Men's Tennis Plays Host to NCAA First and Second Rounds

April 28, 2009


The NCAA announced Tuesday evening that the No. 11 Kentucky men’s tennis team will host No. 18 Wake Forest, No. 42 Northwestern and Cleveland State the weekend of May 8-9 at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Complex, one of 16 host sites for the first and second rounds of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships.

The top-seeded Wildcats square off against fourth-seeded Cleveland State for the first time in school history at 1:00 p.m. ET Fri. May 8 at Boone. Earlier in the day, second-seeded Wake Forest will open the weekend versus third-seeded Northwestern at 10:00 a.m. The winners of the two matches will meet in a second-round contest at 1:00 p.m. Sat. May 9 at the home of the Wildcats.

“We’re happy our performance this season earned us a top-11 seed in the NCAA tournament,” said UK head coach Dennis Emery. “The last time we hosted the NCAAs was in 2005, concluding four consecutive years that teams came to play us in Lexington.”

UK (17-10) moved up one spot in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings released Monday. Kentucky last played in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals, coming up short against No. 5 Tennessee 4-2, after beating No. 52 Arkansas 4-3 in the opening round in Auburn, Ala.

Senior Bruno Agostinelli leads the Cats into the post-season. The captain is currently ranked fifth nationally in singles, while he and sophomore doubles partner Brad Cox are ranked at No. 20 in the country. Agostinelli earned his 100th career singles victory during UK’s final home stand of the regular season earlier this month. The Niagara Falls, Canada, native carries a 33-12 singles record this year including a win last fall over then-No.1 Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State. Additionally, Agostinelli tallied four-straight wins against 2008 NCAA Singles Finalist John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee this season.

Freshman Eric Quigley ranks 119th nationally in singles in the latest ITA rankings. He improved to 19-6 overall with a pair of wins at the conference tournament and upped his SEC record to 10-2. Of his 19 wins, 18 have been in straight sets. Quigley has won five of his last seven matches with two victories over ranked players while both losses were to opponents ranked among the top 66 nationally.

UK boasts marquee wins this season over No. 5 Tennessee both at home and at UT as well as road victories at No. 19 Auburn, No. 22 Miami and No. 29 Notre Dame. Kentucky’s current ranking of No. 11 is the program’s best standing since May 2005.

UK played one of the toughest schedules in the nation again this season, with nine matches against teams currently ranked in the top 10. The Wildcats battled a total of 22 ranked teams overall this year compiling a record of 12-10. Six of those wins were against teams ranked in the top 30, while nine of UK’s losses came at the hands of teams currently ranked in the top 14.

Last season, UK fell 4-0 to Virginia Tech in an NCAA first round match played in Knoxville, Tenn. The last time Kentucky hosted the NCAA first and second round at Boone was in 2005. That year the Wildcats defeated Butler 4-0 before falling to Florida State 4-2 in the second round.

Since 1987 Kentucky has made a total 20 NCAA appearances, including a string of 13 consecutive bids, all under the direction of Emery. The Wildcat coach claims the second-most tournament berths among active coaches today. In his 27 seasons at Kentucky, Emery has guided his Wildcat teams to the NCAA quarterfinals three times: in 1988, 1992 and most recently 2002. UK has advanced to the round of 16 on eight occasions, including the three ‘elite eight’ runs.

UK’s first round opponent Cleveland State (20-5) hails from the Horizon League and recently earned its second consecutive automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after defeating Illinois-Chicago 4-3 in the league’s tournament championship. The unranked Vikings’ 20 wins are the most in school history. CSU rolled through the Horizon undefeated this season. The only common opponent the first-round foes share is Ohio State. The Vikings lost 7-0 to the third-ranked Buckeyes in Columbus in mid-March while UK fell 5-2 to OSU in Lexington earlier this month.

In the other first-round match, No. 18 Wake Forest (20-9) will face No. 42 Northwestern (18-8). The second-seeded Demon Deacons (20-9) are coming off of a 4-0 loss to top-ranked Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Final. The third-seeded Wildcats of NU fell to No. 35 Michigan 4-2 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals last weekend.

The team that wins both of its matches will advance to play in the NCAA Team Championships in College Station, Texas, May 14-19.

The selections for the NCAA men’s singles and double championships will be announced tomorrow evening on Sixty-four singles players and 32 doubles teams will take part in the individual championships next month in College Station, Texas, after the completion of the team championships.

Check back with for the announcement of the individual championship selections Wednesday evening.

(All times Eastern)

Friday, May 8
10 a.m. Match 1: #3 Northwestern vs. #2 Wake Forest
1 p.m.   Match 2: #4 Cleveland State vs. #1 KENTUCKY
Saturday, May 9
1 p.m. Match 3: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2