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Whitney Kay and the Tar Heels moved to No. 1 in the country Tuesday. (photo courtesy of Matt Riley/UVA)
Whitney Kay and the Tar Heels moved to No. 1 in the country Tuesday. (photo courtesy of Matt Riley/UVA)
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Kay Named ITA Most Outstanding Player
Release: 02/15/2013
Story courtesy of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association

SKILLMAN, N.J. --- For the second straight year, a rookie has been named the Most Outstanding Player of the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship, hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar's Head Sports Club. Whitney Kay of the University of North Carolina took home the 2013 honor after posting a 3-0 record at the third singles position, helping the Tar Heels claim their first title at the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship and take over the top spot in the ITA Women's Team Rankings. Kay is joined on the all-tournament team by sophomore Caroline Price, who was honored as the top No. 5 singles performer.

After not finishing her opening match against 73rd-ranked Cristina Stancu of Texas A&M, Kay delivered a three-set victory over USC's 23rd-ranked Zoe Scandalis in the quarterfinals to propel North Carolina to a 4-3 upset of the tournament's third seed. Kay won the first set with ease 6-2, but Scandalis battled back to take the second 7-5 and race out to a 3-0 lead in the final set. However, Kay would rally to claim the last six games of the match for the win. Her defeat of Duke's 45th-ranked Ester Goldfeld as part of the Tar Heels 4-0 sweep of the Blue Devils was more straightforward, as the freshman won a couple of close sets 6-4, 7-5.

In the finals, Kay's marathon match against UCLA senior and 56th-ranked Pamela Montez would be the decisive match, as the team score stood tied at 3-3. The 21st-ranked Kay looked dominant early, taking the first set 6-2, but the Bruin dug in and managed to pull out the second set 6-4. Both players fought through nerves effectively throughout the final set, serving their way into a decisive tiebreak. Kay was able to secure the mini-break early and held off Montez, executing a forehand pass on her third match point for the 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (5) triumph.

Kay is joined on the ITA All-Tournament Team by the following singles players and doubles pairs:

No. 1 - Danielle Lao, USC
No. 2 - Kyle McPhillips, UCLA
No. 3 - Whitney Kay, North Carolina
No. 4 - Silvia Garcia, Georgia
No. 5 - Caroline Price, North Carolina
No. 6 - Clementina Riobueno, Miami (Fla.)

No. 1 - Kaitlyn Christian/Sabrina Santamaria, USC
No. 2 - Courtney Dolehide/Pamela Montez, UCLA
No. 3 - Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips, UCLA

This is the sixth-annual ITA National Women's Team Indoor All-Tournament Team. Voters included the head coaches from the 16 participating teams. Georgia Tech's Kirsten Flower was named the first ever Most Outstanding Player of the event in 2008. Georgia's Chelsey Gullickson earned the award in 2009, with Northwestern's Maria Mosolova receiving the honor in 2010. Stanford senior Hilary Barte was chosen as the Most Outstanding player in 2011, while UCLA rookie Robin Anderson was last year's selection.

UNC North Carolina Women's Tennis

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