March 27, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After six straight wins to start its Southeastern Conference schedule, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team earned its 13th consecutive top-10 ranking this week, sitting ninth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings, which were announced Tuesday.
The top-10 ranking for Kentucky (18-4, 6-0 SEC) marks the 13th consecutive for the Wildcats dating back to last season. UK was ranked in the top 10 the last three weeks of the 2011 season, while head coach Dennis Emery and Co. have been ranked ninth or higher in every team ranking this season, including a season-best ranking of sixth on Feb. 6.
The Wildcats have posted the high rankings after defeating some of the best teams in the nation this season. Kentucky has played 17 matches this spring against teams currently ranked in the top 70 in the nation, including a 6-3 mark against top 25 teams. So far this spring, UK has wins over No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 11 Florida, No. 15 Auburn, No. 18 Tulsa, No. 23 Indiana, No. 25 Texas A&M, No. 27 LSU, No. 33 North Carolina State, No. 39 Arkansas, No. 40 South Carolina, No. 41 Notre Dame, No. 60 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 66 Alabama.
UK will compete against stiff competition over the next three weeks as it faces five top-16 teams in its final six matches. The Wildcats will begin that difficult stretch this weekend at No. 3 Georgia and No. 16 Tennessee before concluding the season with four straight home matches against No. 10 Mississippi State, No. 14 Ole Miss, No. 17 Illinois and No. 38 Vanderbilt. Kentucky has earned an impressive total of 25 wins against top-25 teams since the start of the 2009 season.
Kentucky is currently tied atop the SEC standings with top-three ranked Georgia as both teams are 6-0 in league play. The SEC is very well represented in the team rankings with all 12 league schools ranked, including seven teams in the top 16 and 11 in the top 40.
UK is coming off a 2-0 weekend in league play where it defeated Auburn and Alabama. The Wildcats started the weekend with a dominating 4-0 win over highly ranked Auburn in Lexington before concluding the split weekend with a 4-1 road win at Alabama. Kentucky won the doubles point in both matches, taking its record this season to 12-0 when it wins the doubles point. Senior Eric Quigley and junior Anthony Rossi each earned two singles wins over the weekend, while senior Alex Musialek and sophomore Tom Jomby went 1-0 in singles.
The ITA also announced singles and doubles rankings Tuesday, with Kentucky being well represented in both. A total of five Wildcats are ranked in singles, including No. 7 Quigley, No. 18 Musialek, No. 22 Rossi, No. 91 Jomby and No. 117 Panav Jha. Quigley has been ranked in the top 10 in the nation in singles all season long, while Musialek and Rossi have both reached a career-high singles ranking this season. Quigley and Jha stayed 17th in the nation in doubles.
UK will look to continue its success in SEC play this weekend against two quality opponents in Georgia (16-1, 6-0 SEC) and Tennessee (11-9, 3-3 SEC). UK and UGA will square off in Athens, Ga., on Friday at 5 p.m. ET, while the Wildcats and Volunteers will meet up in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Live scores from both matches can be found at UKathletics.com.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter or “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.