©Colette Lewis 2012--
The third round match between the No. 6 seeds Kentucky and No. 11 Stanford started well for the Wildcats, but it ended badly, with Tom Jomby being defaulted at the end of his match with John Morrissey at line 4 to give the Cardinal a 4-1 victory and a place in Sunday's quarterfinals.
Kentucky won the doubles point without much resistance from Stanford, earning wins at 1 and 3, but when the singles began, an entirely different story unfolded, with Stanford taking charge by winning first sets in all six matches.
Bradley Klahn's 6-1, 6-2 win over Eric Quigley at 1--only Quigley's second loss in a dual match this year--brought Stanford even, and Ryan Thacher made it 2-1 with a victory over Alex Musialek at 2. Daniel Ho took a three-set win over Alejandro Gomez at 5 to get Stanford within 1 point of their second win over Kentucky this year, but the Wildcats had extended the matches at 3, 4, and 6 to a third set.
Jomby's behavior in his match with Morrissey had already put him in a hole in the third set, when he received a point penalty and then a game penalty to give Morrissey an early lead. Jomby fought back, but Morrissey was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set when he earned a match point at 40-30. Morrissey's first serve was long, and Jomby slapped the serve away. It hit the umbrella of the chair umpire, who determined that Jomby had intentionally sent the ball in her direction. Jomby pleaded his case, but the chair umpire called the assistant referee to the court, and he consulted with two members of the NCAA tournament committee. A few moments later, Morrissey was awarded the match by a score of 6-1, 3-6, 5-4, default. The committee issued the following statement regarding the default:
The chair umpire said factually that the player intentionally hit the ball at the umpire. The student-athlete had already been assessed a point and game penalty earlier in the match. The umpire recommended imposing the next point penalty, which was the default. The referee, as a matter of law, ruled that hitting a ball at the umpire is at least a code violation and since the next code violation was default, the match was over.
Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery wasn't watching at the time, and although he consulted with the assistant referee, he wasn't sure exactly what had happened.
"It's unfortunate for it to end that way," said Emery. "We put ourselves in a position where the official could determine the outcome of the match. It's pretty simple, you don't ever do that."
Klahn, who was watching the remaining three matches with his teammates and members of the women's team, also was mystified by the conclusion, but pleased to see his team season continue.
"It's unfortunate the match had to end like that," said the senior, who won the NCAA singles title here in 2010. "I wasn't paying that much attention, so I don't know any specifics. You never want a match to end like that, even though I'm happy we won.
"We came out very strong in singles. Kentucky really came at us in the doubles, put up a quick point before we even got going, but I was happy with the way guys responded. Looking up at that scoreboard and seeing six first sets certainly relaxes you a little bit. Not to the sense in taking your foot off the gas, but it's nice to see the teamwork showing up."
Stanford coach John Whitlinger expected Kentucky would mount a challenge even as his team posted first set after first set.
"Kentucky is a great team," said Whitlinger. "They beat Georgia here and we had a good match with them at the Indoor. They knew us and we knew them. We went back in after the doubles, which wasn't close, and we got them focused, and I told them to try to find that next gear, the one you don't think you have. You find it and let's go with it, and obviously the guys did. I can't say enough about how we competed."
Stanford will take on Virginia in Sunday's quarterfinals, another rematch from the Team Indoor, which Virginia won 4-1.
"Virginia's been perennial for a while now, and we have a lot of respect for them," said Whitlinger. "They are very solid from top to bottom and their doubles is good. We're just going to go out to practice tomorrow, get some plans together and see what happens on Sunday."
#11 STANFORD (20-8) def. #6 KENTUCKY (28-6), 4-1 - McWhorter Courts
Head Coaches: Dennis Emery (KENTUCKY) and John Whitlinger (STANFORD)
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,1)
1. #7 Panav Jha/Eric Quigley (KENTUCKY) def. Denis Lin/Ryan Thacher (STANFORD), 8-2
2. #38 Alex Musialek/Anthony Rossi (KENTUCKY) vs. Bradley Klahn/John Morrissey (STANFORD), 4-5, unfinished
3. Alejandro Gomez/Tom Jomby (KENTUCKY) def. Jamin Ball/Matt Kandath (STANFORD), 8-2
Singles (Order of finish: 1,2,5,4*)
1. #36 Bradley Klahn (STANFORD) def. #3 Eric Quigley (KENTUCKY), 6-1, 6-2
2. #29 Ryan Thacher (STANFORD) def. #15 Alex Musialek (KENTUCKY), 6-1, 7-5
3. Matt Kandath (STANFORD) vs. #22 Anthony Rossi (KENTUCKY), 6-3, 3-6, 5-4, unfinished
4. John Morrissey (STANFORD) def. #80 Tom Jomby (KENTUCKY), 6-1, 3-6, 5-4, default
5. Daniel Ho (STANFORD) def. #111 Alejandro Gomez (KENTUCKY), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
6. Robert Stineman (STANFORD) vs. Grant Roberts (KENTUCKY), 6-3, 4-6, 1-1, unfinished