LEXINGTON, Ky. – The eighth-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team will continue its three-match road trip to end the regular season this weekend, as the Wildcats will travel to No. 17 Florida for a Friday afternoon match up, followed by a showdown with No. 22 South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday afternoon.
Kentucky is currently sitting in a logjam near the top of the SEC standings as four teams (UK, UT, VU and OM) are all 6-4 in conference play and are all vying for the number two seed in the conference tournament to be held next week. Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Auburn are just one game back of the opening cluster as those teams are 5-5 in conference play.
Junior Tom Jomby and freshman Kevin Lai have ascended to No. 8 in the national Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, it was announced in the polls on Tuesday afternoon. The ranking is a season-high for the duo and marks the first time a doubles opponent has been ranked in the top-10 this season.
Jomby and Lai currently sit at 12-7 on the year with some monumental wins that have led to the Wildcats clinching the all-important doubles point on multiple occasions. Jomby and Lai picked up one of their biggest wins of the season in conference action two weekends ago as they defeated then-No. 5 and current-No. 3 Andreas Mies/Daniel Cochrane of Auburn 8-6 on court one.
Jomby and Lai have played number one doubles every Southeastern Conference match this season and have racked up a 5-4 record inside SEC play. The SEC currently has a stranglehold atop the doubles rankings, as six of the top nine doubles teams in the country are ranked in the top nine, and all of them coming from different teams with Auburn, Ole Miss, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas A&M all represented.
In singles rankings, two players represent UK, as Anthony Rossi will enter the weekend ranked No. 19 and Jomby currently sits two slots behind at No. 21. Both Rossi and Jomby have been ranked in every rankings poll this calendar season. This also holds true for Jomby and Lai in doubles.
In team rankings, Kentucky stayed solidly in the top-10 as the Wildcats checked in at No. 8 for the second consecutive week. Of the current composition of the top-15 teams in the nation, UK has played 12 matches against those teams, with five wins in those matches. Kentucky’s top wins of the season are against No. 3 Georgia and No. 6 Ole Miss, both matches away from the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington.
The No. 8 ranking is significant as the Wildcats head down the stretch with the top-16 teams at the end of the season getting to host an NCAA Tournament Regional at their home facility.
Florida enters the weekend No. 17 in the country and has won three of their last four matches. The Gators last played on Wednesday afternoon as they blanked Bethune Cookman 7-0 in Gainesville. Florida has five SEC losses on the season and has collected wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M in conference action. UF was also a team that competed in Seattle for the National Indoor Team Championships.
South Carolina, currently ranked No. 22 nationally and 15-9 overall with a 5-5 mark within SEC play. South Carolina is coming off a weekend sweep by the Mississippi schools on Friday and Sunday, but have recorded quality SEC wins over Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, LSU and Auburn.
By the end of the season, UK will have played an incredible 16 matches against the current top-25.
The SEC Tournament will be held April 17-21 in Oxford, Miss., with the University of Mississippi Rebels serving as hosts for the 2013 championships.
For more information, log onto UKathletics.com.