No. 6 Men’s Tennis Faces No. 11 Stanford in Sweet 16
Kentucky men’s tennis team prepares for third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For
the third time in as many seasons, the sixth-ranked University of
Kentucky men’s tennis team will compete in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
when it travels to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., to
face No. 11 Stanford on Friday at 4 p.m. ET. The Wildcats and Cardinal
will play on the McWhorter Stadium Courts.
“We are really
excited to go down to Athens and play in the Sweet 16,” UK head coach
Dennis Emery said. “Georgia’s venue is one of the best in all of
college tennis and our guys really enjoy going down there and playing
in that environment. Hopefully we can have a good few days of practice
to get focused and ready to go.”
Kentucky (28-5) enters
the round of 16 after a pair of 4-0 wins over Radford and No. 26
Indiana in the first and second rounds last weekend in Lexington.
Stanford (19-8) defeated Sacramento State and No. 39 Santa Clara to
punch its ticket to the round of 16 for the fourth consecutive season.
Kentucky is the sixth overall seed in this year’s tournament, while
Stanford is the No. 11 seed.
Friday’s showdown will be the
second meeting of the season between Kentucky and Stanford after the
two schools met in the National Indoor Team Championships in
Charlottesville, Va., back in February. The Cardinal would defeat
Kentucky 4-1 in the match with UK junior Anthony Rossi earning the lone
Wildcats’ point at No. 3 singles.
“Stanford is an
excellent team and that program is very rich in tradition,” Emery said.
“They are one of the four teams that beat us this season and we felt it
was a match that we could have won. I don’t think I did a good enough
job of preparing our guys for that match. We are excited about going
down there and getting a chance to compete against them again.”
Wildcats enter the round of 16 with six ranked singles players and two
ranked doubles duos in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association
rankings. Senior Eric Quigley headlines the rankings at No. 3 in the
nation singles, while fellow senior Alex Musialek is 15th and Rossi
rounds out the top 25 at No. 22. Sophomore Tom Jomby is ranked 80th in
the nation in singles, followed No. 110 Alejandro Gomez and No. 111
Panav Jha. Quigley and Jha led UK in doubles with a No. 7 ranking,
while Musialek and Rossi are ranked 38th.
As a team,
Kentucky has been ranked in the top 10 in the nation all season long,
riding a streak of 18 consecutive top-10 rankings. The Wildcats are
currently sixth in the nation, which ties a season-high mark. UK has
held on to the No. 6 ranking for three consecutive weeks after starting
the season ranked seventh.
This is the 23rd appearance for
Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, holding an all-time record of 21-22 in
the event. UK, which is 7-2 in the tournament since the 2010 season, is
making its third consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16 for only the
second time in school history. The Wildcats last advanced to three
straight Sweet 16s in 1987-89. Last year, UK had one of the best runs
in the tournament in school history, defeating Florida to advance to
the Elite Eight for only the fourth time program history.
is well represented in the ITA singles and doubles rankings, boasting
No. 29 Ryan Thacher and No. 36 Bradley Klahn. Thacher and Klahn are
also ranked fourth in the nation together in doubles, while John
Morrissey and Thacher are 59th in doubles. Klahn was the 2010 NCAA
Singles Champion, while he and Thacher made it to the NCAA Doubles
Championship match last season.
Kentucky has fared well
against the best teams in the nation this season, posting a 23-5 record
against currently ranked teams. More specifically, UK is 11-5 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.