No. 6 Men's Tennis Begins National Indoors vs. No. 11 Texas A&M
Feb. 15, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the third consecutive season, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team has earned a berth into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men’s Team Indoor Championships, which will begin Friday at the Boar’s Head Sport Club in Charlottesville, Va. The event is being hosted by the University of Virginia.
Kentucky (9-0) will begin its tournament run against No. 11 Texas A&M on Friday at 9 a.m. A win over the Aggies will place UK in the quarterfinals against the winner of No. 3 Ohio State and No. 14 Texas at 9 a.m. on Saturday. If UK falls in the first round, it will drop into the consolation bracket and face the loser of the Ohio State-Texas matchup. Live scores from every match will be available at ITAtennis.com.
“This is always one of my favorite weeks of the year,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “We hosted this tournament for 15 years and because of that it is something I always look forward to and we are really excited to get things going this weekend. We feel this is a really great opportunity for us to compete for a national championship and position ourselves for a good run at the end of the year in the NCAAs. I think we are a team that rises to the level of the team we are playing and there is no doubt the best teams in the nation are here this weekend. We need to be focused and ready to go.”
Kentucky earned its berth into the event with a victory over No. 22 Tulsa in the ITA Kickoff Weekend. This is the third straight year UK has played in the event. Last year, UK lost to No. 5 Texas in the opening round before defeating top-15 ranked Texas Tech and top-30 ranked Washington in the consolation bracket. In 2010, Kentucky lost to No. 3 UCLA in the first round before taking down No. 13 Illinois in the second round. UK would finish the event with a loss to top-10 ranked Stanford.
The Wildcats are coming off a 4-3 win over No. 30 Notre Dame last Sunday in South Bend, Ind. UK was led in the match by its outstanding play in singles action, getting wins from No. 5 Eric Quigley, No. 36 Anthony Rossi, No. 95 Tom Jomby and No. 111 Alejandro Gomez. The win extended UK’s best start to a season in the 30-year tenure of head coach Dennis Emery. It was also Kentucky’s sixth win over a ranked foe this season having already taken down No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 22 Tulsa, No. 29 Indiana, No. 53 Michigan State and No. 57 North Carolina State. UK’s win over Pepperdine was its 21st over a top-25 ranked team since the start of the 2009 season.
Kentucky is ranked sixth as a team in the latest ITA team rankings. The ranking ties the highest for the Kentucky program since it moved to No. 6 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.
UK currently has six players ranked in the nation in singles by the ITA, however new singles and doubles rankings are scheduled to be release Thursday afternoon. Co-captains Quigley and Alex Musialek lead the way for UK, ranking No. 5 and No. 13, respectively. Quigley has a 9-0 record in dual matches this season and is 32-5 overall, while Musialek is 3-1 in dual matches and 17-6 overall.
Rossi is ranked 36th in the nation in singles and is having a fantastic junior season. The native of Marseille, France, is 6-0 during the spring season and a combined 23-2 this season. Sophomores No. 85 Panav Jha, No. 95 Jomby and No. 111 Alejandro Gomez complete the UK singles rotation. Jha is 14-9 this season, while Jomby is 15-5 and Gomez an impressive 28-4.
Texas A&M (5-2) is ranked 11th in the nation as a team having already taken down one SEC foe this season in No. 14 Mississippi State. A&M has also defeated No. 14 Texas, No. 67 Purdue, Louisiana-Lafayette and UT-San Antonio. The Aggies two losses have come to No. 2 Virginia and No. 22 Tulsa. Texas A&M has three ranked singles players in senior No. 19 Alexis Klegou, freshman No. 73 Jeremy Efferding and sophomore No. 104 Junior Ore. Kentucky is 0-2 all-time against Texas A&M dating back to the two school’s first meet in 1983.
The 2012 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship, the signature indoor team tournament of the college tennis season, features 16 of the top men's programs in the nation. Joining UK at the event will be each of the top-14 teams in No. 1 USC, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Baylor, No. 8 UCLA, No. 9 Stanford, No. 10 Duke, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 13 California and No. 14 Texas. No. 16 Auburn has the 15th seed in the event, while No. 20 Tennessee is the 16th seed.
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