Cats earn biggest victory of season, take down No. 5 Tennessee 4-3


Gabriel Diallo celebrates winning a game during the UK vs. Virginia tennis match on Thursday, March 31, 2022, at Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 4-2. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Samantha Money

No. 12 Kentucky took down No. 5 Tennessee with a 4-3 victory on Friday night at the Hilary J Boone Tennis Center.

The atmosphere was energetic in the building as the Wildcats and Vols began the doubles matches.

While the Cats fought hard, they came up just shy of attaining the point as all of the courts were neck and neck from the first serve.

Liam Draxl and JJ Mercer on court three were the first to be defeated, losing 6-4 to the Vols. Court one with Francois Musitelli and Millen Hurrion were the second to fall after an intense match with a score of 7-6.

Although Joshua Lapadat and Gabriel Diallo’s court was all tied up, their match went unfinished after the Vols gained the two wins needed to claim the doubles point.

However, Kentucky remained poised and unphased heading into singles action.

No. 16 Diallo made the game look easy with a swift 6-0 and 6-1 win over No.5 Johannus Monday, earning the first point of the night for Kentucky. 

Diallo’s win was followed by Hurrion, securing the second point against No. 45 Emile Hudd. With this point the Cats took the lead 2-1. 

The Vols refused to back down and put up a fight against the Cats. After a long battle over on court four, Shunsuke Mitsui took down No.95 Musitelli, winning two out of the three sets.

All tied up at two, Tennessee gained yet another point on court one. No. 30 Draxl came up just short of taking down No. 14 Adam Walton with scores of 6-7, 7-6, and 2-5.

With the Vols now in the lead, the Cats needed to win on the last two courts in order to take the victory.

Mercer did not disappoint, defeating his opponent 6-3 and 6-2 to tie the match at three.

Back to a tied score again, all eyes turned to court five with No. 84 Lapadat for the Cats playing against Angel Diaz for the Vols. Lapadat lost the first match 4-6 but came out on top, winning the second and third matches 6-1 and 6-4.

With Lapadat’s single match victory, the Cats left the courts with the biggest win of the season.

“We had a couple of tough losses before this…. so, getting this big one, it’s really good for Sunday. Good for momentum,” Lapadat said after the game.

The Wildcats stay at home this weekend for Senior Day on Sunday, April 10, honoring fifth year team captain Hurrion and graduate student Musitelli, as they take on No. 10 Georgia at the Hilary J Boone Center at 1 p.m. EST.