With a number of nagging injuries this year, No. 3 singles player Caitlyn Williams of Tennessee has often been sporting ice on her arms after her tennis matches.
Following the match against Kentucky on Friday night at Goodfriend Tennis Center, however, she was also wearing a big smile on her face.
The sophomore from Knoxville secured the fourth and deciding team point in a 6-1 win over the Wildcats, and did it by coming from behind on several occasions.
Not only was she down in games in the second set after a 6-2 first set win over Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff, but she was also down 15-40 after taking a 4-3 lead.
But she was able to come back and win the game and the second set, 6-3, for Tennessee (6-6, 4-2 SEC).
“She had a really good serve,” said Williams. “I was just trying to stay even with her until I got that opportunity to break her serve and it was kind of uphill from there.”
Williams, the younger sister of former Tennessee men’s tennis star Rhyne Williams, has been managing somewhat of a comeback in her college career, due primarily to all the injuries.
“She had a really good weekend last weekend, and she carried it through this weekend,” said Tennessee co-head coach Mike Patrick. “She’s starting to turn the corner and has been out there playing some competitive matches and getting up to speed where she’s capable of playing.”
Williams admitted that she has been frustrated at times, but Friday was one of the moments that makes the frustration worth it.
“I’ve been struggling through some injuries, but definitely our training staff and everyone has been helping me through that,” she said.
She also had a few people helping her celebrate the win.
“My whole family always comes out and watches,” she said. “That’s great to look up there and see everyone and see them cheering for me.”
Tennessee, which will host No. 16 Vanderbilt Sunday at 10 a.m., won the doubles point and then took a 3-0 lead with wins by sophomore Joanna Henderson at No. 4 (6-1, 6-0) and freshman Tiffany Tavares at No. 6 (6-1, 6-2).
After Williams clinched, the coaches decided to go ahead and finish the other matches. Kentucky (12-6, 3-4) then gained its lone point when Nadia Ravita beat No. 1 player Brynn Boren (6-3, 3-6, 6-1).
Kata Szekely (7-6, 6-4) and Mimi Fotopoulos (7-6, 7-5) secured the final two points for the Lady Vols at No. 2 and No. 5, respectively.