Men's Tennis Visits No. 2 Ole Miss Friday
April 2, 2009
OXFORD, Miss. - The No. 13 Kentucky men's tennis team visits Oxford, Miss., for the second time this season to take on No. 2 Ole Miss on Friday at the Rebels' Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center at 5:00 p.m. ET, before battling No. 60 Mississippi State on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
UK (13-6, 3-3 SEC) opened its 2009 road schedule at Ole Miss (16-2, 6-0 SEC) in January when the Wildcats and Rebels met in the first round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Indoor Championships. At that time, the ninth-ranked Rebels knocked off the No. 37 Cats in a tight 4-3 match.
"Ole Miss is only a few points behind Virginia for No. 1 in the national rankings," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "They may move into first after this weekend if we don't come up with the win. Ole Miss already has top-10 wins over Georgia, Tennessee and Florida this season. They have an amazing home record (66-3) over the past five years, so it's going to be a very difficult match for us."
The Cats are coming off of a 5-2 defeat to No. 5 Ohio State on Wednesday in Lexington. After the Ole Miss on match Friday, the Cats wrap up the weekend in Starkville, Miss., against No. 60 Mississippi State. UK returns home to host No. 4 Tennessee and No. 3 Georgia the following weekend.
The Southeastern Conference has three of the top four teams in the nation including No. 2 Ole Miss, No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Tennessee. The tenth-ranked Florida Gators increases the SEC team total to four of the top 10 nationally. UK has already defeated the fourth-ranked Volunteers on the road in non-conference play this season.
UK senior Bruno Agostinelli remains the nation's fifth-ranked singles in the latest rankings released. The captain knocked No. 4 Bryan Koniecko of Ohio State in three sets Wednesday for his latest ranked-player conquest. In doubles, Agostinelli is also ranked with sophomore Brad Cox at 19th in the nation.
Ole Miss has climbed the rankings all season. The Rebels are remains undefeated at home this season. Their only losses have come been to No. 6 USC at the National Indoor Championships in Chicago and a 4-3 defeat at No. 7 Baylor. The defending SEC tournament champions' last loss in conference action was to Florida in March of 2008.
Four Rebels are ranked in the latest ITA men's singles poll, including No. 23 Jonas Berg, No. 29 Devin Britton, No. 37 Kalle Norberg and No. 122 Bram tenBerge. Berg and tenBerge also rank second nationally in doubles, but one of their five losses was to Agostinelli and Cox in January.
Mississippi State (5-11, 1-5) will host Vanderbilt Friday before facing the Wildcats Sunday. MSU's last win was a 4-3 victory at Auburn on Mar. 13. Last season, UK defeated the Bulldogs 4-3 in Lexington helped by winning the doubles point and victories by Agostinelli, junior Alex Lambropoulos and departed senior Marcus Sundh.
Two Bulldogs are ranked in the latest ITA men's singles poll, including No. 88 Ryan Farlow and No. 89 Artem Ilyushin.
Please visit UKathletics.com for live stats and a full recap of both matches.