Kentucky Battles Cleveland State in NCAA First Round

May 6, 2009


The No. 11 Kentucky men's tennis team will battle Cleveland State in the first round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Complex, one of 16 NCAA host sites for the first two rounds of the 2009 Championships.

The Wildcats (17-10) are the top seed at the Lexington site and 11th seed overall in the men's tourney. Cleveland State (20-5) hails from the Horizon League and is seeded fourth. Earlier in the day, second-seeded Wake Forest (20-9) of the Atlantic Coast Conference will open the weekend action versus third-seeded Northwestern (18-8) from the Big Ten at 10:00 a.m. The winners of the two matches will meet in a second-round contest at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Boone. The team that wins both of its matches this weekend will advance to play in the NCAA Team Championships in College Station, Texas, May 14-19. Live results for all three matches will be available on

Big Blue fans may purchase passes for both days from the UK Athletic Ticket Office or at the main gate of the Boone Tennis Complex. Two-day passes are $10 for adults or $6 for seniors and children. Single day passes are also available at $6 per adult or $4 for children and seniors. Free spectator parking is available both days to fans in the "R" (residential) lots on either side of the Nutter/Shively Training Facility.

Senior Bruno Agostinelli leads the Cats into the post-season after earning First Team All-SEC honors and bids to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships for the second straight year. The UK captain is currently ranked sixth in the country for singles in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings. Additionally, he and sophomore partner Brad Cox are ranked at No. 22 in the country for doubles. Agostinelli earned his 100th career singles victory during UK's final home stand of the regular season last 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 115th nationally in singles in the latest ITA rankings. He improved to 29-12 overall with a pair of wins at the conference tournament and upped his SEC record to 10-2. Of his 29 wins, 25 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 Pewee Valley, Ky., native earned both Second Team All-SEC and Freshman All-SEC honors last week.

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. UK last hosted the NCAA first and second rounds at Boone in 2005. That year the Wildcats defeated the Horizon League Champion Butler 4-0 before falling to the ACC's 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 UK head coach Dennis 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.

The Wildcats' first round opponent, Cleveland State, went undefeated in the Horizon League and 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 is led by juniors Phil Orno and Ryan Hanning at the top two singles slots and the classmates form the Vikings' top doubles duo boasting a 23-4 record this season. The only common opponent that CSU and UK 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 last month.

In the other first-round match, No. 18 Wake Forest will face No. 42 Northwestern.

The second-seeded Demon Deacons are coming off of a 4-0 loss to top-ranked Virginia in the ACC Tournament Final. Wake Forest senior Cory Parr is ranked 10th nationally in singles. Parr and junior Steven Forman are ranked sixth in the country for doubles.

The third-seeded Wildcats of NU fell to No. 35 Michigan 4-2 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals but have won five of their last seven matches. Alexander Thams leads NU with 25 singles wins at the No. 2 slot and carries a 23-6 record in doubles Freshman Joshua Graves leads the team in singles wins (25) and is second in doubles wins (20), playing as part of the No. 2 doubles pairing throughout the season.

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(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