[Moderated by Matt Jones]
UK won last night!!! In basketball! It was not a dream planted in your mind via Inception.
The UK Men’s Tennis team had a big weekend in Seattle at the ITA Championships. In the first match, the Cats topped No. 10 Mississippi State 4-0, sweeping on the doubles and singles courts. Junior Tom Jomby, the 29th ranked player in ITA, rolled over his opponent, Malte Stroppe, 6-2, 6-0.
After advancing to the quarterfinals, UK ran up against the No. 2 ranked Southern Cal team to lose 4-1. After losing the doubles point on courts one and two, the Cats were in a hole early against a top notch opponent (never a good thing). The point of the match for the Cats was won by Anthony Rossi on the first court. In one of the best wins of his career, No. 93 Rossi took down the No. 12 Raymond Sarmiento of USC 6-4, 6-3 after breaking in three consecutive games. He went on to win the second set on after serving for the match at 5-4 and fighting off three break points.
Coach Kauffmann was disappointed but took consolation in the potential the team showed against USC:
You have to give a lot of credit to Southern Cal, I thought they played really well. They took the doubles point from us, and so we knew we would have to do a good job of getting the momentum back on all six courts very quickly, and we didn’t do that. We gave up too many quick sets, which made it tough on us coming from behind. Having said that, we are a lot closer to being the team we know we can be and we still have a lot of work ahead of us when we return home.
UK wrapped up the weekend with the consolation match against No. 6 Georgia, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win 4-2. “This was a great, gutsy performance by my boys today,” Coach Kauffmann said. “We bounced back really well after the doubles point and I am proud of the heart that they showed in the match.” The Cats won the 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 courts after losing the doubles point and the first singles match.
Kentucky moved up in the rankings from No. 7 to No. 6 after their trip to Seattle.
Kevin Lai, was named SEC Freshman of the week after going 3-0 in singles play and 2-0 in doubles.
Kentucky is now 10-2 with wins over seven top 50 teams beating No. 22 Indiana, No. 47 Michigan State, No. 17 Texas, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 29 Notre Dame, No. 10 Mississippi State, and No. 6 Georgia. Kentucky is 3-1 this year against teams in the top 10.
The Cats will return to the court for the start of the outdoor season (spring is coming, Keeneland is coming!) against Samford and Jacksonville State at 10 and 2 p.m in Birmingham.
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