LEXINGTON, Ky. (8/28/13) – After earning its fourth consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, second-year head coach Cedric Kauffmann has announced his team’s 2013-14 schedule, which includes 18 matches against teams in the top-40 from a year ago, and six matches against top-10 teams from 2012-13.
“Obviously, we have put together a very challenging schedule for the boys this year,” Kauffmann said. “We want to play the best teams in the country year in and year out, and we have proved that with our schedule the last couple of years. We want to be an elite program in the nation, and in order to do that, you have to play with the best. We feel that this will challenge our players like never before, and put them in the best position to succeed in the SEC season, and NCAA Tournament.”
The season will kick off the weekend on Jan. 17, as Kentucky will welcome the Dayton Flyers and Eastern Kentucky Colonels to the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center for a doubleheader. The match with Dayton will have a first serve of 1:00 p.m. ET, while the EKU match will start four hours later, at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Two days later, UK will make the trip to Cary, N.C., to face off against the Duke Blue Devils, who Kentucky met in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament a year ago. That match hosted by Duke, who finished the 2013 season ranked No. 7 in the nation, will start at 1:00 p.m. ET.
After a renewal of the border series with Indiana on Jan. 21, the Wildcats will then begin preparations for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Kick-Off Weekend, to be hosted in Lexington on Jan. 24 and 25.
In the opening round, Kentucky will take on the No. 4 seed in the region, BYU. The Cougars finished the year ranked No. 41 in the nation and will be the Wildcats’ first-round opponent. The winner of the UK/BYU match will face off against the winner of the other semifinal, second-seeded Notre Dame, and third-seeded Minnesota. The winner of the championship match on Saturday will advance to the ITA National Indoor Championships, to be held in College Station, Texas, and will be hosted by Texas A&M University.
UK will waste no time after National Indoor’s, as the Wildcats will travel to Norman, Okla., to play at Oklahoma, who finished the season No. 13 in the final poll, and advanced to the Sweet 16. UK used a sixth-court win from Grant Roberts, 7-5 in the third set, to claim an extremely tight 4-3 win over OU when the teams met a year ago.
After the match with Oklahoma, the Southeastern Conference slate will kick off for the Wildcats, who will begin on the road with LSU and Arkansas on Feb. 28 and March 2 in Baton Rouge, La., and Fayetteville, Ark. A season ago, the Wildcats swept these two teams in the opening weekend of the SEC slate.
UK will then enter its most challenging portion of the schedule, where the Wildcats will play five top-15 teams from a year ago, beginning at Texas A&M (14), Mississippi State (11), Ole Miss (10), at Georgia (3) and at Tennessee (6). The stretch of matches will run from March 7 through March 23.
After non-conference matches against Illinois on April 2, and another match with Ohio State on April 9 in Lexington, Kentucky will then turn their attention to postseason play beginning in the third week of April.
The SEC Championships will be held in Nashville, Tenn., and will be hosted by Vanderbilt University. The SEC Tournament will run from April 16 through April 20. The Wildcats made the quarterfinals a year ago.
The opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament will be on May 9-11 as the top 16 seeds in the main draw will host a four-team regional for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
The NCAA Championships will be once again be hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The championship match will be on May 20, with the championships commencing on May 15.
Information provided by Chris Shoals (UK Athletics)
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