Men's Tennis Set for Rematch with No. 2 Ohio State
Feb. 24, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The seventh-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team will look to avenge its quarterfinal loss last weekend to Ohio State in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men’s Team Indoor Championship, when it travels to face the second-ranked Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
Kentucky (10-2) and Ohio State (12-1) played a thrilling match last Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., in the ITA National Indoor event. With the team score tied 3-3, Ohio State's No. 99 Ille Van Engelen and Kentucky's No. 79 Tom Jomby were battling in a third set at No. 4 singles to see who could earn the decisive fourth point of the match. Van Engelen would start the set with a 3-0 lead, before Jomby won four of the next five games to tie the set 4-4. Both players then held serve to tie the set 5-5 before Van Engelen fought off break point to go up 6-5 and then broke Jomby to clinch the set and OSU's 4-3 win.
The Wildcats performed well in singles action overall in the match, getting wins at Nos. 1, 2, and 3 singles. Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek, who are ranked sixth and 20th in singles respectively, led the UK charge in singles. Quigley defeated No. 16 Chase Buchanan at No. 1 singles, while Musialek took down No. 12 Blaz Rola at No. 2 singles. Junior No. 13 Anthony Rossi also earned a singles win at No. 3 singles over Peter Kobelt in straight sets.
The Wildcats started the weekend by taking down then-No. 11 Texas A&M 4-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the event for the first time since a semifinal appearance in 1997. UK ended the event by falling 4-1 to No. 9 Stanford in a consolation match.
The 1-2 weekend dropped Kentucky to No. 7 in the latest ITA team rankings. The Wildcats started the season ranked seventh in the nation, before moving up to No. 6 on Feb. 7. The top-six ranking tied the highest for the UK program since it moved to No. 6 on March 9, 2010. Before the 2010 season, UK had not earned a top-six ranking since the 2002 campaign.
Rossi led UK at the national event in Charlottesville, going 3-0 in singles action. For his efforts, the native of Marseille, France, was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Wednesday. So far this season, Rossi is 26-2, including 9-0 in dual matches. The junior has won 16 consecutive singles matches dating back to the Rainbow Warrior Challenge the first week of January.
Last Thursday, the ITA announced the most recent set of singles and doubles rankings with Kentucky being one of only two schools in the nation to have six singles players ranked. It is the first time in program history that UK has had three players ranked in the top 20 in singles at the same time. Quigley leads the rankings at No. 6, followed by No. 13 Rossi and No. 20 Musialek. Completing the rankings are sophomores No. 79 Jomby, No. 87 Alejandro Gomez and No. 119 Panav Jha.
Ohio State went 3-1 and advanced to its third championship final last weekend in the ITA National Indoors. The Buckeyes defeated No. 14 Texas 4-0 before its win over UK in the quarterfinals. OSU then ended No. 2 Virginia’s 18-match win streak in the tournament and a 94-match home win streak with a 4-1 victory in the semifinals. In the final vs. No. 1 USC, the Buckeyes came up just short, falling 4-3.
The Buckeyes enter Saturday’s contest with the nation’s longest home winning streak having won 135 consecutive home matches dating back to the 2002-03 season. OSU is 7-0 at home this season.
The Buckeyes hold a 12-11 lead in the all-time series between the two schools. The two teams have met annually since 2009 with the Buckeyes earning 5-2 wins in both 2009 and 2010. Last year, then-No. 12 Kentucky fell in a dual match to third-ranked Ohio State 4-3 in Lexington. The first-ever meeting was in 1933.
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