No. 11 Kentucky Opens SEC Play at No. 9 Florida and No. 31 South Carolina
March 5, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky men's tennis team continues its grueling road schedule with two road matches against SEC ranked foes. This weekend, the No. 11 Wildcats open conference play at No. 9 Florida on Friday at 3:00 p.m. ET and then visit No. 31 South Carolina on Sunday at noon to conclude a string of four consecutive contests versus top-35 opponents away from home.
UK (8-2) ranks at No. 11 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings after the Cats jumped 10 spots in the poll for the second consecutive week. Kentucky's ranking is the best since May 2, 2005 when UK was also No. 11 nationally. The Wildcats' 8-2 ledger is its best 10-match start since 2002. Kentucky is 4-2 overall against ranked foes this season after recent road victories at No. 4 Tennessee and No. 25 Notre Dame.
Senior Bruno Agostinelli is the nation's second-ranked singles player entering the weekend. His ranking is the highest for any Wildcat since Jesse Witten was ranked first nationally in 2003. Over the past two weeks, the Niagara Falls, Canada, native has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. 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.
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.
Friday's match is the conference opener for both Florida and Kentucky. Last year, the UK fell to UF in Lexington, 6-1. On Tuesday, the No. 9 Gators (9-3) defeated in-state rival No. 15 Florida State 5-2 on the road. Last month, Florida advanced to the round of 16 at the National Indoors before falling to newly-crowned No. 1 Stanford, 4-3, in Chicago. The SEC foes share one common opponent in No. 9 Ole Miss. The Cats fell to the Rebels 4-3 on the road in January while the Gators lost 4-1 in a neutral site match in Chicago last month.
Three UF players are ranked in the latest ITA men's singles poll, including No. 18 Carlos Cueto, No. 34 Alex Lacroix and No. 88 Tyler Hochwalt. Additionally, four Gator doubles combinations are ranked led by Antoine Benneteau and Joey Burkhardt at No. 18.
South Carolina (10-1) welcomes the Wildcats on Sunday after hosting No. 37 Vanderbilt Friday. UK has won two in a row over the Gamecocks after a 5-2 victory in Lexington last year. USC has only played one opponent in the top-35 this year, a 5-0 loss at Georgia in January. The teams share one common opponent in Indiana. Last month the Cats rolled to a 6-1 win at home over the Hoosiers while the Gamecocks knocked off IU 4-3 at a neutral site match in Georgia.
Two USC players are ranked in the latest ITA men's singles poll, including No. 64 Diego Cubas and No. 110 Ivan Cressoni. In doubles, Cubas and Ivan Machado are also ranked 64th in the country.
Please visit UKathletics.com for live stats and a full recap of this weekend's action.