April 24, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio– The reigning nine-time Big Ten regular-season champion and No. 2 Ohio State men’s tennis team (27-3, 11-0 Big Ten) will look to win its eighth Big Ten tournament in nine years as the team travels to compete at the 2014 Big Ten Tournament April 25-27 in East Lansing, Mich.
The Buckeyes earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye after going 11-0 in Big Ten play to capture their ninth-consecutive regular season title. Ohio State will play No. 8 seed and host-Michigan State at 10 a.m. Friday in the quarterfinals. The Spartans (12-13, 5-6 Big Ten) defeated Nebraska, 4-0, in the opening round on Thursday.
Big Ten Network will air the championship match on tape delay at 7 p.m. May 8.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
Under 15th-year head coach Ty Tucker, Ohio State has won eight Big Ten Tournament titles, including Tucker’s first in 2001 and six-consecutive from 2006-11. Overall, Ohio State has been crowned tournament champions nine times, with the lone title not under Tucker coming in 1991. Last year, the Buckeyes won the championship in Columbus, defeating No. 3 seed Michigan, 4-0, at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus. Illinois claimed the title in 2012, defeating the Buckeyes, 4-3, in Evanston, Ill. Before last season, the Scarlet and Gray defeated Illinois in five out of the previous six tournament finals.
2013, Ohio State def. Michigan, 4-0, in Columbus, Ohio
2012, Illinois def. Ohio State, 4-3, in Evanston, Ill.
2011, Ohio State def. Minnesota, 4-0, in Madison, Wis.
2010, Ohio State def. Illinois, 4-1, in Bloomington, Ind.
2009, Ohio State def. Illinois, 4-3, in Ann Arbor, Mich.
2008, Ohio State def. Illinois, 4-3, in Iowa City, Iowa
2007, Ohio State def. Illinois, 4-1, in West Lafayette, Ind.
2006, Ohio State def. Illinois, 4-2, in Minneapolis, Minn.
FIRST ROUND BYES
Ohio State locked up the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye with a perfect conference record of 1-0. Each of the Top 4 seeds in the tournament received first-round byes and begin play in the quarterfinals Friday. Illinois earned the second seed after finishing the regular season 9-2 in conference matches and 20-7 overall. Penn State is the three seed with an 8-3 mark in league action and 21-4 overall in 2014. Purdue claimed the final bye with four seed, going 7-4 in Big Ten action and 15-6 overall. The Boilermakers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over fifth-seed Northwestern (19-9, 7-4 Big Ten).
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
MEN’S TENNIS CLAIMS TOP GPA
The Ohio State men’s tennis team was recognized at the 47th-annual Scholar-Athlete Dinner April 14. The Buckeyes claimed the top team GPA among the men’s program and was honored by the Men’s Varsity O. Overall, five Buckeyes were named Scholar-Athletes, including Evan Bechtel, Chris Diaz, Marko Goles-Babic, Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka.
Five Buckeyes are ranked in the ITA individual standings released April 22. Peter Kobelt paces the Buckeyes with a No. 7 ranking, while Herkko Pollanen is No. 97 and Hunter Callahan is No. 123. In doubles, Kobelt and Kevin Metka are ranked at No. 4. The pair of Kobelt and Ralf Steinbach is No. 57.
BIG TEN ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Four times this season, senior Peter Kobelt was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week – the most in the league in 2014 (Feb. 18, Feb,. 25, March 18 and March 25).
Kobelt, a native of New Albany, Ohio, has been a part of the Ohio State program the last five years and has been a part of five Big Ten regular-season titles, three conference tournament championships and two NCAA Final Four appearances. The native of New Albany, Ohio, Kobelt was the 2014 National Indoor Most Outstanding Player, leading Ohio State men’s tennis to its first national title in program history this past February. A two-time All-American, five-time regional champion, Kobelt was named a Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalist this spring. He also is a five-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
KOBELT RISES IN OSU RECORD BOOK
Senior Peter Kobelt currently is in the Top 10 in multiple OSU career wins lists. Kobelt, the 2014 National Indoor Most Outstanding Player, is second on the OSU all-time doubles wins list with 132 victories and recently passed former Buckeye Bryan Koniecko, who collected 125 career wins from 2006-09. He is one wins shy of tying former Buckeye Justin Kronauge (2007-10) for first on the OSU doubles wins list. In singles, Kobelt has notched 118 career wins and passed former Buckeyes Devin Mullings (2003-07) and Matt Allare (2008-11) for seventh on the singles list. On the combined career wins list, Kobelt sits at 250 victories, which is currently third-best all-time. He needs four wins to tie Koniecko with 254 combined career wins.
HOME, STREAK, HOME
The Ohio State men’s tennis program had a big weekend March 28-30 when the squad broke the NCAA home winning streak record in Columbus. The Buckeyes won their 185th-consecutive home match with a 4-3 win over No. 28 Northwestern March 28, passing the Stanford women’s program, who held the record for 12 years with 184-consecutive home wins. Currently, the Scarlet and Gray have won 186-consecutive home matches, dating back to 2003 season.
The pairings of Hunter Callahan and Ralf Steinbach and No. 6 Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka claimed doubles wins. In singles play, Metka, Steinbach and Kobelt clinched straight-set victories to seal the record for the Buckeyes. On March 30, Ohio State battled No. 10 Illinois in a Top 10 clash to claim sole ownership of the Big Ten standings. Using new doubles pairings, Callahan and redshirt sophomore Chris Diaz and Metka and freshman Marko Goles Babic (Zagreb, Croatia) claimed the doubles points for the Buckeyes. In singles, Steinbach and Metka earned straight-set wins and Callahan provided the clinch in a three-set affair and extend the streak to 186-consecutive home wins. Freshman Herkko Pollanen ended the day with the biggest win of his young collegiate career, winning a three-set battle over No. 9 Jared Hiltzik.
The streak currently stands at 189-consecutive wins as the Buckeyes went a perfect 17-0 in 2014.
Guided by director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes defeated four Top 25 teams, including two Top 5 programs en route to the national title to put Ohio State at its best start to a season in program history. The Buckeyes downed No. 12 Florida in the first round, 4-1, Feb. 14 with Hunter Callahan clinching and No. 13 Texas, 4-2, Feb. 15 in the quarterfinals. Redshirt junior Kevin Metka clinched the match to send the Buckeyes to a semifinal against No. 1 Virginia.
The semifinal proved to be a 4-3 classic with Metka pulling off the upset with a 6-5 (7-5), 5-6 (5-7), 6-5 (12-10) victory, saving two match points Feb. 16. No. 3 USC was next, with Ohio State earning the doubles points and claimed the title with a 4-1 win over the Trojans Feb. 17. Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach clinched the championship for Ohio State with a 6-5 (7-4), 6-4 win over Connor Farren on court No. 4.
KOBELT NAMED MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Peter Kobelt was named was named Most Outstanding Player at the ITA Indoor Team Championships Feb. 21. Kobelt is the first Buckeye to receive the honor, which he achieved after winning seven of his eight matches in leading Ohio State to its first national indoor title. The senior went 3-1 at first singles during the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship. In doubles, paired with Kevin Metka, the duo went 4-0 over the weekend.
Joining Kobelt were three additional Buckeyes, including Ralf Steinbach, Kevin Metka and Hunter Callahan at singles No. 4-6, respectively. Kobelt and Metka were named to the doubles all-tournament team at No. 1.
In addition to Ohio State’s official athletics web site, OhioStateBuckeyes.com, fans can follow all the action via Twitter. The men’s tennis team’s official handle @OhioState_MTEN provides the latest news and notes as they happen.