Men's Tennis Ranked 12th in ITA Preseason Rankings

Jan. 4, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After a strong run in the NCAA Tournament last season and the return of talented juniors Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek and senior leaders Brad Cox and Alberto Gonzalez, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team has been slated a preseason ranking of No. 12, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Tuesday.

“We have high expectations for this year and we are hoping to move our program forward,” said head coach Dennis Emery, who is entering his 29th season as the Kentucky head coach. “We feel that being ranked No. 12 is a great place for us to start and a fair indication of where we are at. We would love to be higher in the rankings and hopefully with hard work we can move our way up the rankings.”

Kentucky had an impressive season in 2010, advancing to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 before falling to eventual National Champion Southern California. Kentucky finished the 2010 season with a school record 25 wins, including an impressive 8-3 record in Southeastern Conference play.

"We are very happy with this ranking," Emery said. "I think that our team understands that with the schedule that we have this year we really need to play well to have a good season. We play three of the top five teams in the country this year so we know that we have to continue to get better everyday in order to be successful this season."

Kentucky was led last season by Quigley, who will also be the No. 1 guy for Kentucky this year. Quigley will begin the 2011 spring season with his highest career ranking, coming in at No. 2 in the ITA preseason singles poll.

The top-two ranking for Quigley marks the third time since 2000 that UK has had a player ranked in the top two in the country. Former All-Americans Jesse Witten (2002-2005) and Bruno Agostinelli (2006-2009) were both ranked in the top two during their time at UK. Witten was the No. 1 ranked player in the country as a sophomore in 2003, while Agostinelli reached the No. 2 position in 2009.

Quigley’s high ranking was expected after one of the best fall campaigns in school history. The junior was nearly unstoppable this fall, posting a 18-3 record, including a remarkable 12-1 record against top-45 ranked players with wins over Nos. 1, 13 (twice), 21, 26 (twice), 28, 30, 31, 33, 44 and 45. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., made three main draw finals and one consolation final during the fall, winning the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Indoor Championships and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate singles consolation title, while finishing as a finalist in the ITA All- American Championships.

“The good thing about Eric is that he is not into where he is ranked or who is ranked ahead of him and that sort of thing,” Emery said, “but he is into improving and getting better. This No. 2 ranking will give him a chance to work hard this spring and look to improve.”

Two other Wildcats were ranked in the preseason poll with Musialek coming in at No. 39 and Gonzalez being ranked No. 72. Musialek also started the 2010 spring season at No. 39, peaking at No. 29 after defeating several top players, while Gonzalez was ranked at No. 125 last season. Musialek finished the fall season at 5-4, while Gonzalez was 5-1.

"One thing that we are trying to do with this program is have solid players from top to bottom and I think Alex and Alberto getting ranked is an indication that we are heading in that direction," Emery said.