Feb. 17, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind a dominating performance in both doubles and singles action, the No. 6 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team posted an impressive 4-0 victory over No. 11 Texas A&M on Friday, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men’s Team Indoor Championships at the Boar’s Head Sport Club in Charlottesville, Va.
Kentucky (10-0) will face No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET in the quarterfinal matchup. The two schools have met annually since 2009 with the Buckeyes earning 5-2 wins in both 2009 and 2010. Last year, then-No. 12 Kentucky fell in a dual match to third-ranked Ohio State 4-3 in Lexington. The all-time series between the two schools is tied 11-11, dating back to the first meeting in 1933.
The Wildcats started the match against Texas A&M (5-3) by claiming the doubles point with two wins over ranked tandems. UK’s top doubles duo of senior Eric Quigley and sophomore Panav Jha, who are ranked 55th in the nation in doubles, started the winning with a 8-6 victory over No. 55 Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore. Kentucky would clinch the doubles point at court two, when sophomore Tom Jomby and junior Anthony Rossi took down No. 36 John Lewis and Colin Hoover in extra frames 9-7. Play at No. 3 doubles was in a tiebreaker when UK clinched the doubles point.
“The doubles point was the key to the match,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “We have struggled at times this season in doubles, dropping some tight doubles points, so it was big for us to win a tight doubles point today. That really gave us a shot of adrenaline. I thought that was the best doubles we have played all year.”
UK continued to perform well in singles action, winning first sets on four of the six courts. Sophomore Alejandro Gomez, who is ranked a career-best 87th in the nation in singles, gave UK a 2-0 lead in the match with a dominating 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 5 singles over Lewis. A few moments later, fellow sophomore No. 79 Jomby put Kentucky up 3-0 with a straight-sets 6-4, 6-3 win over Jeremy Efferding at No. 4 singles. Rossi, who is ranked a career-best 13th in the nation in singles, clinched the decisive fourth point for Kentucky when he defeated Ore 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3 singles.
Play on the other three singles courts was halted when Rossi clinched the match. Quigley, who is ranked sixth in nation in singles, was in a decisive third set at No. 1 singles with No. 15 Alexis Klegou, while No. 20 Alex Musialek had won his first set and was up 3-2 in the second over Hoover. Texas A&M led on court six as Withrow had taken the first set from Jha 6-4.
“When we play that well in singles, especially at courts four and five, we are very difficult to beat,” Emery said. “It really puts the pressure on their guys at 1-3 to have to beat our guys, who are all top 20 players.”
Kentucky earned its berth into the event with a victory over No. 22 Tulsa in the ITA Kickoff Weekend. This is the third straight year UK has played in the National Indoor Championships. Last year, UK lost to No. 5 Texas in the opening round before defeating top-15 ranked Texas Tech and top-30 ranked Washington in the consolation bracket. In 2010, Kentucky lost to No. 3 UCLA in the first round before taking down No. 13 Illinois in the second round. UK would finish the event with a loss to top-10 ranked Stanford.
On Tuesday, the ITA announced the latest edition of singles and doubles rankings with UK represented well. Kentucky is one of only two schools in the nation to have six singles players ranked with the other Southern California, who is ranked first in the nation. Three UK players are ranked in the top 20 in the nation in singles, marking the first time in school history the Wildcats have accomplished that feat.
Texas A&M (5-3) entered the weekend ranked 11th in the nation having already taken down one SEC foe this season in No. 14 Mississippi State. A&M has also defeated No. 14 Texas, No. 67 Purdue, Louisiana-Lafayette and UT-San Antonio. Kentucky is now 1-2 all-time against Texas A&M dating back to the two school’s first meeting in 1983.
The 2012 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship, the signature indoor team tournament of the college tennis season, features 16 of the top men's programs in the nation. Joining UK at the event are each of the top-14 teams in No. 1 USC, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Baylor, No. 8 UCLA, No. 9 Stanford, No. 10 Duke, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 13 California and No. 14 Texas. No. 16 Auburn has the 15th seed in the event, while No. 20 Tennessee is the 16th seed.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter or “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.
ITA Men’s National Men’s Team Indoor Championships Round of 16
Boar’s Head Sports Club – Charlottesville, Va.
Friday, February 17, 2012
1 – No. 6 Eric Quigley (UK) vs. No. 15 Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) 5-7, 6-1, 0-0 DNF
2 – No. 20 Alex Musialek (UK) vs. Colin Hoover (Texas A&M) 7-6, 3-2 DNF
3 – No. 13 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. Junior Ore (Texas A&M) 6-4, 6-3
4 – No. 79 Tom Jomby (UK) def. Jeremy Efferding (Texas A&M) 6-4, 6-3
5 – No. 87 Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. John Lewis (Texas A&M) 6-0, 6-2
6 – No. 119 Panav Jha (UK) vs. Jackson Withrow (Texas A&M) 4-6, 4-3
1 – No. 48 Eric Quigley/Panav Jha (UK) def. No. 55 Jackson Withrow/Junior Ore (Texas A&M) 8-6
2 – Tom Jomby/Anthony Rossi (UK) def. No. 36 John Lewis/Colin Hoover (Texas A&M) 9-7
3 – Alex Musialek/Alejandro Gomez (UK) vs. Jordan Szabo/Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) 8-8 DNF
Order of Finish:
Singles – 5, 4, 3*
Doubles – 1, 2*