April 21, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After receiving a first round bye, the No. 3-seeded University of Kentucky men’s tennis team will face sixth-seeded Auburn in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday at 9 a.m. ET. The tournament is being hosted by the University of Florida at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
Auburn (15-8) advanced through its first round match with a 4-0 victory over 11th-seeded South Carolina on Thursday. Kentucky (24-7) received a first round bye after securing the No. 3 seed with an impressive 8-3 record in SEC play.
The Wildcats are coming off a thrilling 4-3 win at No. 29 Vanderbilt last week in its regular-season finale. After the Wildcats dropped the doubles point, UK responded in singles against the Commodores, earning four singles wins including a third-set tiebreak win from sophomore Anthony Rossi to clinch the match at No. 5 singles.
UK enters the SEC Tournament having won four consecutive matches and six of its last seven. Kentucky only loss during that stretch was a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to No. 3 Ohio State. The Wildcats enter the weekend with a season-high team ranking of 11th in the nation, including three ranked singles players and two ranked doubles duos.
Junior Eric Quigley, ranked fourth in the nation in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles poll, is having a history-making year for Kentucky with an overall record of 42-10. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., is 20-6 in dual matches this season, including a 7-4 mark in SEC play. Quigley has defeated some of the best players in the nation during the season, taking down four players that are currently ranked in the top 10.
Fellow junior Alex Musialek moved up several spots to No. 50 in the rankings this week. The native of Dax, France, has won two consecutive matches for Kentucky and has defeated seven players currently ranked in the ITA singles rankings. The junior has a team-high nine wins in SEC play this year and has posted 24 wins total.
Senior Alberto Gonzalez is UK’s final ranked singles player entering the tournament after moving back one spot to No. 89. Gonzalez, who has been ranked in five consecutive bi-weekly polls, has 16 wins in dual matches this season and six wins in league play.
UK also boasts two ranked doubles duos in No. 35 Quigley and senior Brad Cox and No. 83 Gonzalez and freshman Tom Jomby. Both doubles tandems have been ranked for four consecutive bi-weekly polls and have 10 wins in dual matches in 2011.
Auburn handed Kentucky one of its three losses in SEC play this season, taking down the Wildcats at Auburn 4-1 on March 26. UK lost the doubles point against the Tigers as UK’s lone point was scored at No. 2 singles when Musialek defeated Tim Hewitt in three sets.
The Tigers enter the match ranked 20th in the nation in the latest ITA poll with two ranked singles players and two ranked doubles tandems. Senior Tim Puetz headlines the AU singles lineup, coming in at No. 16 in the nation, while junior Alex Stamchev is ranked 118th in the nation. In doubles, the Tigers are led by Puetz and freshman Daniel Cochrane, who are ranked 19th, while Stamchev and sophomore Andreas Mies are ranked 69th.
AU has won four of its last five matches, including wins over ranked foes Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss. The Tigers ended the regular season with a 6-5 record in league play. The Wildcats are 1-4 all time against the Tigers in the SEC Tournament with UK’s only win coming in the first round in 2008.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, visit UKathletics.com or follow “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.