March 9, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 11 University of Kentucky men’s tennis looks to stay perfect in Southeastern Conference play when it opens up its SEC home schedule with No. 3 Tennessee and No. 9 Georgia at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex this weekend.
Kentucky (13-3, 2-0 SEC) will host Tennessee (12-1, 2-0 SEC) in its SEC home opener Friday at 2 p.m. ET before wrapping up the weekend with Georgia (10-3, 2-0 SEC) on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Both teams advanced to the NCAA Championships Final Four last season. Live scores and a live blog will be available for both matches on UKathletics.com.
“Obviously, this is a very big weekend not only for us but for Tennessee and Georgia as well,” said UK head coach Dennis Emery. “There are currently four undefeated teams in conference play in us, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee so there is no question the importance of this weekend. The team that performs the best this weekend will be in good shape moving forward in SEC play.”
The Wildcats opened SEC play last weekend by posting its first win over Ole Miss in Oxford since the 1988 season. Ole Miss has been nearly unbeatable at home since the year 2000, earning a 125-12 record. The Wildcats continued its momentum Sunday by defeating No. 43 Mississippi State 6-1 behind claiming the doubles point and winning five singles matches.
UK received several good performances throughout the weekend, getting two singles wins each from senior Alberto Gonzalez, juniors Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek, and sophomore Anthony Rossi. Musialek defeated two ranked players on the weekend, taking down No. 92 Artem Ilyushin and No. 101 Tucker Vorster. Kentucky also won the doubles point in both matches, improving its record to 8-0 this season when they win the doubles point.
Kentucky is represented well in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings with three players ranked in singles. Quigley leads the Wildcats in the rankings, coming in at No. 5 in the nation, while Musialek is 57th and Gonzalez is 86th.
The Volunteers enter the weekend as the third best team in the nation and are led by Rhyne Williams and John-Patrick Smith, who have each been ranked No. 1 in the nation so far this season. Williams is currently the highest ranked player on the Vols squad, coming in at No. 3 while Smith is ranked 13th. UT has three other players ranked in the top 125 in No. 35 Tennys Sandgren, No. 41 Matteo Fago and No. 113 Boris Conkic. The Vols also have the No. 1 ranked doubles team in the nation in Conkic and Smith, while four other doubles tandems are ranked in the top 80 in the nation for UT.
Georgia also boasts some top talent as the Bulldogs enter the weekend ranked No. 9 in the nation, moving up three spots from last week’s rankings. UGA ranks three players in the top 40 in the nation, led by No. 15 Wil Spencer and No. 24 Javier Garrapiz. Bulldog junior Sadio Doumbia is ranked 37th in the nation. Georgia also has three ranked doubles team in No. 6 Hernus Pieters and Garrapiz, No. 36 Doumbia and Taboada and No. 79 Spencer and Bernstein.
So far this season, Kentucky is 8-0 at home, scoring wins over then-No. 22 Wake Forest, then-No. 38 Miami (Fla.) and then-No. 42 Boise State. In all, the Wildcats are an impressive 36-6 at home since the start of the 2009 season.
“We really need a nice crowd out there this weekend,” Emery said. “Our guys always get more inspired in front of a big, supportive crowd. Tennessee and Georgia are some of the best teams in the country so I am confident there will be some quality tennis played this weekend.”
Admission to both matches is free and parking is available parking structure seven, which is located right next to the Bonne Tennis Complex. The Bonne Tennis Complex is located at the corner for Cooper Drive and Sports Center Drive across from Commonwealth Stadium.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, visit UKathletics.com or follow “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.