March 18, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - The nationally-ranked Auburn men's tennis team heads to the road for the second weekend in a row, traveling to No. 23 North Carolina Friday and No. 9 Kentucky on Sunday. The No. 56 Tigers face the Tar Heels at 2 p.m. in Chapel Hill, N.C., and the Wildcats at 1 p.m. in Lexington.
"It's another tough weekend for us, playing two top 25 teams," head coach Eric Shore said. "It is the halfway mark of our very difficult schedule. If we keep battling and learning from each match, things will continue to look good for us. We have a tough assignment this weekend, but it will be a really solid experience."
The Tigers (4-6, 1-3 SEC) hold a slim 6-5 series advantage over the Tar Heels despite dropping last year's match, 4-3, in Auburn. The Wildcats are ahead in the series, sitting at 25-22 overall against Auburn. Kentucky won last year's match-up, 4-3.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The No. 23 North Carolina Tar Heels stand at 10-2 on the season and are coming off a 6-1 victory over in-state rival North Carolina State on March 15. The team has four guys ranked in singles competition, seeing Clay Donato lead the way at No. 39. Jose Hernandez is No. 85, while Ryan Noble is No. 90 and Brennan Boyajian is No. 106. Donato and teammate Stefan Hardy are No. 54 in doubles competition for the Tar Heels.
The ninth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats are 11-6 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. The team is coming off a pair of conference losses last weekend, falling 4-3 at Georgia and 6-1 at Tennessee. Leading the Wildcats in singles competition is No. 10 sophomore Eric Quigley and No. 37 sophomore Alex Musialek. Quigley teams up with Brad Cox to be the 15th-ranked doubles team in the country.
At Florida & South Carolina
The Tigers hit the road this past weekend for a pair of SEC matches, coming away with a 1-1 record. The Tiger traveled to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the No. 7 Florida Gators and fell 5-2. Freshman Tim Hewitt and sophomore Alex Stamchev picked up singles wins on the day. On Sunday, Auburn faced No. 50 South Carolina and came away with a 4-3 decision over the Gamecocks. Seventh-ranked doubles pair of Tim Puetz and Stamchev picked up a win at No. 1 doubles and the pair also took wins in their singles matches. Freshman Lucas Lopasso captured his first SEC victory, defeating Ivan Machado at No. 4 singles. The Tigers continue their road swing, traveling to nonconference opponent North Carolina on March 19 for a 2 p.m. match. The Tigers then take on Kentucky on March 21 at 1 p.m. in Lexington.
Auburn returns to the City of Auburn/Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center March 26 when the Tigers host the South Florida Bulls at 10:30 a.m. The team follows with a 1 p.m. match with Vanderbilt on March 28 at home.