Wildcats Earn Multiple NCAA Selections and Conference Honors
April 30, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior Bruno Agostinelli will represent Kentucky men's tennis as the fifth seed overall in singles and pair with sophomore Brad Cox in doubles at the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships next month at Texas A&M University's George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, May 20-25, the NCAA announced Wednesday evening.
Additionally, the Southeastern Conference announced Thursday that Agostinelli earned All-SEC First Team honors while freshman Eric Quigley took home All-SEC Second Team and All-SEC Freshman Team awards.
The past 24 hours have been huge for Agostinelli. In addition to being selected for the NCAAs and honored by the conference, the senior captain was named Mr. Wildcat and the K-Association Male Athlete of the Year at the seventh-annual CATSPY-Awards Wednesday.
The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships take place in College Station after the NCAA Team Championship is complete. In singles, 64 men from around the country are selected while the doubles field contains 32 tandems. Sixteen men are seeded in the singles championships, while eight doubles pairs receive seeds. While the fields, seeds and alternates were released Wednesday evening, the draws for both tourneys will not be announced until Championship Week in College Station.
Agostinelli is currently ranked sixth nationally in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles rankings, 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.
The Wildcat is making his second consecutive appearance in the Singles Championships. Agostinelli is battle-tested, having played other NCAA selections 28 times this season while recording an 17-11 record. Nine of the 11 losses are against fellow gentlemen that earned NCAA seeds in College Station and he has defeated other seeded players on eight occasions.
Agostinelli and Cox rank 22nd in the nation in the latest ITA doubles rankings. This is the second straight year the UK pairing has been selected to the NCAA Championships. The Cats tandem defeated the top-seeded team of Jonas Berg and Bran tenBerge from Ole Miss twice this year. The Wildcats also knocked off the fourth-seeded team of Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg from Georgia. Altogether the pair faced NCAA doubles team selections 14 times this season posting a 5-9 record. Last fall, the Wildcat duo won the Southern Intercollegiate Championships doubles title.
"Bruno has had a great senior season," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "He started strong in the fall with a win over the nation's top player and has continued to build that momentum throughout the year. What is impressive is that Bruno's improvement has had so much to do with his commitment and mental toughness. He has improved through his own hard work. To quote Mitch Barnhart his job now is to finish the job with a strong NCAA Team tournament and a strong NCAA singles and doubles.
"Brad has shown dramatic improvement from last year not only as a doubles player but also as a singles player. In doubles, Brad and Bruno have four top-10 wins this year. They have shown the ability to beat anyone this season and the jump that they have made this year has been proportional to the improvements Brad has made in his total game."
After collecting his fourth conference award in four years, Agostinelli is just the second Wildcat to be recognized by the SEC in each year of his college career; the first player to accomplish that feat was Jesse Witten (2002-05). After being named SEC Freshman of the Year in his first season, Agostinelli won All-SEC Second Team honors as a sophomore. During his final two seasons the Wildcat has claimed All-SEC First Team recognition.
Quigley's conference awards are the first of his career. He joins elite company in Agostinelli and Witten as the only Wildcats to be named to the All-SEC Freshman Team. Quigley is the first Wildcat since 2007 to be named to the All-SEC Second Team. He currently ranks 115th in the latest ITA singles rankings. He improved his dual match record 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 62 nationally.
The 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 Tennis Complex. 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.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the latest Kentucky men's tennis news.