoming season as one of two seniors on the squad along with Zsófia Zubor. Whoriskey, a two-time member of the SEC Spring Academic honor roll, plans to major in geography. Her biggest tennis influence is former German tennis great Steffi Graf, winner of 22 Grand Slam titles. Whoriskey has a personal goal of being named one of the top 50 in the world, and she believes that being a successful player depends on a person’s attitude.
“Attitude is everything,” Whoriskey said. “It can make you a winner, or it can make you go home early.”
Her other co-head coach, Mike Patrick, believes she has that winning attitude.
“In my opinion, Caitlin has the potential to be one of the top 10 players in the nation this season,” Mike Patrick said. “If she remains healthy and continues to develop her game at the rate at which she has, the possibilities are endless for her.”