Men's Tennis Finishes Season at No. 15
May 28, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky men's tennis team concluded the season at No. 15 in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team rankings, achieving its best year-end ranking since 2005 and completing its 12th top-15 finish under the direction of Wildcat head coach Dennis Emery.
Earlier this month, Kentucky defeated Cleveland State 4-0 in an NCAA Tournament first-round match at UK's Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Complex. In the second round, the Cats fell to No. 17 Wake Forest 4-2 to conclude the school's 20th NCAA appearance. Kentucky finished the season with an 18-11 overall record and a 6-5 ledger in the Southeastern Conference.
The Wildcats attained a season-high ranking of No. 11 at the end of the regular season - the program's best standing since May 2005. UK earned marquee wins this season over No. 8 Tennessee both at home and at UT as well as road victories at No. 19 Miami and No. 21 Auburn.
UK played one of the toughest schedules in the nation again this season, with eight matches against teams ranked in the final top 10. The Wildcats battled a total of 23 ranked teams overall this year compiling a record of 12-11. Five of those wins were against teams ranked in the top 30.
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 Cats were also represented in the NCAA Men's Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships this month at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. Senior Bruno Agostinelli participated in both championship tournaments while sophomore Brad Cox joined Agostinelli on the doubles court.
Agostinelli became the 15th Wildcat in school history to earn All-America honors after advancing to the NCAA Singles quarterfinals. After three consecutive singles wins to advance to the elite eight, Agostinelli fell to eventual finalist Steven Moneke of Ohio State 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 in a quarterfinal match. Playing in his second consecutive NCAA Singles Championship, Agostinelli became the fourth Kentucky player to advance to the quarterfinals since 2000.
To open the 2009 singles tourney, Agostinelli played on his opponent's home court but only surrendered four games to Texas A&M's Will Spencer during a 6-1, 6-3, first-round match win. He then swept second-round opponent Johnny Parkes of New Mexico in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, to advance to the round of 16. During his sweet 16 match, Agostinelli defeated Steve Johnson of USC 6-4, 6-1, to move on to his quarterfinal match against Moneke.
Agostinelli concluded the year with a 37-14 overall record during his senior season. The Wildcat captain was the last of the top eight seeds to lose on the men's side. Agostinelli battled 25 other NCAA selections 32 times this season while recording a solid 18-14 record.
The Niagara Falls, Canada, native also advanced to the NCAA Men's Tennis Doubles Championships for the second straight year. In the first round, Agostinelli and Cox came up short against the No. 5-8 seeds from Wake Forest of Cory Parr and Steven Forman, 6-3, 7-6. Agostinelli and Cox ended their collegiate doubles team career with a 19-16 overall record this season.
As a result of his impressive season, Agostinelli was named the Southeast Region Senior Player of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Earlier in the month he earned first-team All-SEC honors. Agostinelli recorded his 100th career singles victory during UK's final home stand of the regular season last month. The Wildcat notched a win last fall over then-No.1 Oleksandr Nedovyesov of Oklahoma State and posted four straight wins against 2008 NCAA Singles Finalist John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee this season.
Freshman Eric Quigley was nationally ranked most of the season in the ITA singles rankings. He finished his initial season as a Wildcat with a 31-12 overall record including a pair of NCAA tournament wins and an SEC record of 10-2. Of his 31 wins, 26 were in straight sets. Quigley won seven of his final nine matches with two victories over ranked foes. The Pewee Valley, Ky., native earned both second-team All-SEC and All-SEC Freshman honors earlier this month.
Next season, the Cats lose the services of Agostinelli and senior Shane Collins. However, UK returns five of its top players in singles as well two complete doubles teams in addition to Cox, a member of the No. 1 doubles team.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the latest men's tennis news.