No. 4 Georgia Tops No. 6 Kentucky in SEC Tournament Finals
Kentucky was making back-to-back appearances in SEC Finals for first time in program history
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Fourth-ranked Georgia won the doubles point and three of the four singles matches that ended in a decision to defeat the sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team 4-1 and win the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville, Miss.
Kentucky junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore Tom Jomby were honored after the tournament for making the SEC All-Tournament Team. This is the first such honor for both players. Both Rossi and Jomby were strong for Kentucky in singles and doubles action.
“I just felt Georgia was a little too good at the end of the match today,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said. “We weren’t able to get anything going there at the end of our rotation and that was the key to the match. Give Georgia a lot of credit, they played really good today.”
The loss for Kentucky (26-5) ends its undefeated run against SEC foes this season. The Wildcats went an impressive 11-0 in SEC regular-season action this season, which is the best regular-season record school history. UK earned its first two wins in the SEC Tournament against No. 43 Vanderbilt and No. 13 Ole Miss.
This was the second consecutive finals appearance for Kentucky and the third in school history. UK made a memorable run through the SEC Tournament last year before falling to host Florida in the finals. Before the 2011 season, Kentucky’s lone title appearance was 1992 when it won the championship over LSU. All three finals appearances have come under Emery’s tenure.
The loss to Georgia snaps Kentucky’s season-long winning streak of 11th matches. Even with the loss, UK has been impressive in the nation’s best conference, winning 21 of their last 23 SEC matches, including 16 consecutive SEC regular season matches. The loss in the finals also ends
UK is 22-4 against currently ranked teams. The Wildcats also have four wins against top-10 teams this season, while they hold an 11-4 record against teams currently ranked in the top 25. UK has won a total of 31 matches against top-25 ranked teams since the start of the 2009 season.
Kentucky dropped the doubles point in the match for the first time in five matches, losing at courts two and three. Georgia earned the first match of the contest when Wil Spencer and KU Singh took down UK’s sophomore duo of Jomby and Alejandro Gomez 8-3. The Bulldogs then clinched the doubles point at court two when Ignacio Taboada and Nathan Pasha defeated No. 37 Rossi and Alex Musialek 8-4. UGA also led on court one with Hernus Pieters and Sadio Doumbia holding a 7-5 advantage over No. 12 Eric Quigley and Panav Jha. Kentucky is now 5-5 this season when it drops the doubles point.
Quigley paced the Wildcats in singles action, earning the lone point of the match for Kentucky. Quigley, who is ranked third in the nation in single, defeated 11th-ranked Wil Spencer at No. 1 singles to earn the point. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., dominated Spencer in the first set 6-1 before fighting off a deficit in the second set. Trailing 5-2, Quigley won five consecutive games including breaking Spencer twice to win the second set and the match. The win continued his undefeated streak against SEC foes this spring, moving to 13-0 and 24-1 overall this spring.
Georgia won its three singles match at courts four, five and six. The Bulldogs increased their lead to 2-0 when No. 63 Pieters took down No. 112 Jha 6-1, 6-0 at six singles. Pasha then earned UGA’s third point of the match with a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 110 Gomez at five singles. No. 44 Taboada posted the decisive fourth point of the match at court four when he defeated No. 76 Jomby in a second-set tiebreaker. Taboada won the first set 6-3 before both players held serve much of the second set to force the tiebreaker. Taboada then went up 5-1 in the breaker and held on for the 7-4 win.
Kentucky was in good shape to win at courts two and three with No. 14 Musialek and No. 19 Rossi playing really well. Rossi had won the first set 6-2 over No. 29 Doumbia and had match point serving at 6-5 in the second set, while Musialek dominated his first set 6-3 against No. 24 Singh and was up 5-4, 15-30 in the second set needing a break to win the match.
The Wildcats will now wait to learn if it has received a bid into the NCAA Tournament. UK has hosted the first and second rounds of the tournament each of the past three seasons. The first and second rounds are scheduled to take place May 11-13. The NCAA selection for men’s tennis is May 1.
For more information on the Kentucky men’s tennis team, follow “UKMensTennis” on Twitter or like “University of Kentucky men’s tennis team” on Facebook.
SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament Finals
No. 6 Kentucky 1, No. 4 Georgia 4
A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre – Starkville, Miss.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
1 – No. 3 Eric Quigley (UK) def. No. 11 Wil Spencer (UGA) 6-1, 7-5
2 – No. 14 Alex Musialek (UK) vs. No. 24 KU Singh (UGA) DNF
3 – No. 19 Anthony Rossi (UK) vs. No. 29 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) DNF
4 – No. 44 Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. No. 76 Tom Jomby (UK) 6-3, 7-6 (4)
5 – Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. No. 110 Alejandro Gomez (UK) 6-2, 6-2
6 – No. 63 Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. No. 112 Panav Jha (UK) 6-1, 6-0
1 - No. 12 Eric Quigley/Panav Jha (UK) vs. Hernus Pieters/Sadio Doumbia (UGA) DNF
2 - Ignacio Toboada/Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. No. 37 Anthony Rossi/Alex Musialek (UK) 8-4
3 - Wil Spencer/KU Singh (UGA) def. Tom Jomby/Alejandro Gomez (UK) 8-3
Order of Finish
Singles – 6, 5, 1, 4*
Doubles – 3, 2*