Kentucky Headed to Columbus for NCAA First Round
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats men’s tennis team will return to the NCAA tournament for the 26th time in program history, as UK is slated for a first round matchup with Virginia Tech, May 14 at 10 a,m, at the Stickney Tennis Center located on the campus of host school Ohio State University.
The winner of Kentucky’s match with Virginia Tech will take on the winner of Ohio State and Tennessee Tech in the tournament’s second round.
With the berth to the NCAA tournament, it marks Kentucky’s 26th visit as a team to the national tournament and the first since 2014. The Wildcats have made the tournament in three of the four seasons under head coach Cedric Kauffmann’s guidance.
UK’s best team finish in the NCAA tournament is a quarterfinal appearance, which the team has done five times. The last time Kentucky reached the NCAA quarterfinal round was in 2012, when the team also secured its second ever Southeastern Conference championship.
Kentucky (19-9, 7-5 SEC) enters the tournament after a Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals appearance. UK made the third round after defeating Tennessee, 4-3, in dramatic fashion with exhilarating three-set wins courtesy of sophomore Trey Yates and freshman Austin Hussey.
The Cats were bounced from the tournament in the quarterfinal round in a 4-2 loss to Mississippi State.
The Wildcats had a successful season, jumping from unranked at the beginning of the season to a top-25 ranked program nationally. UK was twice named the Oracle ITA “Big Mover of the Week” twice during the season and ranked as high as No. 18. The Wildcats defeated 10 ranked opponents during the regular season and held a 2-1 record against teams in the top-10 nationally.
Kentucky has been led this season by First Team All-SEC selection sophomore William Bushamuka and SEC Co-Freshman of the Year Ryotaro Matsumura. The top-50 ranking duo have played on the top two singles courts all season, combining for 34 wins including 17 against ranked singles opponents.
Virginia Tech enters the regional as the 32nd-ranked team in the country with a 17-8 record on the season while going 7-5 in ACC play. The Hokies made it to the semifinal match of the ACC tournament before falling to No. 7 Wake Forest, 4-2. This will mark the first matchup between UK and VT this season.
No. 4 Ohio State comes into the NCAA tournament with a 30-2 record and a pristine 11-0 record in B1G play. The Buckeyes defeated Illinois last time out, 4-1, to earn the B1G tournament for the 11th time in program history. Tennessee Tech enters the Columbus Regional with a 15-6 mark and a 9-0 record in Ohio Valley Conference play. Tennessee Tech earned the automatic bid with a 4-3 win over Eastern Kentucky University in the OVC tournament.
Kentucky fell earlier this season to Ohio State in a tight, 4-2, match with the Buckeyes. The Cats have yet to face Tennessee Tech this year.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow @UKMensTennis on Twitter or Kentucky Men’s Tennis Team on Facebook.