Men's Tennis Continues to Roll; Wins at No. 25 Notre Dame 5-2
Feb. 23, 2009
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -
The Kentucky men’s tennis team racked up another top-25 win on the road, its third of the season, with an impressive 5-2 defeat of No. 25 Notre Dame at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Monday.
With the win UK improves to 8-2 on the season, its best 10-match start in seven years. The 2002 Cats also went 8-2 and as a result made a jump in the polls from No. 23 to No. 9 in the nation.
This season, UK has three victories over top-25 opponents away from home, including No. 17 Rice, No. 4 Tennessee and now No. 25 Notre Dame. The Wildcats improved to 4-2 overall against ranked foes this season with the win over the Irish.
Needless to say, Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery continues to be happy with his team’s performance.
“We played really well again today against a good team,” said Emery. “One might think we rolled to a 5-2 win, but the final three matches could have gone either way today. We went up 3-0 early and forced them to come from behind, and they did by forcing three-set matches on courts one, two and six. We have had a great rivalry with Notre Dame over the past 20 years. I’m pleased to beat another top-25 team on the road.”
UK started off the day by clinching the doubles point. This season the Cats are 3-1 when accomplishing that feat.
On court two, Notre Dame’s Stephen Havens and Casey Watt put early pressure on the Cats when they jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back in an 8-2 win over the UK freshman pairing of Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley.
The No. 3 UK doubles team of sophomore Alberto Gonzalez and freshman Alex Musialek continued to come up big with an 8-3 win over Irish Niall Fitzgerald and Matt Johnson to even the doubles matches at one apiece.
Court one was last to finish with a battle of two ranked squads. UK’s No. 30 tandem of Bruno Agostinelli and Brad Cox upset the No. 13 Irish team of Brett Helgeson and Tyler Davis by running out to a 3-0 lead before putting away the match at 8-5 to clinch the doubles point.
“I think the highlight of the match was winning the doubles point,” said Emery. “Our No. 3 doubles team really helped set that up.”
Kentucky quickly increased its lead to 3-0 with two quick straight-set singles wins by freshmen.
On court five, Musialek pushed his record to 5-1 overall this season. The Dax, France, native dispatched Fitzgerald 6-0, 6-4. Shortly after, No. 83 Quigley finished off No. 122 Daniel Stahl, 6-3, 6-2 to improve his dual-match record to 6-2 this season.
Notre Dame got on the board with a 6-4, 6-3 victory by Watt over Dyce on court four.
Senior captain Agostinelli clinched the victory for the second-straight match on court one, notching another win over a top-20 opponent. No. 8 Agostinelli led early 3-0 in the first set en route to a 6-3 win over No. 18 Helgeson. In the second, it was Helgeson who capitalized early with a 6-2 victory to force a third set. Agostinelli regained control of the match in the deciding set with a 5-1 lead before closing out the match at 6-3 and providing the Cats a team match point.
Gonzalez earned a hard-fought victory on court six for UK’s fifth point of the match. The sophomore rolled in the first set over Irish David Anderson 6-1. In the second, Anderson turned the tables on Gonzalez with a 6-1 win of his own. The deciding set went to extra games and a tiebreaker before Gonzalez slipped past Anderson 10-8 in the breaker to clinch the set at 7-6.
“Notre Dame had a lot of momentum at the end of the match,” said Emery. “I give a lot of credit to Bruno and Alberto for finding ways to win those three-set matches.”
On court two, Notre Dame finished scoring with a three-set victory by Havens over Cox. Havens edged Cox 7-6 in the first before Cox won the second 6-3 to force a third set. Havens came back in the third to claim a 6-2 win for the Irish.
Notre Dame falls to 6-6 this season with the loss.
The Wildcats continue their road schedule with a third-straight match away from home when they travel to Chattanooga for 10:00 a.m. ET match against the Mocs.
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#31 Kentucky 5, #25 Notre Dame 2
1. #8 Bruno Agostinelli (UK) def. #18 Brett Helgeson (UND) 6-3, 2-6, 6-3
2. Stephen Havens (UND) def. Brad Cox (UK) 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-2
3. #83 Eric Quigley (UK) def. #122 Daniel Stahl (UND) 6-3, 6-2
4. Casey Watt (UND) def. Graeme Dyce (UK) 6-4, 6-3
5. Alex Musialek (UK) def. Niall Fitzgerald (UND) 6-0, 6-4
6. Alberto Gonzalez (UK) def. David Anderson (UND) 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (10-8)
Order of finish: 5, 3, 4, 1, 6, 2
1. #30 Bruno Agostinelli / Brad Cox (UK) def. #13 Brett Helgeson / Tyler Davis (UND) 8-5
2. Stephen Havens / Casey Watt (UND) def. Graeme Dyce / Eric Quigley (UK) 8-2
3. Alberto Gonzalez / Alex Musialek (UK) def. Niall Fitzgerald / Matt Johnson (UND) 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles 2, 3, 1