Men's Tennis preview: No. 12 Kentucky (ITA National Team Indoor Championship)
Feb. 16, 2011
Follow the Horns at Twitter.com/LonghornsTennis
WHAT: No. 5 Texas (7-0) is set to make its fifth consecutive appearance at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The Horns qualified for the 16-team event by winning their two matches against Hawaii and Rice last month in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Austin.
WHEN/WHERE: Friday, Feb. 18 through Monday, Feb. 21/The University of Washington - Seattle, Wash.
The fifth-seeded Horns are set to take on 12th-seeded Kentucky (7-2) in the tournament’s opening round on Friday, Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m. Central (Seattle Tennis Club). Texas will meet either fourth-seeded Ohio State or 13th-seeded Texas Tech on Saturday at a time to be announced.
ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOORS SITE:
LAST MEETING vs. THE WILDCATS: Texas and Kentucky last met at the 1997 NCAA Championships, where UT posted a 4-1 win over the Wildcats in the round of 16. Texas owns a 2-0 edge in its all-time series with Kentucky.
LAST TIME OUT: Texas held on for a 4-3 victory at No. 25 Florida State on Feb. 12 in Tallahassee, Fla.
LAST SEASON AT THE ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: Texas opened the 2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va., with a 4-0 win over ninth-seeded Stanford in the round of 16. The eighth-seeded Longhorns upset top-ranked USC by a 4-2 margin in the quarterfinals behind Ed Corrie’s come-from-behind victory over the Trojans’ top-ranked Steve Johnson at No. 2 singles. The Horns fell to fifth-seeded Tennessee by a 4-1 count in the semifinals.
ITA RANKINGS UPDATE
3. Eric Quigley (Kentucky)
55. Jean Andersen (Texas)
61. Kellen Damico (Texas)
70. Alex Musialek (Kentucky)
79. Anthony Rossi (Kentucky)
91. Ed Corrie (Texas)
93. Vasko Mladenov (Texas)
97. Ben Chen (Texas)
2. Ed Corrie/Jean Andersen (Texas)
27. Kellen Damico/David Holiner (Texas)
30. Ben Chen/Vasko Mladenov (Texas)
34. Ben Chen/Daniel Whitehead (Texas)
THE 2011 LONGHORNS: Under 11th-year head coach Michael Center, Texas has reached the NCAA semifinals or better in three of the last five seasons. Three weeks ago, the Longhorns qualified for a fifth consecutive year to compete at the 16-team ITA National Team Indoor Championships this week in Seattle.
At 7-0 on the season, Texas is off to its best start since 2008, when it reached the NCAA title match against Georgia. The Longhorns have taken on a challenging slate with only two matches played on their home courts at Penick-Allison Tennis Center. UT opened the season on Jan. 15 with a 5-2 win over California in Tulsa, Okla. The next day, Texas defeated host Tulsa by a 6-1 count. The Horns took to the road again the following weekend and held on for a 4-3 win over host Michigan.
The Horns registered a pair of 4-0 victories over Hawaii and Rice (Jan. 28-29) during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Austin to earn their trip to The Emerald City before posting a 4-3 win over No. 10 Texas A&M in a non-conference match in Houston. Texas took to the road again last weekend and posted a 4-3 win over No. 25 Florida State on its home courts in Tallahassee, Fla.
Texas returns four regular singles starters from the 2009-10 squad that won the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles and reached the round of 16 for a fifth consecutive year at the NCAA Championships.
Texas ranked fifth in the preseason college tennis team poll released Tuesday, Jan. 4 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), and the Longhorns commanded five additional slots in the preseason singles and doubles rankings.
Senior Ed Corrie and junior Jean Andersen ranked fifth in the ITA preseason doubles rankings after qualifying for the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships last fall. Sophomores Ben Chen and Daniel Whitehead boasted a No. 15 ITA preseason doubles ranking after producing a stellar fall season together. Senior Kellen Damico and redshirt freshman David Holiner held a No. 25 ITA doubles ranking. Damico and the aforementioned Corrie earned doubles All-America honors as freshmen in 2008.
Sophomore Vasko Mladenov, the 2010 ITA Texas Region Rookie Player of the Year, ranked No. 78 in singles. Sophomore Ben Chen, who clinched the first three Texas victories this season, ranked 100th nationally in singles.