No. 6 Kentucky Begins SEC Title Defense with Arkansas, LSU

Feb. 28, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A year after going 11-0 in the toughest conference in collegiate tennis, the sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team will begin its defense of the championship on Friday afternoon in the Southeastern Conference season opener against No. 47 Arkansas at 1:00 p.m. ET at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center.

Kentucky has won 12 of its 14 matches of the season, including seven wins over teams ranked in the top 50 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, including a 3-1 mark against teams comprising of the top 10 in No. 6 Georgia, No. 8 Oklahoma, and No. 10 Mississippi State.

The SEC again boasts one of the most impressive resumes in the nation, as the conference boasts seven teams that are ranked in the top 25 of the nation into the outdoor season. Kentucky currently is the top-ranked team in the conference followed by No. 8 Tennessee, No. 9 Georgia, No. 10 Mississippi State, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 13 Ole Miss, and No. 25 Vanderbilt.

The Wildcats are coming off a sweep of a doubleheader with Samford (5-1) and Jacksonville State (5-1) in one of UK’s final non-conference road matches of the season. In the wins, No. 21 Anthony Rossi picked up two more wins to increase his career total to 94 wins. In addition, freshman Juan Pablo Murra, Beck Pennington and Kevin Lai all picked up two wins in the matches on Sunday afternoon in Birmingham. 

In addition to Rossi jumping up some 70 spots in the ITA singles’ rankings, junior Tom Jomby moved up to No. 18 in the nation as he currently boasts an 8-1 record on court two in addition to playing every match at No. 1 doubles with Lai. Jomby and Lai are currently ranked No. 21 in doubles.

Rossi and Jomby have been spectacular for Kentucky in the top two singles slots, as the duo has a combined record of 24-2 in their singles matches on the first two courts in 2013. That is not only the best win total, but winning percentage in the conference, with Mississippi State’s 19-3 record coming the closest to the mark. 

Friday’s match with the Razorbacks will be UK’s first match in Lexington in a month, as the Wildcats have spent two consecutive weekends on the road in Seattle and Birmingham, Ala. After this two-match homestand with Arkansas and LSU, the Wildcats will play four straight on the road again beginning with a non-conference showdown in Waco, Texas against No. 26 Baylor.

Arkansas enters the conference slate with an 11-3 record overall and fresh off a weekend win over No. 71 Purdue in Fayetteville. The Hogs have also recorded wins over Army twice, Minnesota, and UAB. In the midst of his 26th season at the helm, Robert Cox again leads the Razorbacks this season. The Wildcats hold a 23-3 lead in the all-time series with Arkansas.

On Sunday, the Wildcats will complete the opening weekend of SEC play with a showdown against No. 24 Louisiana State at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 3. The Tigers have played three teams ranked in the top 25, including No. 11 Mississippi State, No. 23 Indiana and No. 4 Ohio State. In common opponents, both Kentucky and LSU defeated Indiana, while the Tigers fell 7-0 to Mississippi State while UK knocked off the Bulldogs 4-0 at the ITA National Indoors. LSU has won four of its last five matches.

Live scores for both matches this weekend will be available at For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter, and University of Kentucky Men’s Tennis on Facebook.

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