April 24, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For the 17th consecutive week dating back to last season, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team has found itself ranked in the top 10 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings. Kentucky (26-5) is ranked sixth again in this week’s poll for the second-consecutive week, the association announced Tuesday.
The No. 6 ranking ties the highest of the season for the Wildcats, who have spent a total of three weeks at the position prior to Tuesday’s poll. Kentucky started the season seventh in the nation before winning 10 consecutive matches to start the year and jump to No. 6. UK was also ranked sixth on March 27 before falling one spot to seventh on April 10.
Dennis Emery’s Wildcats have now been ranked sixth in the nation or higher in two of the last three seasons. UK was ranked sixth in the nation in 2010 after its historic win over No. 2 Virginia. Prior to the 2010 season, Kentucky had not earned a ranking of sixth or higher since the 2002 campaign.
The Wildcats are the second-highest ranked team in the Southeastern Conference behind second-ranked Georgia. All told, all 12 SEC teams are ranked in the top 55, while eight teams are in the top 21, including No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 9 Mississippi State, No. 11 Florida, No. 13 Ole Miss, No. 15 Auburn, No. 16 Tennessee and No. 21 LSU.
Kentucky has fared very well against teams that currently make up the ITA rankings, posting an overall 23-5 record against ranked teams. More specifically, UK is 11-4 against teams currently ranked in the top 25, including three wins over teams in the top 10. Since the start of the 2009 season, Kentucky has won an impressive total of 31 matches against top 25 foes.
Individually, UK is very well represented in both the ITA singles and doubles rankings. Six UK players are in the singles rankings, including three in the top 25 in third-ranked Eric Quigley, 15th-ranked Alex Musialek and 21st-ranked Anthony Rossi. The Wildcats are one of only two teams in the nation that have three players ranked in the top 25, joining top-ranked and two-time defending NCAA Champion Southern California as the two schools that can claim that honor.
Quigley’s top-three ranking is the third consecutive and the fourth of the season for the sensational senior. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., is having a great season with a 47-6 overall record, including a 24-1 post in dual matches. Quigley’s 47 wins this season sets the new school record for singles wins in a season, which he tied last season with 45. The senior is coming off a strong week of action where he defeated No. 11 Wil Spencer of Georgia and No. 15 Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss.
Fellow senior Musialek remained in the top 15 for the third consecutive week as he has not fallen out of the top 25 of the singles rankings once this season. The native of Dax, France is 28-10 overall this season and 106-47 for his career. The senior went an impressive 7-3 against SEC foes during the regular season, while he currently is riding a hot streak of winning seven of his last eight matches that ended in a decision.
Rossi concludes the top 25 rankings for Kentucky at No. 21, which is the fourth consecutive top-25 ranking for the junior. Rossi, who was named to the SEC All-Tournament team this past weekend, is 36-6 this season and 21-4 in dual matches. The native of Marseille, France, won his long singles match that ended in a decision at the SEC Tournament, while he was serving with match point against No. 29 Sadio Doumbia of Georgia in the finals.
Sophomores Tom Jomby, Panav Jha and Alejandro Gomez complete the rankings for Kentucky at No. 80, No. 112 and No. 119, respectively. Jomby, who was also named to the SEC All-Tournament team, has been ranked in every singles rankings this spring, while Jha and Gomez have been in every ranking but one. Jomby is 18-6 in dual matches this spring, while Jha is 5-7 and Gomez is 18-8.
For the third consecutive week, UK has two ranked doubles tandems, including Quigley and Jha who earn their first career top-10 ranking at No. 8. Quigley and Jha are 12-10 this season in dual matches and 17-12 overall this season. The duo performed well last weekend at the SEC Tournament, winning both doubles matches that ended in a decision, including a victory over No. 21 Scholtz and Lutjen of Ole Miss.
UK is fresh off a strong showing in the SEC Tournament, advancing to the finals of the event for the second consecutive season. The Wildcats will learn if it has earned an at-large selection in the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, May 1. The 64-team field will be announced live on NCAA.com at 5:30 p.m. ET.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter or like “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.