No. 6 UK Ends National Indoors with Loss to No. 9 Stanford

Feb. 19, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team received an impressive singles win from junior No. 13 Anthony Rossi, but could not overcome dropping the doubles point and a slow start in singles, falling to No. 9 Stanford 4-1 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men’s Team Indoor Championships on Sunday. The tournament is being played at the Boar’s Head Country Club in Charlottesville, Va.

The loss completes a 1-2 weekend for Kentucky (10-2) at the national event. UK earned a win in the opening round, defeating No. 11 Texas A&M 4-0. The Wildcats dominated the match with the Aggies, taking the doubles point and getting singles wins from Rossi, Tom Jomby and Alejandro Gomez. The win punched Kentucky’s ticket to the quarterfinals of the event for the first time since it advanced to the semifinals in 1997. UK would fall in the quarterfinals in heartbreaking fashion, dropping one of the closest matches of the tournament to No. 3 Ohio State 4-3. The Buckeyes advanced to the finals of the event Sunday when they defeated four-time defending champion No. 2 Virginia.

“Very disappointing loss for us,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “We felt like we were as good as Stanford but they just played better than we did tonight. That is very difficult for us to accept. You like your chances in the match when your No. 3 player defeats a former NCAA Singles champion, but we couldn’t finish off the win tonight. We had some opportunities in doubles again, but weren’t able to close the door and then we got off to a slow start in singles on courts four, five and six. That really put us in a deep hole and we weren’t able to do what we had to do to get out of that.”

Rossi was the highlight of the match for the Wildcats, posting an impressive 6-4, 6-4 win over Bradley Klahn, who is a two-time singles All-American and the 2010 NCAA Singles champion. Rossi, who is ranked 13th in the nation in singles by the ITA, went 3-0 in singles action on the weekend after defeating Junior Ore of Texas A&M and Peter Kobelt of Ohio State in straight sets. The native of Marseille, France is now 26-2 on the season for Kentucky, and has won 16 consecutive singles matches dating back to the fall season.

While Rossi earned the lone point in the match for UK, the Wildcats were in position to post wins on courts one and two when Stanford earned the decisive fourth point of the match. Senior No. 6 Eric Quigley had dropped the first set in a tiebreaker to No. 29 Ryan Thacher, but was up 6-5 in the second set. Fellow senior Alex Musialek lost his first set but was dominant in the second set and up 5-4 in the third set at No. 2 singles over Matt Kandath.

Stanford’s Denis Lin, John Morrissey and Robert Stineman won their matches at courts four, five and six, respectively, to give the Cardinal the win.

Stanford claimed the doubles point over the Wildcats behind wins at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles. The Cardinal used a come-from-behind effort at No. 1 doubles when the duo of Ryan Thacher and Klahn, who advanced to the NCAA Doubles finals last season, won five consecutive games to earn an 8-5 win over Quigley and Panav Jha. Kentucky would earn its lone doubles point when Musialek and Gomez scored a dominating 8-4 win over Morrissey and Stineman at No. 3 doubles. The doubles point would hinge on play at court two between Rossi and Jomby and Stanford’s Kandath and Lin. Both teams held serve for much of the match, until Kandath/Lin grabbed a break at 7-7 and then held serve to earn the 9-7 win.

Stanford is now 8-4 on the year with wins over several top teams, including No. 7 Baylor in the first round Friday. The Cardinal lead the all-time series with Kentucky 9-3 dating back to their first meeting in 1987.

“We have worked really hard over the last four years to put ourselves in position to compete for national championships,” Emery said. “We are going to have to think about how we will approach some of the opportunities we missed this weekend and get them corrected moving forward.”

UK earned its berth into the event with a victory over No. 22 Tulsa in the ITA Kickoff Weekend. This is the third straight year UK has played in the National Indoor Championships. Last year, UK lost to No. 5 Texas in the opening round before defeating top-15 ranked Texas Tech and top-30 ranked Washington in the consolation bracket. In 2010, Kentucky lost to No. 3 UCLA in the first round before taking down No. 13 Illinois in the second round. UK would finish the event with a loss to top-10 ranked Stanford.

On Thursday, the ITA announced the latest edition of singles and doubles rankings with UK represented well. Kentucky is one of only two schools in the nation to have six singles players ranked, with the other being Southern California, the top-ranked team in the nation. Three UK players are ranked in the top 20 in the nation in singles, marking the first time in school history the Wildcats have accomplished that feat.

The 2012 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships, the signature indoor team tournament of the college tennis season, features 16 of the top men's programs in the nation. Joining UK at the event are each of the top-14 teams in No. 1 USC, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Baylor, No. 8 UCLA, No. 9 Stanford, No. 10 Duke, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 13 California and No. 14 Texas. No. 16 Auburn has the 15th seed in the event, while No. 20 Tennessee is the 16th seed.

Kentucky will return to action Saturday when it travels to Columbus, Ohio for a rematch with No. 3 Ohio State. The match is schedule to start at 4 p.m. ET Saturday.

For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter or “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.

ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Consolation
No. 9 Stanford 4, No. 6 Kentucky 1
Boar's Head Sports Club – Charlottesville, Va.
Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012

1 – No. 6 Eric Quigley (UK) vs. No. 29 Ryan Thacher (STAN) 6-7 (3), 6-5 DNF
2 – No. 20 Alex Musialek (UK) vs. Matt Kandath (STAN) 4-6, 6-2, 5-4 DNF
3 – No. 13 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Bradley Klahn (STAN) 6-4, 6-4
4 – Denis Lin (STAN) def. No. 79 Tom Jomby (UK) 6-4, 6-4
5 – John Morrissey (STAN) def. No. 87 Alejandro Gomez (UK) 6-4, 6-4
6 – Robert Stineman (STAN) def. No. 119 Panav Jha (UK) 6-4, 6-4

1 – Ryan Thacher/Bradley Klahn (STAN) def. No. 48 Eric Quigley/Panav Jha (UK) 8-5
2 – Matt Kandath/Denis Lin (STAN) def. Tom Jomby/Anthony Rossi def. 9-7
3 – Alex Musialek/Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. John Morrissey/Robert Stineman (STAN) 8-4

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

ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Quarterfinals
No. 3 Ohio State 4, No. 6 Kentucky 3
Boar's Head Sports Club – Charlottesville, Va.
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012

1 – No. 6 Eric Quigley (UK) def. No. 16 Chase Buchanan (OSU) 6-4, 6-4
2 – No. 20 Alex Musialek (UK) def. No. 12 Blaz Rola (OSU) 6-2, 6-4
3 – No. 13 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Peter Kobelt (OSU) 6-2, 7-5
4 – No. 99 Ille Van Engelen (OSU) def. No. 79 Tom Jomby (UK) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
5 – No. 65 Devin McCarthy (OSU) def. No. 87 Alejandro Gomez (UK) 6-2, 6-4
6 – No. 107 Connor Smith (OSU) def. No. 119 Panav Jha (UK) 6-4, 6-4

1 – No. 1 Chase Buchanan/Blaz Rola (OSU) def. No. 48 Eric Quigley/Panav Jha (UK) 8-5
2 – No. 27 Devin McCarthy/Ille Van Engelen (OSU) def. Tom Jomby/Anthony Rossi (UK) 8-6
3 – Peter Kobelt/Connor Smith (OSU) vs. Alex Musialek/Alejandro Gomez (UK) 7-4 DNF

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

ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships Round of 16
No. 6 Kentucky 4, No. 11 Texas A&M 0
Boar’s Head Sports Club – Charlottesville, Va.
Friday, February 17, 2012

1 – No. 6 Eric Quigley (UK) vs. No. 15 Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) 5-7, 6-1, 0-0 DNF
2 – No. 20 Alex Musialek (UK) vs. Colin Hoover (Texas A&M) 7-6, 3-2 DNF
3 – No. 13 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Junior Ore (Texas A&M) 6-4, 6-3
4 – No. 79 Tom Jomby (UK) def. Jeremy Efferding (Texas A&M) 6-4, 6-3
5 – No. 87 Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. John Lewis (Texas A&M) 6-0, 6-2
6 – No. 119 Panav Jha (UK) vs. Jackson Withrow (Texas A&M) 4-6, 4-3

1 – No. 48 Eric Quigley/Panav Jha (UK) def. No. 55 Jackson Withrow/Junior Ore (Texas A&M) 8-6
2 – Tom Jomby/Anthony Rossi (UK) def. No. 36 John Lewis/Colin Hoover (Texas A&M) 9-7
3 – Alex Musialek/Alejandro Gomez (UK) vs. Jordan Szabo/Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) 8-8 DNF

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