Men’s Tennis Continues NCAA Tournament Play in Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla – For the second consecutive season, Kentucky men’s tennis is set to do battle with Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. A year after meeting in the National Championship, the two programs will square off once more, this time in the quarterfinal round.
The No. 4 Wildcats (27-4) will face the No. 5 Cavaliers (27-4) this Thursday at 5 p.m. at the USTA National Campus as both sides look to continue their chase of an NCAA trophy. Fans interested in attending can find tickets and more information here. Live streaming will be available through PlaySight on the USTA National Campus website, as well as on the Cracked Racquets YouTube page with commentary.
Kentucky is one of eight teams to reach the finals site in Orlando, joining Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, TCU, Michigan, Ohio State and Georgia. All remaining matches in the tournament will be played at the USTA National Campus with quarterfinals on Thursday, semifinals on Friday and the championship on Saturday. Friday’s semifinals, along with Saturday’s final, will air live on Tennis Channel.
During their NCAA Tournament run, the Cats have taken out Presbyterian, Northwestern and Stanford to reach the quarterfinal round. UK has won eight consecutive matches overall, four of which have come by a score of 4-3. Kentucky is 11-1 this season in matches decided by one point and has won seven-straight such contests, including its last two in the NCAA Tournament.
Junior Joshua Lapadat enters Thursday with a 23-4 singles record, the most victories on the team. The native of London, Ontario has won six singles matches in a row, five coming in straight sets. Lapadat and partner JJ Mercer also lead the Wildcats with 15 doubles victories on the year and are ranked No. 67 in the latest ITA rankings.
While UVA got the best of Kentucky in the 2022 National Championship, the Cats enacted some revenge this season, going on the road and defeating the then No. 1 Cavaliers, 4-3, back in early February. On that day, UK used a doubles point victory, along with singles wins from Taha Baadi, Jaden Weekes and Charlelie Cosnet to power past the defending champs. Baadi was ultimately the clincher, winning a third-set tiebreaker over Ryan Goetz to secure the result. Notably, neither Kentucky first singles, Liam Draxl, nor Virginia No. 1, Chris Rodesch, appeared in the teams’ regular season meeting.
Virginia rolled through the ACC undefeated, winning both the regular season and conference tournament crowns. The Cavaliers own a 19-match win streak, their last loss coming at ITA National Indoors to Ohio State. UVA has earned three-straight, 4-0 victories to begin the NCAA Tournament, defeating Navy, Ole Miss and Duke.
Leading the way for the Cavaliers in the win column is junior Jeffrey von der Schulenburg, who boasts a 24-4 singles record on the dual season. Goetz, a graduate-student, has also reached the 20-win mark, going 21-3 in singles to this point. Rodesch (No. 9), Inaki Montes (No. 26), von der Schulenburg (No. 49) and Goetz (No. 87), are all featured in the ITA singles rankings, while Montes and Goetz formed the squad’s top-ranked doubles team at No. 8 in the country.
The winner of Thursday’s match between Kentucky and Virginia will advance to Friday’s semifinal to face the winner of No. 1 Texas vs. No. 9 South Carolina.
For the latest on UK Men’s Tennis, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKMensTennis.