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Colossal Collisions for No. 4 Men's Tennis With No. 9 Tennessee, No. 6 UGA
Friday, 03/22/2013
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University of Kentucky Team Page

LEXINGTON, Ky. - After keeping pace in the hunt for an Southeastern Conference Championship last weekend on the road in Mississippi, and by knocking off No. 4 Ole Miss and No. 13 Mississippi State, the University of Kentucky men's tennis team will look to keep its positive momentum as they welcome in No. 9 Tennessee and No. 6 Georgia for another weekend of SEC tennis.

"This is a big weekend for us to achieve our goals," UK head coach Cedirc Kauffmann said. "The boys are going to have to be ready to battle against two top-10 teams. We anticipate a big turnout from the Big Blue Nation this weekend as we know a big crowd makes a big difference in these matches."

UK ascended to the No. 4 ranking in the nation this week after picking up two wins last weekend, which is a program-best ranking since the 2002 season when UK also was ranked fourth at one point during the season. Kentucky had been as high as No. 5 in the polls prior to this week, as the Wildcats have played one of the toughest schedules in the nation to this point in the season. Kentucky has played 13 matches with teams that comprise the ITA top 30, all while knocking off nine of those teams. Included in that record, the Wildcats hold an impressive 4-1 record against top-10 teams.

The Southeastern Conference also has an impressive stranglehold on the top of the national standings, as seven of the top-14 teams are in the SEC. Kentucky is the highest-ranked team from the conference. Included in the top 14 are Kentucky (4th), Georgia (6th), Ole Miss (7th), Tennessee (9th), Mississippi State (12th), Vanderbilt (13th) and Texas A&M (14th). It is by far the most teams of any conference in the top 15 of the standings.

Kentucky will first take on No. 9 Tennessee on Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. ET inside the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington. The Vols are coming into the weekend with a 15-6 overall record, including a 2-3 mark inside SEC play. UT, along with Georgia and Kentucky were both qualifiers for the 2013 Men's National Indoor Championships in Seattle, Wash. The Vols are coming off a tough 4-3 match with Florida on Sunday afternoon in Knoxville. UT has won three of their last five matches, including wins over Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Tennessee's Makelis Lieibtis is the highest-ranked singles player in the SEC at No. 6 and he will play number one singles for UT. Hunter Reese (29) and Brandon Fickey (115) are also ranked for the Vols. Lieibtis and Reese are ranked 17th in the country in doubles play and is the top-ranked of six ranked duos for the Vols in doubles.

Georgia will pay visit to Lexington on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET as the Bulldogs and Wildcats will do battle for the second time this season. The pair met back on Feb. 18 in Seattle in the final round of the ITA National Indoor Championships. In that match, UK powered to victory behind winning four of the five completed singles matches, with Anthony Rossi, Tom Jomby, Kevin Lai and Grant Roberts all collecting wins in singles. Grant Roberts clinched the win on court five with a thrilling 7-2 win in the tiebreaker.

UGA has four singles players ranked in the ITA rankings topped out by KU Singh, who sits seventh overall in the nation. In addition Nathan Pasha (39), Ben Wagland (71) and Hernus Pieters (101) are all ranked in singles for the Dawgs. Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux are the top-ranked pair for UGA as they check in 39th nationally.

Georgia steps into the weekend as winners of six of their last seven matches, including wins over Mississippi State, Florida and Tennessee. The only blemish in the last seven matches for the Dawgs was a tight 4-3 loss on the road in Oxford to Ole Miss. Georgia begins the weekend on the road in Nashville to face off against Vanderbilt on Friday afternoon.

Georgia and Kentucky are both adjoined with Vanderbilt as part of the three-way tie for the SEC lead overall (and the Eastern Division) with a 4-1 conference record. Every other team in the conference has two or more losses.

Anthony Rossi and Tom Jomby are the two ranked singles players for Kentucky with Rossi solitifying the No. 31 position, and Jomby just one line beneath him at No. 32. Jomby and doubles partner Kevin Lai are 23rd nationally for UK.

 

Match Central:

Friday, March 22, 2013

No. 9 Tennessee at No. 4 Kentucky - 2:00 p.m. ET

Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center, Lexington, Ky.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

No. 6 Georgia at No. 4 Kentucky - 1:00 p.m. ET

Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center, Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky:

Record: 16-4 (4-1 SEC)

Head Coach: Cedric Kauffmann (1st season)

Ranking: 4

Tennessee:

Record: 15-6 (2-3 SEC)

Head Coach: Sam Winterbotham (7th season)

Ranking: 9

Georgia:

Record: 12-4 (4-1 SEC)

Head Coach: Manual Diaz (25th season)

Ranking: 6

For continuing coverage of UK men's tennis, log on to UKathletics.com.


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