Tennessee Ends Kentucky's SEC Tournament Run With 4-2 Win

April 24, 2009

AUBURN, Ala. -

The No. 12 Kentucky men’s tennis team attempted to defeat No. 6 Tennessee for the third-straight time this season, but the Volunteers stopped the Wildcats’ plans with a 4-2 quarterfinal victory in the 2009 Southeastern Conference Men’s Tennis Tournament at Auburn University’s Yarbrough Tennis Center Friday.

The Volunteers exacted revenge on the Cats for two of their five losses this season. A winning indicator in all three matches between the border rivals was the doubles point. The team that won two out of the three doubles contests to open the match went on to victory in each 2009 meeting; this time it was UT that claimed the opening point.  UK rebounded to take a 2-1 lead after winning the first two singles matches but Tennessee claimed the next three singles wins to clinch the match. The third-seeded Vols advance to Saturday’s conference semifinals against No. 4 Georgia, the second seed.

“I thought this was a really good college tennis match today,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “Both teams played very well. They just played a little better today. You have to give them a lot of credit, after beating them two times this year they were very hungry and very competitive.”

UK (17-10, 7-6 SEC), the tournament’s sixth seed, concludes its SEC season and awaits Tuesday’s NCAA Selection Show at 5:20 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS to determine its seeding and opponent. Should the Wildcats maintain their ranking among the top 16 teams in the country, there is a possibility UK could be named to host one of the regional sites for the NCAA Championship First and Second Rounds.

“I am proud of our guys and their effort,” Emery said. “We look forward to the selection show, hopefully hosting an NCAA regional and advancing to the sweet 16. That’s been our goal since the beginning of the season.”

Tennessee (20-5, 9-3) took an early 1-0 advantage after winning the doubles point.

On court one, the fifth-ranked UT doubles team of Davey Sandgren and John-Patrick Smith capitalized early with a 3-0 lead over UK’s No. 20 pairing of senior Bruno Agostinelli and sophomore Brad Cox. The UT duo never relinquished its three-game cushion en route to an 8-4 win.

Another ranked Volunteer tandem clinched the point on court two. The No. 42 duo of Boris Conkic and Matteo Fago trailed UK’s freshmen pair of Graeme Dyce and Eric Quigley 2-1 early but rallied to win four consecutive games to take a 5-2 lead. The Vols then went on to win 8-4 to clinch the doubles point.

Wildcat sophomore Alberto Gonzalez and freshman Alex Musialek led UT’s Matt Brewer and Bryan Swartz 6-5 on court three when the match was suspended following the Volunteers’ win on court two.

Kentucky tied the match score after a singles win on court four. Musialek, who clinched the team match point against Arkansas Thursday, was the first off the courts to cheer on his teammates. The Wildcat led 2-1 early in the first over Tennessee’s Sandgren. He then went on to win five of the next six games to secure the set 6-2. In the second, Musialek used the exact same formula for the match win at 6-2.

UK took a 2-1 lead after a victory on court three. No. 119 Quigley trailed Fago 3-2 in the first, but went on to win the next four games to close out the set 6-3. In the second, Quigley led 3-2 before rattling off the final three games for the win.

On court six, UT’s Brewer jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set over Gonzalez. Later, the Volunteer won three of the next five games for a 6-2 set victory. In the second, Gonzalez gained a 3-2 advantage before Brewer rallied to win three of the next four games to clinch the match at 6-4 and put UT back in a tie with UK at 2-2.

Conkic sprinted out to a 4-1 lead in the first over Cox on court two and then finished off the set by taking two of the next three games for a 6-4 win. Cox bounced back in the second with a 2-1 lead early before Conkic rallied to claim four of the next six games to knot the set at 5-5. The Volunteer used that momentum to take the next two games for the 7-5 win. Conkic’s win pushed UT’s lead to 3-2 in the match.

UT then clinched the team match point on court five. Hansen led 3-1 early over Dyce in the first and maintained that cushion throughout the set to win 6-3. Dyce used an early break for a 3-0 lead in the second and later led 4-2 before Hansen rallied to knot the games at 5-5. The Volunteer completed his comeback by taking the next two games for the 7-5 decision.

In a battle of two top-eight players on court one, UK’s No.5 Agostinelli built a 5-2 lead over No. 8 Smith and later captured the set 6-4. The Wildcat led 2-0 early in the second before Smith came back to even the match at 3-3. The Volunteer went on to win the next three games to secure set two and force a third. The match was suspended in the deciding set with Agostinelli holding a 2-1 lead.

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#6 Tennessee 4, #12 Kentucky 2
Yarbrough Tennis Center
Auburn, Ala.
SEC Tournament Quarterfinal

Singles

1. #5 Bruno Agostinelli (UK) led #8 John-Patrick Smith (UT) 6-4, 3-6, 2-1 susp.
2. #33 Boris Conkic (UT) def. Brad Cox (UK) 6-2, 7-5
3. #119 Eric Quigley (UK) def. Matteo Fago (UT) 6-3, 6-2
4. Alex Musialek (UK) def. Davey Sandgren (UT) 6-2, 6-2
5. Christian Hansen (UT) def. Graeme Dyce (UK) 6-3, 7-5
6. Matt Brewer (UT) def. Alberto Gonzalez (UK) 6-2, 6-4

Order of Finish: 4, 3, 6, 2, 5*

Doubles
1. #5 Davey Sandgren / John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. #20 Bruno Agostinelli / Brad Cox (UK) 8-4
2. #42 Boris Conkic / Matteo Fago (UT) def. Graeme Dyce / Eric Quigley (UK) 8-4
3. Alberto Gonzalez / Alex Musialek (UK) led Matt Brewer / Bryan Swartz (UT) 6-5 susp.

Order of Finish: 1, 2