No. 6 Men's Tennis Faces Road Test at No. 30 Notre Dame
Feb. 11, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After eight straight wins to start the season, including five wins over ranked teams, the No. 6 University of Kentucky men's tennis team takes its unblemished record to South Bend, Ind., to face No. 30 Notre Dame on Sunday at Noon ET at the Eck Tennis Center.
"This is always a very competitive match, especially at Notre Dame because it is a tough place to play," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "We anticipate this year being the same. They are coached by one of the most legendry coaches in the nation, who is one of only three active coaches with 700 wins or more. They have a great team this season and it's going to be tough to go up there and get a win, especially indoors."
Kentucky (8-0) is off to its best start in the 30-year tenure of head coach Dennis Emery. So far this season, Kentucky has defeated five ranked teams, including No. 12 Pepperdine and No. 22 Tulsa. The Wildcats have also taken down No. 29 Indiana, No. 53 Michigan State and No. 57 North Carolina State.
UK moved up one spot to No. 6 in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings, which were released Tuesday. The ranking ties the highest for the Kentucky program since it moved to No. 6 in the rankings on March 9, 2010. UK earned that ranking with four wins over top-16 ranked teams, including its historic win over No. 2 Virginia. Before the 2010 season, UK had not earned a top-six rankings since the 2002 campaign.
The Wildcats recently completed a 6-0 home stand where they earned wins over Abilene Christian, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina State, Pepperdine and Tulsa. Kentucky's win over Pepperdine marked its 21st over a top-25 team since the 2009 season. In the win, UK dropped the doubles point, however won four singles matches to get the 4-2 win. Three of the singles wins were over highly ranked foes as No. 5 Eric Quigley took down No. 35 Finn Tearney, No. 13 Alex Musialek defeated No. 21 Sebastian Fanselow and No. 36 Anthony Rossi was victorious over No. 49 Mousheg Hovhannisyan. Sophomore No. 111 Alejandro Gomez clinched the decisive fourth point in the match and has now clinched three consecutive matches for UK.
Kentucky's win against Tulsa sealed its ticket to the ITA National Indoors Team Championships, which will be played Feb. 17-19 in Charlottesville, Va. The Wildcats have been to the national team indoor event the past two seasons, having successful runs both years. Including this season, UK has advanced to the last three rounds of 16 in the indoor team championships, on top of appearances in the outdoor round of 16 in 2010 and 2011.
UK is led this season by its senior co-captains Quigley and Musialek. Quigley, who is ranked fifth in the nation in singles, is the all-time winningest singles player in school history, while Musialek has 95 career singles wins and is on pace to become only the 14th player to earn 100 singles wins in a career. Musialek is ranked 13th in the nation in singles.
Along with Quigley and Musialek, Kentucky has a total of six singles players ranked in the nation, including junior No. 36 Rossi and sophomores No. 85 Panav Jha, No. 95 Tom Jomby and No. 111 Gomez.
Notre Dame (7-3) is coming off an impressive 7-0 home win over Wisconsin on Friday. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked 30th as a team, while senior Sam Keeton is ranked 74th in the nation in singles. Before its win over Wisconsin, Notre Dame had played six consecutive road matches with wins over No. 39 Wake Forest, No. 44 Cornell and No. 62 Northwestern. UND's only three losses this season have come against No. 10 Duke, No. 17 Illinois and No. 29 Indiana.
For more information on the Kentucky men's tennis team, follow "UKmenstennis" on Twitter or "University of Kentucky men's tennis team" on Facebook.