Men's Tennis
Wildcats Complete Undefeated Regular Season and Claim SEC Title

Wildcats Complete Undefeated Regular Season and Claim SEC Title

by Aliyah McDaniel

LEXINGTON, Ky- The No. 5 University of Kentucky men’s tennis team (21-2, 12-0 SEC) concluded its regular season by outright clinching the 2024 Southeastern Conference season title after defeating the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers (21-5, 10-2) on Senior Day at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex Sunday afternoon. 

The Wildcats have now won the last 14 matches and went a perfect 12-0 in conference play, for the first time since 2012, to claim the program’s third regular season SEC title. 

Sunday’s Senior day ceremony recognized captain’s Joshua Lapadat, Taha Baadi and Tate Sandman, who was named to the SEC Men’s Tennis Community Service team earlier this week. 

In the doubles session, the Cats were off to a good start, leading on courts one and three before the Vols battled their way back to be within one game on each of the two. On the second court, Baadi and freshman Jack Loutit battled back from a 1-4 deficit against No. 58 Mitsui/Pieczonka of UT and ultimately claimed the court 7-5. The victory marked the duo’s second ranked doubles win of the weekend. With Kentucky falling on the first court, the initial point of the dual would be decided by court three. The Wildcats would earn their seventh-straight doubles point after Eli Stephenson and Jaden Weekes proved to be the difference, defeating Tennessee’s Kobelt/Lalami, 7-6(5). 

Singles play started intensely, with Kentucky and Tennessee each claiming three first sets a piece. UT would be the first to a singles point, where 38th ranked Baadi fell to No. 3 Johannus Monday in straight sets. Shortly thereafter, the Vols would take their first lead of the match after Stephenson fell on court six. Sophomore Frenchman Charlelie Cosnet would put the cats back in after overpowering Tennessee’s Kobelt 7-6(0), 6-3 on court four.

With the match tied at 2-2, the victor would be determined in a long haul, with all three of the remaining courts moving to a third set. UT would take its final lead of the match after claiming the win on court one, leaving the match’s outcome to singles three and five. On court three, Weekes fought back from a 2-4 deficit in the opening frames of the match to claim the first set 6-4, before falling in the second 1-6. He would have an early 3-0 edge in the third set that proved to be crucial to his 6-3 final set score against Chris Li, that would put the Cats back within reach of claiming the match. 

The outright SEC regular season title hung in the balance of two freshmen on court five. Polish Volunteer Filip Pieczonka would take the first set 6-4, after coming back from a 1-3 deficit against Loutit. The Kiwi Wildcat would soar through the second set, 6-2, to send the court into the third set. Using the momentum from the second set, Loutit would quickly go up 4-1, and eventually clinch the match, and the regular season title with a final third set score of 6-4. 

The defending SEC Tournament Champions will prepare to compete in the 2024 SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament Championship April 17-21, hosted by Louisiana State University at the LSU Tennis Complex in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. More information, including brackets, schedules, standings and ticket info can be found here


No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 6 Tennessee

No. 10 Diaz/Monday (UT) def. No. 8 Lapadat/Mercer (UK): 7-5
Baadi/Loutit (UK) def. No. 58 Mitsui/Pieczonka (UT): 7-5
Stephenson/Weekes (UK) def. Kobelt/Lalami (UT) 7-6(5)


No. 3 Johannus Monday (UT) def. No. 38 Taha Baadi (UK): 6-3 6-1 
No. 31 Shunsuke Mitsui (UT) def. No. 99 Joshua Lapadat (UK): 2-6 6-1 6-3 
No. 124 Jaden Weekes (UK) def. Chris Li (UT): 6-4 4-6 6-3 
Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Nicholas Kobelt (UT): 7-6 (7-0) 6-3 
Jack Loutit (UK) def. Filip Pieczonka (UT): 4-6 6-2 6-4
Angel Diaz (UT) def. Eli Stephenson (UK): 6-1,6-4

Order of Finish:
Doubles— 2, 1, 3
Singles— 1, 6, 4, 2, 3, 5*

For the latest on UK Men’s Tennis, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKMensTennis.

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