May 30, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After setting a new school record for wins in a season and securing the school’s fourth appearance in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships, the University of Kentucky men’s tennis team finished the 2011 season ranked eighth in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association final rankings, the association released Monday.
The No. 8 ranking for Kentucky is a season high and its best mark since UK hit the list at No. 6 last season. The top-10 final ranking is the first for the Wildcats since it also finished eighth in 2002. Kentucky never fell out of the top 15 in the ITA rankings during the season. UK’s highest final ranking in school history was a No. 5 ranking in 1997.
Kentucky (29-9) has had a memorable run during the 2011 season, breaking several school records and helping rewrite the UK record books. The Wildcats’ 29 wins set a school record for wins in a season, shattering the previous school record of 25, which was set by the 2010 team.
During the season, UK earned several historic wins, including impressive road wins at Ole Miss and Florida. When UK defeated the Rebels 5-2 on March 4, it marked the first time since 1988 that the Wildcats had beat the Rebels with Ole Miss being nearly unbeatable at home since 2000, earning a 125-12 record. UK’s win at Florida was also historic as it gave the Wildcats their first regular-season win over the Gators in Gainesville, Fla., since 1988. It was also UK’s first win over Florida, home or away, since 2002.
The wins would give UK confidence heading into the Southeastern Conference Tournament, where it took down top-20 ranked Auburn and then-No. 5 Georgia to advance to the SEC Tournament Final for only the second time in school history and the first since the 1992 season. UK fell in the final to the host Florida Gators.
On top of making it to the National Indoor Championships, where UK went 2-1 with wins over No. 13 Texas Tech and No. 29 Washington, the Wildcats were chose to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season. UK took down Cleveland State in the opening round and then defeated in-state rival Louisville in the second round to improve its record against the Cardinals to 42-3-1 all time. The win also punched UK’s ticket to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year, marking the first time UK had advanced to consecutive Sweet 16s in over 19 years.
In the round of 16, UK revenged the SEC Tournament loss to Florida with a 4-2 win over the Gators to advance the Wildcats to the school’s fourth ever appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals and its first since 2002. UK would fall in the quarterfinals to eventual and three-time defending national champion Southern California.
Joining Kentucky in the top 10 of the ITA final rankings are No. 1 USC, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Tennessee and No. 5 Georgia. Baylor and Stanford are sixth and seventh, respectively, while Florida is ranked ninth and Texas A&M 10th.
The ITA will announce the final individual rankings for singles and doubles on June 8.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, visit UKathletics.com or follow “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.