Men's Tennis to Host NCAA Regional
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 10 University of Kentucky men's tennis team will make its 22nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament when it hosts the first and second rounds of the event May 13-14 at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky (26-8) is the No. 10 overall seed in the 64-team field and plays Cleveland State on Friday, May 13, at 3 p.m. Earlier in the day, Louisville takes on Cornell at noon. The winners of the two first-round matches meet Saturday, May 14, at 3 p.m. The second-round winner advances to Stanford, Calif., where the remaining rounds will take place May 19-24 at the Taube Tennis Center. All times are local.
"I think that this is a great region and it is going to be very competitive," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "It is kind of unique that three of the four teams in the region won their conference tournaments. I think that shows how good this region is."
Cleveland State (16-7) will face Kentucky in the first round for the third consecutive season. The Vikings were given an automatic qualifying spot in the event after claiming the Horizon League Championship. UK defeated CSU earlier this season in Lexington 6-1 and has won the previous two first-round matches.
"We are very familiar with Cleveland State, having played them once this season," Emery said. "We have faced them in the NCAA Tournament before and they are always a really tough team to defeat because they play hard and are well coached."
Cornell (24-6) and Louisville (17-11) also received automatic qualifying spots into the event with Cornell taking the Ivy League Championship and Louisville capturing the Big East crown.
"Cornell has been one of the surprises of the year so far under new head coach Tony Bresky," Emery said. "We are familiar with Tony, who used to be an assistant at Virginia, and he knows what it takes to win championships. I think he has done an incredible job with that program in one season. We also have a lot of respect for Louisville and what that program has done the past few seasons. There should be some great tennis played at Boone next weekend."
The Wildcats are making their 22nd showing in the NCAA Tournament, including 17 of the last 18 years. Kentucky will host the first and second rounds of the tournament for eighth time since 2000, including the past two seasons. Last year, UK defeated Cleveland State and Georgia Tech to advance to its first round of 16 since 2002.
All of UK's NCAA appearances have come under Emery's direction. The 29th-year Wildcat mentor ranks second in the nation among active coaches in NCAA Championship appearances. The Wildcats have advanced as far as the quarterfinals three times (1988, 1992, 2002).
UK enters the tournament after one of the best regular seasons in school history with a school-record 26 wins. The Wildcats are fresh off an appearance in the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, marking their second finals appearance in school history and the first since UK claimed the title in 1992.
Junior Eric Quigley leads the Wildcats with a No. 6 showing in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles rankings. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., has been ranked in the top six nationally all season long, including peaking at No. 2 in the nation. Quigley has a dual-match record of 21-7 at the No. 1 singles position, while he is 43-11 overall. Quigley was named All-SEC first team last week for the second consecutive season.
Fellow junior Alex Musialek and senior Alberto Gonzalez have also been ranked high all season long with Musialek coming in this week at No. 53 and Gonzalez at No. 90 this week. Both players were named All-SEC second-team performers last week.
In doubles, UK's duo of senior Brad Cox and Quigley are ranked 19th in the latest ITA poll. The tandem has played great tennis as of late, taking down three top-15 ranked tandems in their last seven matches.
Kentucky has been nearly unbeatable at home this season, posting a 16-3 record that includes wins over some of the best teams in the nation. UK's three home losses in 2011 have come to teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation. In all, the Wildcats are an impressive 44-9 at home since the start of the 2009 season.
For more information on the Kentucky men's tennis team, visit UKathletics.com.
First Round: Friday, May 13
Match 1: Cornell vs. Louisville, 12 p.m. EST
Match 2: Cleveland State vs. Kentucky, 3 p.m. EST
Second Round: Saturday, May 14
Match 3: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 3 p.m. EST
Tickets for the championships are on sale now. Fans can purchase championship passes and single-day tickets by calling 1-800-928-CATS or in person at the UK ticket office at the Joe Craft Center, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ticket prices include:
Adult tournament pass $10.00
Child/Senior $ 6.00
Adult single day pass $ 6.00
Child/Senior single day pass $ 4.00
The Boone Tennis Complex will open for fans one hour prior to the start of competition. A will call table for fans will be located outside the stadium courts.
Reserved parking is available for visiting team vans in the R-3 lot located adjacent to the Boone Tennis Center Courts. Spectators may park free of charge in the Residential R-3 lots located on the north and south sides of Nutter Training Center. Parking Structure #7 will also be available for a fee on Friday and $3 discounted parking vouchers may be purchased at the main ticket entrance to the tennis complex. On Saturday, Parking Structure #7 will be free of charge.