Quigley Defeats Top-15 Player as No. 12 UK falls at No. 16 Illinois 4-3

Feb. 11, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky men's tennis junior Eric Quigley, ranked second in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association preseason singles poll, took down No. 11 Dennis Nevolo in straight-sets, but No. 12 Kentucky fell at No. 16 Illinois 4-3 Friday at the Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.

The loss is the second of the season for Kentucky (6-2), which has faced a daunting schedule so far in its 2011 campaign. Both of UK's losses in 2011 have come on the road, dropping its first match of the year last weekend at No. 1 Virginia before coming up short against the Illini on Friday. Kentucky has faced five top-50 teams already this season, defeating then-No. 22 Wake Forest, then-No. 42 Boise State and then-No. 46 Indiana. UK will face a total of 19 teams currently ranked in the ITA rankings, including four of the top-seven teams in the nation.

“We were just not strong enough mentally to win this match,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “Illinois was a little tougher than us at the end of the doubles point and that was the key to the match. We had our chances tonight but didn’t capitalize. Now, we need to bounce back for a tough Miami team on Sunday.”

After the Illini took the doubles point, Kentucky would tie the match 1-1 by getting an impressive win at No. 1 singles from Quigley, the second-ranked player in the nation. The junior made quick work of one of the best players in the nation in Nevolo, winning 6-3, 6-4.

Quigley is now 6-0 in his collegiate career against Nevolo. Quigley and Nevolo met three times last season, including twice in dual-match play and once in the NCAA Singles Championships. Friday's match marked the third time in the 2010-11 season the two players have squared off. Earlier this season in the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic, Quigley took down Nevolo in a pro set 10-5, while the UK junior also defeated Nevolo 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Singles Consolation Final in November.

Illinois (4-2) took back the lead 2-1 and would not relinquish it when No. 111 Johnny Hamui took down UK senior Brad Cox at No. 3 singles 6-3, 6-4. The loss is only the second singles loss of the year for Cox, who is 6-2. The Illini claimed their final two points when Roy Kalmanovich defeated No. 72 Alberto Gonzalez 7-6, 6-4 at No. 4 singles and No. 121 Abe Souza won 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2 singles over No. 32 Alex Musialek.

Kentucky won the final two matches in play after Illinois clinched the match, winning at No. 5 and No. 6 singles. UK sophomore Anthony Rossi and freshman Tom Jomby each posted impressive come-from-behind victories. Rossi took down Stephen Hoh 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 singles to improve his singles record this season to 4-1, while Jomby grabbed his first collegiate singles win of his career by beating Bruno Abdelnour at No. 6 singles. Jomby feel behind by losing the first set 4-6, but turned the tables in the second set for a 6-4 win and then won a 10-point super tiebreaker for the singles victory.

Illinois took the doubles point, winning at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Kentucky kept Illinois from sweeping the double point by claiming a victory at No. 1 doubles when Quigley and Cox took down Souza and Hamui 8-5 for their second doubles win of the young season.

The Wildcats will return to action Sunday when they host a doubleheader with No. 38 Miami (Fla.) and Cleveland State. UK will face the Hurricanes at Noon ET on Sunday and then face the Vikings at 6 p.m. ET. Admission is free and parking is available in parking structure No. 7 next to the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center on Sportscenter Drive. Live scores for both matches will be available on UKathletics.com.

No. 12 Kentucky 0, No. 16 Illinois 1
Feb 11, 2011 at Urbana, Ill. - (Atkins Tennis Center)

#1 - No. 2 Eric Quigley (UK) def. No. 11 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) 6-3, 6-4
#2 - No. 121 Abe Souza (ILL) def. No. 32 Alex Musialek (UK) 6-4, 6-4
#3 - No. 111 Johnny Hamui (ILL) def. Brad Cox (UK) 6-3, 6-4
#4 - Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. No. 72 Alberto Gonzalez (UK) 7-6 (5), 6-4
#5 - Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL) 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
#6 - Tom Jomby (UK) def. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-3)

#1 - Eric Quigley/Brad Cox (UK) def. Abe Souza/Johnny Hamui (ILL) 8-5
#2 - Connor Roth/Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Tom Jomby/Alberto Gonzalez (UK) 8-6
#3 - Bruno Abdelnour/Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Alex Musialek/Anthony Rossi (UK) 8-6

Order of Finish:
Singles - 1, 3, 4, 2*, 5, 6
Doubles - 1, 2, 3*

Records: Kentucky (6-2); Illinois (4-2)