Competing as the No. 1 player on the University of Kentucky women’s tennis team throughout the 2018-19 season, senior Justina Mikulskyte was selected to the All-Southeastern Conference First Team on Wednesday.
Mikulskyte is just the sixth Wildcat in program history to earn All-SEC First Team distinctions. She is joined by nine others who automatically qualified for the roster because of their position on the ITA/Oracle National Singles Rankings. The first team is a combination of rankings and a vote by the league coaches. The top-ranked doubles team and the top-eight ranked singles players (not a part of the top doubles team) were automatically named. Rounding out the team of 12, coaches selected two additional picks.
Mikulskyte has crowded the national polls all season. She is currently ranked No. 21 in the ITA/Oracle Top 125 National Singles Rankings. Paired with redshirt junior Akvilė Paražinskaitė, the doubles team make up the 15th-ranked duo in the nation.
Boasting a 13-5 record in singles matches this season, Mikulskyte is 7-4 in league meetings. Remarkably, the senior is 7-3 against nationally ranked opponents.
Her best singles appearance of the season came on March 24 at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center when she defeated the seventh-ranked player in the nation in Gamarra Martins of then-No. 6 South Carolina, who went on to win the 2019 SEC Tournament Championship. In the process, Mikulskyte allowed Martins to only four games, logging a 6-1, 6-3 mark. Before that match, Mikulskyte also defeated then-No. 15 Eden Richardson of 19th-ranked LSU on March 15, from behind, on a 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1 mark. It helped UK to its first and only upset of the season, and on the road.
Mikulskyte shined in the doubles division this season, too. Paired with Paražinskaitė, the Lithuanian pair are 13-5 overall and 8-2 in the league. Most notable of the UK doubles team, they are unbeaten against ranked opponents boasting an 8-0 mark. Mikulskyte and Paražinskaitė have recorded wins against four doubles teams ranked in the top 15, including the Nos. 1 and 3 pairs.
The same day that Mikulskyte defeated then-No. 7 Martins in the singles division, she and Paražinskaitė took down the best-ranked doubles team in the nation in Mia Horvit and Gamarra Martins, 6-3. Mikulskyte won SEC Player of the Week for her successful performances against then-No. 6 South Carolina. She went on to be named player of the week once more this season on April 7, making her third such honor in her career. It set a program record for most SEC Player of the Week honors in a career.
All 14 of the conference’s head coaches voted on the 2019 SEC awards.
Coming off the 2019 SEC Championship last week, the No. 27 UK women’s tennis team is in a two-week hiatus before it competes in the NCAA First and Second Round Tournament. The NCAA will stream the team selection show live on NCAA.com on Monday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m. ET. The singles selection show will be held the following day, Tuesday, April 30 at 6 p.m. ET.
All-SEC First Team
Andie Daniell, Alabama
Ida Jarlskog, Florida
Marta Gonzalez, Georgia
Katrina Jokic, Georgia
Vivian Wolff, Georgia
Justina Mikulskyte, Kentucky
Eden Richardson, LSU
Paige Cline, South Carolina
Mia Horvit, South Carolina
Ingrid Martins, South Carolina
Fernanda Contreras, Vanderbilt
Christina Rosca, Vanderbilt
– GO CATS –
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