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Men's Tennis Faces Southern California in Sweet 16 of NCAA Championships

Sophomore Eric Quigley

Sophomore Eric Quigley

UPDATE: Inclement weather in Athens, Ga., has moved this morning's UK men's tennis match with Southern California to the Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Ga. Start time is 10:30 a.m. EST. The Sweet 16 matchup in the NCAA Championship was originally scheduled for 9 a.m. EST on the campus of the University of Georgia.

May 21, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 12 seed University of Kentucky men's tennis team faces No. 5 seed and defending national champion Southern California in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., on Friday at 9 a.m. ET.

The UK-USC winner plays the victor of the Wisconsin (21-7) vs. Ohio State (34-1) match in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The national semifinal matches start Monday at 4 p.m. ET with the national championship match beginning Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. The semifinals and finals will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Kentucky (25-8) is enjoying its winningest season in school history after defeating Cleveland State 4-0 and No. 24 Georgia Tech 4-1 in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships last weekend in Lexington, Ky. The match against the Yellow Jackets was played indoors due to inclement weather.

The Wildcats have qualified for the NCAA Championships 21 times under 28th-year head coach Dennis Emery, including 16 of the last 17 years. Kentucky is making its first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2002 and has advanced as far as the quarterfinals three times (1988, 1992 and 2002).

"Our guys are playing very well," Emery said. "We played one of our best matches of the year - in both singles and doubles - against Georgia Tech, so we have to feel really good about that."

The 11th-ranked Wildcats feature a pair of ranked singles players and doubles pairs. Sophomores Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek headline Kentucky's singles players.

Quigley has ranked among the nation's top 15 players all season and enters the Sweet 16 having won 11 of 12 matches since the start of April. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky. earned his second win against a top-five opponent this spring when he toppled fourth-ranked Guillermo Gomez of Georgia Tech 6-3, 6-4 in the second round. Sunday's victory moved Quigley's singles record to 21-6 this spring, including 14 wins against ranked opponents.


 

 

Musialek has blossomed into a solid contributor at No.2 singles, registering a 20-7 record this season. Ranked No. 49 in the nation, the France native earned the clinching victory against Georgia Tech in a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 come-from-behind win over No. 85 Kevin King. Musialek has posted singles wins in 10 of his last 12 completed matches.

Earning the doubles point has proved to be an important weapon in the Kentucky attack. The Wildcats have claimed the doubles point in 20 of its 33 matches (61 percent), leading to 15 wins this season. UK is led at No. 1 doubles by Quigley and junior Brad Cox of Duluth, Ga. The duo has been ranked among the top 25 pairs all season, compiling a 16-8 mark with six wins over tandems currently ranked in the top 60. Junior Alberto Gonzalez (Bradenton, Fla.) and senior Alex Lambropoulos (Lake Forest, Ill.) are ranked at No. 76 with an 11-8 mark for the year. UK's No. 2 doubles duo went 7-2 in the Southeastern Conference.

Southern Cal (21-3) defeated Marist 4-0 and No. 28 Fresno State 4-1 last weekend in Los Angeles to advance to Athens. Co-champions of the Pacific-10 conference, the Trojans have won 14 of their last 16 matches. Robert Farah and Steve Johnson highlight USC's lineup. Farah ranks ninth in the nation with a 19-2 dual-match record and 15-1 mark at No. 1 singles. Johnson ranks third in the country with a 17-3 dual-match record and 10-2 slate at No. 2 singles. The duo also serves as the Trojans No. 1 doubles team, ranking second in the nation with a 13-1 mark.

"USC won the event last year in a pretty convincing fashion," Emery said. "They return everyone but their No. 4 singles player from last year's team. They lost a couple of matches early in the season when they weren't able to play their full lineup or they very well could be undefeated right now. They are clearly one of the favorites to win it all.

"For our guys to win, it's going to require a similar-type effort as it did when we defeated Virginia here in February. Our guys are very confident. I think they feel like if they can go in and keep this match close that we can win it."

Live stats for Kentucky's matches at the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships are available at UKAthletics.com.

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