March 13, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After staying undefeated in league play with wins over highly ranked Florida and South Carolina over the weekend, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team has stayed strong at No. 7 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings, the association announced Tuesday. Individual singles and doubles rankings were also released with Kentucky boasting six ranked singles players and one ranked doubles duo.
Kentucky (15-3, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) has been ranked in the top 10 in the nation all season long after starting the season at No. 7. The Wildcats then rattled off 10 consecutive wins to start the year, moving its ranking up to sixth. After dropping three-consecutive matches to top-10 ranked teams, including two to current No. 2 Ohio State, Kentucky fell to ninth in the rankings before bouncing back up to No. 7 last week.
The Wildcats, who have won five-consecutive matches, have defeated 12 teams that are currently ranked in the ITA top 75, including two top-10 teams and eight top-30 teams. UK has wins over No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 10 Florida, No. 20 Texas A&M, No. 21 Indiana, No. 23 Tulsa, No. 27 LSU, No. 28 North Carolina, No. 29 Notre Dame, No. 43 Arkansas, No. 47 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 48 South Carolina and No. 66 Michigan State.
In all, UK has faced 14 teams that are currently ranked in the ITA top 75. In its 10 regular-season matches left to play, UK will face nine teams that are currently ranking, including No. 3 Georgia, No. 11 Mississippi State, No. 14 Illinois, No. 15 Ole Miss, No. 18 Auburn, No. 24 Tennessee, No. 36 Vanderbilt, No. 39 Baylor and No. 57 Alabama.
Dennis Emery’s squad is coming off an impressive weekend in league play, earning wins over then-No. 9 Florida and then-No. 33 South Carolina. The Wildcats won doubles against South Carolina, improving their record to 10-0 this season when they win the doubles point. UK then won five of the six singles matches against the Gamecocks to grab the 6-1 win.
Against the highly ranked Gators, UK dropped doubles before rallying in singles to post a 4-3 win. Senior Eric Quigley, junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore Tom Jomby all earned straight-set singles wins in the match to give UK a 3-2 lead before sophomore Grant Roberts posted a three-set thriller at No. 6 singles to clinch the match. The win was Kentucky’s 24th over a top-25 team since the start of the 2009 season and improved UK’s home record to 54-9 the past four seasons. UK has won 14-consecutive matches at home, dating back to last season.
The Wildcats are one of only three teams in the nation that have six or more ranked singles players. Current No. 1 and two-time defending NCAA National Champions Southern California and No. 2 Ohio State are the only other teams that can claim the honor. Quigley headlines the rankings for UK, moving up one spot to No. 5, while fellow senior Alex Musialek is ranked 21st and Rossi is 28th. Sophomore Alejandro Gomez moved up eight spots to 99th, while Jomby sits 101st and fellow sophomore Panav Jha is 116th. Quigley and Jha also moved up in doubles to 17th, which is a career-high ranking for the duo.
Quigley is having a fantastic senior season with 14-consecutive wins to start the year in dual matches. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., has been ranked in the top six in the nation in singles all season long, peaking at No. 3.
Musialek and Rossi have also been ranked in singles all year long. Musialek, who hit a career-high ranking of 13th on Jan. 3, has not fallen out of the top 25 this year, while Rossi started the year ranked 95th before spending the last several weeks ranked in the top 30. Rossi hit a career-high ranking of 13th on Feb. 16.
This is the fourth-consecutive week that Jomby and Gomez have been ranked. Jomby peaked at No. 79 on Feb. 16, while Gomez hit a career-high ranking of 87th the same week. This is the first time in two weeks Jha has been ranked in singles.
Kentucky continues a five-match homestand with a doubleheader Monday against Baylor and Murray State. UK will face Baylor at Noon ET, before completing the day with a 6 p.m. showdown with the Racers. Live scores and an interactive live blog will be available for fans online at UKathletics.com. Admission to all men's tennis home matches is free of charge.
For more information on the Kentucky men's tennis team, follow "UKMensTennis" on Twitter or "University of Kentucky men's tennis team" on Facebook.