Cats defeat Western Michigan, advance in NCAA Tournament


Kevin Lai Freshman Kevin Lai takes a shot for UK men’s tennis in the Cats’ 4-0 win over Western Michigan in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky., on Friday, May 10, 2013. Photo by Chet White

By Tyler Spanyer | @KernelSpanyer

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UK men’s tennis made the most of home-court advantage in the NCAA Tournament by sweeping the Broncos of Western Michigan University, 4-0, inside the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center on Friday.

“I thought our intensity in doubles was really great today,” UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “It is going to hopefully carry on to tomorrow. I think we will be ready for a confident Va. Tech team tomorrow.”

The Cats got off to a roaring start in the doubles matches, eventually clinching when junior Ryuji Hirooka and freshman Beck Pennington defeated their opponents, 8-3, giving the Cats an early 1-0 lead.

Junior Tom Jomby continued the hot start for the Cats as he disposed of his singles opponent, winning the first set 6-0 in a little over 14 minutes.

In the second set, Jomby ran into some trouble after Ross VanderPloeg evened the set at 4-4.

However, Jomby held serve, and then broke VanderPloeg to win the match and secure the second point for the Cats.

Freshman Kevin Lai joined in on the fun by beating his opponent 6-2, 7-6. In the tiebreak, Lai went up 4-0 and never looked back winning the tiebreak 7-4 and clinching the Cats’ third point.

Junior Grant Roberts clinched the victory for UK with a quick 6-1, 6-1 win over Andrew Cahn.

“It felt pretty good to just get out there and take care of business,” Roberts said.

No. 8 UK advances to round two where the Cats play Virginia Tech, who won their first-round match against No. 23 Michigan.

The match is set to begin at 2 p.m. and Kauffmann is hoping UK fans turn out to support the Cats at the Hillary J. Boone Tennis Center.

“They (Virginia Tech) have been playing really well for the last month, and they just knocked off a hot Michigan team,” Kauffmann said. “I think we are going to have a very tough match, but we are at home and hope that the Big Blue Nation comes out to support us.”