UK Tennis Teams Crack Top 15 in the Nation
March 3, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky men's and women's tennis squads both cracked the top-15 in the country for the first time this season in the latest team rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on Tuesday. The women's team ranks 14th nationally, up six notches from a week ago while the men's team jumped 10 spots in a week to No. 11 led by the nation's second-ranked singles player, senior Bruno Agostinelli.
The UK women's squad is undefeated this season at 8-0 after bouncing No. 14 Clemson last weekend for the program's best start in over 20 years. After holding steady at No. 20 for the past four weeks, the Cats jumped in the polls after the win over the Tigers. UK's No. 14 ranking is the best since Jan. 31, 2006 when the team was ranked No. 12 at the start of head coach Carlos Drada's career. Kentucky is one of only three SEC teams in the top 15 along with No. 2 Georgia and No. 12 Tennessee. The Cats have been ranked in the top-25 for 19 consecutive polls for a reason, having defeated four ranked opponents this year all in the top-50: No. 46 Marshall, No. 31 Ohio State, No. 44 Indiana and No. 14 Clemson.
The Wildcat men are 8-2 on the season for their best 10-match start in seven years. The 2002 Cats also went 8-2. UK jumped 10 spots in the poll for the second consecutive week moving from 31st to 11th after road wins against top-25 opponents No. 4 Tennessee and No. 25 Notre Dame. Kentucky's ranking is the best since May 2, 2005 when the Cats were also No. 11 nationally. This week, UK is one of five SEC men's teams in the top 15 along with No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 9 Florida and No. 10 Ole Miss. The Wildcats are 4-2 overall against ranked foes this season with victories against No. 17 Rice, No. 64 Indiana and road losses at No. 5 Virginia and No. 9 Ole Miss.
UK is one of just seven schools to have both their men's and women's programs ranked inside this week's top 15.
Agostinelli's ranking is the highest for any Wildcat since Jesse Witten was ranked first in the nation in 2003. Last week, the Niagara Falls, Canada, native was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time in his career after defeating 2008 NCAA singles finalist John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee on the road in a dramatic three-set, come-from-behind victory. He carries a 6-1 singles record this season with three wins over top-30 opponents - all away from home.
In doubles, Agostinelli is also ranked with sophomore Brad Cox at 20th in the nation. Last week the pair knocked off the No. 13 team of Brett Helgeson and Tyler Davis of Notre Dame to clinch the doubles point against the Irish. The tandem is 3-2 at No. 1 doubles this season having already beaten the nation's No. 1 team of Jonas Berg and Bram tenBerge at Ole Miss in January.
Freshman Eric Quigley, of Pewee Valley, Ky., is also ranked in singles for the Cats at No. 99 in the country. Quigley carries a 7-2 singles record this season and is coming off a win over No. 122 Daniel Stahl of Notre Dame on the road.
On the women's side, UK has one ranked singles player and one ranked doubles team. Sophomore Megan Broderick is No. 96 with a 4-2 record at the No. 1 position. The newly-ranked pair of senior Carolina Escamilla and freshman Caroline Lilley stands at No. 53 this week after compiling a 4-0 record at number one doubles. The UK tandem most recently defeated the No. 27 pair of Josipa Bek and Ina Hadziselimovic of Clemson.
Both ranked squads open SEC play against Florida and South Carolina this weekend. The men will travel for their matches while the women take the court at Boone Tennis Center.
UK fans can catch a glimpse of the undefeated women's squad inside Boone on Friday against No. 31 Florida at 1 p.m. ET and again on Sunday versus No. 29 South Carolina at noon.
The men's team opens its season against the No. 8 Gators on Friday at 3 p.m. ET in Gainesville, Fla., and then travels to Columbia, S.C. to take on the Gamecocks at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Live stats for all four matches will be available at UKathletics.com, your source for all of the latest Kentucky tennis news.