Men's Tennis Sees Season End with 4-0 loss to Southern California

May 21, 2010

NORCROSS, Ga. -

The No. 12 seed University of Kentucky men's tennis team saw its season come to a close Friday when it dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 5 seed and defending national champion Southern California in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships at the Racquet Club of the South.

The match was originally scheduled to be played at the Dan McGill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia, but heavy rains in the Athens, Ga., area forced action to be postponed an hour and a half and moved to the Atlanta suburb.

"We thought it was to our advantage to play the match indoors, but they were a little too good for us," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "They have a very good team. They are very tough at one and two singles and at No. 1 doubles. We were able to hang with them (at Nos. 1 and 2 singles), but they are very deep from there, very solid without any gaps."

The Trojans (22-3) claimed the doubles point and won singles matches on courts four, five and six to advance to the quarterfinals.

Southern California took a 1-0 lead after claiming the doubles point with wins at courts one and two. The nation's second-ranked doubles pair in USC's Robert Farah and Steve Johnson sealed the point when it defeated UK's 22nd-ranked duo of Eric Quigley and Brad Cox 8-3 at No. 1 doubles. The Trojans also won at No. 2 doubles when the tandem of Daniel Nguyen and JT Sundling posted an 8-4 win over UK's 76th-ranked duo of Alberto Gonzalez and Alex Lambropoulos. Once the doubles point was determined, the No. 3 doubles matches between UK's Alex Musialek and Anthony Rossi and USC's Peter Lucassen and Jaak Poldman was halted at 5-5.

The Men of Troy grabbed a 2-0 lead, winning at No. 6 singles when No. 121-ranked Peter Lucassen earned a straight-sets 6-2, 6-1 win over UK's Lambropoulous. The Trojans' advantage grew to 3-0 soon afterward on court No. 5 when Matt Kecki outlasted UK's Gonzalez 7-5, 6-1. USC clinched the match when 83rd-ranked Nguyen topped UK's Rossi 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles.

"I thought we played a very good match," Emery said. "A big key to the match was they were able to beat us at five which is a spot we've won and played very well at all year. I thought the speed of the court hurt us there. I think that hurt us at (court) four as well. It's no one's fault, they were just able to overpower us at those spots."

Matches on the first three courts were abandoned when the Trojans clinched the team victory. USC's Farah, listed ninth nationally in single rankings, led No. 12th-ranked Quigley of Kentucky 7-6 (13-11), 3-2 in the second set at No. 1 singles. Third-ranked Johnson of USC led No. 49 Musialek of Kentucky 6-1, 4-5 in the second set at No. 2 singles while UK's Cox was ahead of No. 89 Poldma 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 in the third set at No. 3 singles.

The loss ends Kentucky's winningest season in school history with a 25-9 record. The Wildcats will return its top five singles players from the 2010 campaign, losing only Lambropoulos to graduation.

"It was a year where we grew a lot individually and as a team," Emery said. "We have a great core group players and solid leadership too. This team really achieved at a high level.

"What we'd like to think is that this match isn't the end of a season, but the beginning of a great run next year. We're returning our top five players who played today. They will be a year older. While certainly, we're all smart enough to understand you need to take advantage of these situations when you have them, the positive is we're in a good position (next year) with a very talented group returning that really cares about each other a lot."

A trio of Wildcats will compete in the upcoming NCAA Single and Doubles Championships next week. Quigley and Musialek each received at-large bids to compete in the 64-player singles tournament at the Dan McGill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., May 26-31. Quigley and Cox also will participate in the doubles tournament at the same venue, May 27-31.

AGATE
NCAA Men's Tennis Championships Sweet 16
Racquet Club of the South
Norcross, Ga.
May 21, 2010

No. 5-seed Southern California 4 vs. No. 12-seed Kentucky 0

Doubles (Order of finish: 2,1)
1. #2 Robert Farah/Steve Johnson (USC) def. #22 Eric Quigley/Brad Cox (UK), 8-3
2. Daniel Nguyen/JT Sundling (USC) def. #76 Alberto Gonzalez/Alex Lambropoulos (UK), 8-4
3. Peter Lucassen/Jaak Poldma (USC) vs. Anthony Rossi/Alex Musialek (UK), 5-5, unf.

Singles (Order of finish: 6,5,4*)
1. #9 Robert Farah (USC) vs. #12 Eric Quigley (UK), 7-6(11), 3-2, unf.
2. #3 Steve Johnson (USC) vs. #49 Alex Musialek (UK), 6-1, 4-5, unf.
3. #89 Jaak Poldma (USC) vs. Brad Cox (UK), 3-6, 6-3, 0-1, unf.
4. #83 Daniel Nguyen (USC) def. Anthony Rosi (UK), 6-2, 6-2
5. Matt Kecki (USC) def. Alberto Gonzalez (UK), 7-5, 6-1
6. #121 Peter Lucassen (USC) vs. Alex Lambropoulos (UK), 6-2, 6-1