Oct. 17, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Blaz Rola, a member of the Ohio State men’s tennis team, wrapped up his successful run at the 2011 USTA/ITA Division I Men’s Midwest Regional Championships by capturing his second consecutive regional title. Rola, the top seed in the draw, defeated Evan King of Michigan 6-3, 6-4 Monday at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus. The sophomore’s victory marked the fifth time in six seasons a Buckeye has captured the singles crown and the first time in history an Ohio State player has claimed the honor in back-to-back seasons.
Peter Kobelt also earned consecutive regional championship honors, defeating teammates Rola and Connor Smith 8-3 in the doubles final with partner Chase Buchanan. Last season, Kobelt won the doubles championship with then-senior Matt Allare. With both wins, it is the second consecutive season Ohio State has won both the singles and doubles titles at the Midwest Regional.
The Scarlet and Gray netters went an impressive 41-12 in main draw singles and doubles competition throughout the regional. Four of the losses came due to the fact the matches pitted Buckeyes against each other on both sides of the net.
With the victories, Rola, as well as Buchanan and Kobelt have qualified for the 2011 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, which will take place Nov. 3-6 in Flushing, N.Y. The tournament serves as the second of three premier national collegiate tennis events.
Under head coach Ty Tucker’s tutelage, Ohio State has claimed five of the previous six 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, a 2006-09 letterwinner, faced Kronauge in the 2008 final and pulled out the victory to earn the title. Former Buckeye assistant Jeremy Wurtzman (2002-04) was the first Buckeye to win the regional title in 2003.
The last time a player won the Midwest Regional in consecutive seasons was Ed Nagel of Michigan in 1986-87.
In the semifinal portion of the singles draw, Rola defeated Casey Watt of Notre Dame 6-3, 6-4 to keep his unblemished regional record intact. Buchanan fell to King 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 in a hard fought semifinal contest. Buchanan is currently 5-2 in fall tournament singles action.
Up next, the Buckeyes will continue fall tournament action in split-squad fashion. Some members of the team will travel to Iowa City, Iowa, for the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Singles Championships, while others will make the trip to Charlottesville, Va., for a USTA Challenger. Both tournaments will be held Oct. 28-31.
2011 USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships
Hosted by The Ohio State University
Varsity Tennis Center and Jesse Owens West
Oct. 13-17, 2011
Main Draw Singles
No. 1 Blaz Rola (Ohio State) def. No. 3 Evan King (Michigan) – 6-3, 6-4
Main Draw Doubles
No. 2 Chase Buchanan/Peter Kobelt (Ohio State) def. No. 1 Blaz Rola/Connor Smith (Ohio State) – 8-3