May 14, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Three members of the sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team, including senior Eric Quigley, junior Anthony Rossi and head coach Dennis Emery, received Intercollegiate Tennis Association Ohio Valley Regional awards, the ITA announced Monday.
Quigley was tabbed the Ohio Valley honoree for the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, while also being named the Ohio Valley Senior Player of the Year. Rossi earned the Ohio Valley Regional Player to Watch honor, while Emery was named the Ohio Valley Regional Coach of the Year. Emery, Quigley and Rossi will be up for the national award in each category.
The honors continue a very successful season for Quigley, who, on top of breaking the school record for singles wins in a season, was named a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and the SEC Player of the Year. Quigley has had a great year with a 49-6 record in singles, including a 26-1 mark in dual matches. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., is ranked third in the nation in singles and has remained in the top 10 in the nation in singles all season long. The senior has earned 17 wins this spring over opponents currently ranked, including seven wins over players currently ranked in the top 15. The co-captain has also been solid in doubles, sitting seventh in the nation with sophomore Panav Jha.
“Quigley is very deserving of both awards,” Emery said. “When you read the criteria for these awards he fits the descriptions exactly. He is the type of person that these awards were made for. There is always very tough competition for these awards and I think Eric has a great chance to win on the national level.”
The Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award recognize outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level. The award, which dates back to 1982, goes to a student-athlete that has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. The Senior Player of the Year Award looks to honor a senior student-athlete who is having an exceptional season.
Rossi has busted onto the scene as one of the best players in the SEC this season after winning the SEC Coaches’ Indoor Singles Championship earlier this year. The junior has a strong record of 37-6 overall in singles and 22-4 in dual matches. The star has been ranked in the ITA singles poll the entire season, peaking at No. 13. Rossi is currently ranked 22nd, which is his eighth consecutive top-30 ranking. The native of Marseille, France, has won seven consecutive matches this season with wins over eight ranked players in dual matches. Rossi and senior Alex Musialek are currently ranked 38th nationally in doubles.
Rossi earns the honor on top of being named a first-team All-SEC selection this season. Rossi was named to the 2012 SEC All-Tournament team earlier this season.
“Rossi has had an exceptional year and he still has a chance in the coming weeks to improve on that,” Emery said. “He is already one of the best players in the nation and there is no question in my mind that next year he will really be an elite player. He should be a guy that has a serious chance to win some national championships next season.”
The ITA Player to Watch Award goes to a player who has an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level the rest of his career. Criteria also includes a player’s sportsmanship and character.
This is the second coach of the year honor for Emery, who earlier this season was named the SEC Coach of the Year. Emery, who is in his 30th season as head coach of the Wildcats, earned the award after leading Kentucky to a banner year in 2012. On top of the school’s first unblemished mark in SEC regular-season play, Emery has led UK to its third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance for only the second time in school history and first since 1987-89. The impressive regular season helped Kentucky post a 20-win season for the third consecutive season and only the 18th time in its 91-year history. The 20-win season was the 13th of Emery’s career, while the legendary coach has now posted three consecutive 20-win seasons three different times during his time at UK. The last time Kentucky posted three straight 20-win seasons was 1987-89.
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