Jan 24, 2013 6:45 PM
After going on the road for the first time in the 2013 season and picking up a win at No. 22 Indiana, the No. 9 University of Kentucky men's tennis team will return home to Lexington, Ky., this weekend to host the Lexington Regional of the 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Kick-Off Weekend, as UK welcomes in three teams ranked in the top 45 of the nation.
"This is going to be a really good weekend of tennis," UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. "This is one of the best regions in the country in my opinion and it is going to be an extremely tough weekend for this young team. I was proud of our effort on Wednesday in Indiana, so we hope to back that up with a solid performance this weekend against some great competition."
The winner of this weekend's region will earn an automatic qualifying position in the 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championships held in mid-February at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Kentucky's first opponent on Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET is the Michigan State Spartans out of the Big 10 Conference. MSU is ranked No. 47 in the ITA rankings, and comes in as the four seed in the regional. Michigan State has already played four matches on the season, picking up wins in three of those. The Spartans defeated Wright State and Detroit in the opening weekend of play in addition to a win on Sunday at Vanderbilt, 6-1. The lose blemish on MSU's record was a 6-1 loss to Memphis on the road.
The South Carolina Gamecocks come into this regional with the No. 3 seed, and a national ranking of No. 40 under the direction of third-year head coach Josh Goffi. Goffi has his Gamecocks off to a 4-0 start in the dual season, recording wins over Charlotte, Presbyterian, Furman and Appalachian State. The Gamecocks have only dropped two points all season thus far.
The No. 2 seed in the Lexington regional is the Texas Longhorns. UT enters this weekend with the No. 17 national ranking, holding strong with a 3-0 ranking. Texas has won two road matches this season, picking up wins at Southern Methodist (5-2) and Tulsa (4-3) while also slipping in a home win vs. Washington 6-1 on Saturday.
Kentucky will enter the weekend as the top seed, and hoists a 3-0 overall record in the dual season. In addition to the two wins at home to start the season versus Northern Kentucky (7-0) and Morehead State (7-0), UK also picked up a 5-2 win in Bloomington at No. 22 Indiana on Wednesday afternoon.
2013 ITA Weekend Schedule
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013
1:00 p.m. ET - No. 9 Kentucky vs. No. 47 Michigan State
5:00 p.m. ET - No. 17 Texas vs. No. 40 South Carolina
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013
1:00 p.m. ET - Consolation Match
5:00 p.m. ET - Championship Match*
*= Winner advances to 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championships