Oct. 16, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s tennis team is back in action this week at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championship. The tournament, which runs Thursday through Monday, is hosted by Michigan.
In The Mix Eight Buckeyes will compete in the singles main draw which gets underway on Friday afternoon. Chris Diaz, who had a 6-2 record at the season-opening ITA All-American Championships, won three times last year in Midwest Regional singles action before falling to teammate Hunter Callahan. Callahan advanced to the semifinals before bowing out. They will be joined in the singles draw by Ralf Steinbach enters the weekend as the No. 4-seed while Herkko Pollanen is No. 7 and Kevin Metka is the 10th-seed. Matt Mendez, Mikael Torpegaard and Riley Reist will also be in action.
Doubles action also gets underway on Friday afternoon. The team of Steinbach and Metka enter as the No. 1-seed and have a bye into the round of 32. Callahan and Diaz are the No. 8-seed and Pollanen and Torpegaard are No. 10. Reist and Mendez are the fourth Buckeye tandem vying for the doubles title.
Tournament History The Buckeyes have won the singles portion of the Midwest Regional championships seven of the last eight years. Ohio State also has won the doubles title four times. Peter Kobelt won the both the singles and doubles titles last season. He dropped just one set en route to winning the singles event and then teamed with Kevin Metka to win the doubles event. The singles title was Kobelt’s second-straight and it was his third doubles crown. For Metka, it was his first doubles title.
Under head coach Ty Tucker’s tutelage, Ohio State has claimed seven of the previous eight regional singles championships. The 2006-07 campaign started a streak of three consecutive Ohio State men’s tennis players winning the singles championship. Steven Moneke (2006-09) won in 2006, followed by current assistant coach Justin Kronauge (2007-10) in 2007. Bryan Koniecko, the Ohio State women’s tennis associate head coach and a 2006-09 letterwinner, faced Kronauge in the 2008 final and pulled out the victory to earn the title, while Blaz Rola was the singles champion in 2010 and 2011. Kobelt then picked up where Rola left off and won the singles titles in 2012 and 2013. Buckeye Hall of Fame member Jeremy Wurtzman (2002-04) was the first Buckeye to win the regional title in 2003.
All-time Ohio State Midwest Regional Singles/Doubles Winners 2003 – Jeremy Wurtzman 2006 – Steven Moneke 2007 – Justin Kronauge 2008 – Bryan Koniecko 2010 – Blaz Rola 2011 – Blaz Rola 2012 – Peter Kobelt 2013 – Peter Kobelt
Doubles 2007 – Drew Eberly/Justin Kronauge 2010 – Matt Allare/Peter Kobelt 2011 – Chase Buchanan/Peter Kobelt 2013 – Peter Kobelt/Kevin Metka
Schedule Friday, Oct. 17 8 a.m. — Qualifying Singles Round of 16 (eight players will qualify for main draw) 1 p.m. — Main Draw Doubles First Round 3 p.m. — Singles Main Draw First Round
Saturday, Oct. 18 8 a.m. — Singles Main Draw Second Round 1 p.m. — Singles Main Draw Round of 16 4 p.m. — Doubles Main Draw Second Round 6 p.m. — Doubles Main Draw Round of 16
Sunday, Oct. 19 9 a.m. — Singles Main Draw Quarterfinals 12:30 p.m. — Singles Main Draw Semifinals 4 p.m. — Doubles Main Draw Quarterfinals 6 p.m. — Doubles Main Draw Semifinals
Monday, Oct. 20 9 a.m. — Singles Main Draw Championship 11 a.m. — Doubles Main Draw Championship Round start times are tentative and subject to change
Looking Back The Buckeyes opened the year at the Saint Francis Health System ITA All-American Championship in Tulsa, Okla., two weeks ago. Chris Diaz had a good opening tournament. He was won win away from making it through the singles qualifier but then was slotted in the singles consolation bracket where he made a run all the way to the finals before eventually falling to No. 13 Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA in the finals. He defeated three ranked opponents in the tournament.
Ralf Steinbach enjoyed his time in as he won three matches in the qualifier to earn a spot in the main singles draw. He also teamed with Kevin Metka to win an opening round match in the main doubles draw over No. 40 Axel Alvarez and Dane Webb of Oklahoma.