In its fourth trip to the NCAA quarterfinals in school history, the Kentucky men's tennis team fell again to two-time defending national champion Southern California, 4-1 at Stanford on Saturday.
"I love the way our guys fought," UK Coach Dennis Emery said. "This team has a lot of pride for each other and for playing for Kentucky, and I know we gave a good effort today."
Kentucky (29-9) ended the season with a school record for wins, breaking the mark of 25 set last season. UK hosted the NCAA first and second rounds for the third straight season and advanced to the school's second Southeastern Conference Tournament finals.
"It is very disappointing to lose because this is such a fun group of guys to be around," Emery said. "I just hate to see it end."
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Three Wildcats will stay at Stanford for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship. Eric Quigley, who ranked sixth in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, and fellow junior Alex Musialek, who is ranked 53rd, will compete in the singles tournament that starts Wednesday. Quigley and senior Brad Cox, 19th in the nation, will start play Thursday. Complete draws for the singles and doubles event have not been announced.
USC (25-2), which knocked out UK in the round of 16 last year, started Saturday's match by taking the doubles point, winning two of three. UK senior Alberto Gonzalez and freshman Tom Jomby took down Daniel Nguyen and Ray Sarmiento 8-6 in the second match. Cox and Quigley served for the match at 7-5, but the Trojans' Jaak Poldma and JT Sundling took four straight games to win 9-7.
Musialek was the only Cat to earn a singles victory, beating No. 38 Poldma, a senior from France who took the first set 6-2. It was the last team match for seniors Cox and Gonzalez, who led the UK program to four consecutive NCAA appearances. Cox, a team captain for two straight years, is the only player in school history to advance to the NCAA doubles championship four consecutive seasons, and Gonzalez ends his career 85-47.