May 7, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio– Earning the No. 3 seed, the Ohio State men’s tennis team (30-3) will host one of 16 first and second round sites of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships starting Friday. In addition to the Buckeyes, Bryant, Wake Forest and Louisville will look to advance from the Varsity Tennis courts on The Ohio State University campus to the University of Georgia for the Round of 16 next week in Athens, Ga.
Play begins at 10 a.m. Friday as Louisville takes on Wake Forest followed by Ohio State and Bryant at 1 p.m. The winners of the opening-round matches will meet at Noon Saturday. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, students with a valid student ID. Live stats will be available through the Tournament Central Page.
All matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at the Outdoor Varsity Tennis Courts, but in the case of inclement weather, matches will be moved indoors to the Ohio State University Varsity Tennis Center located at 880 W. Henderson Rd.
BUCKEYES IN THE NCAA D1 SINGLES AND DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka were selected to compete in the field of 64 singles players and 32 doubles tandems at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships the NCAA selection committee announced Wednesday. Kobelt was an at-large selection, while Kobelt and Meta were the Big Ten Conference’s automatic doubles qualifier. The two Buckeyes will begin competition May 21, following the NCAA team championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga, on the campus of the University of Georgia.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
BIG TEN ACCOLADES AND TOURNAMENT RECAP
Peter Kobelt and Herkko Pollanen were named First Team All-Big Ten at the annual Big Ten tournament banquet April 24. Kevin Metka, Ralf Steinbach and Hunter Callahan earned second team laurels. Buckeye head coach Ty Tucker was recognized as Big Ten Coach of the Year for the ninth-consecutive year and 10th overall.
Additionally, Ohio State claimed its eighth tournament title in nine years after defeating No. 2 seed Illinois, 4-2. Against the Fighting Illini, the Buckeyes won the doubles point for the 24th time in 2014. Buckeyes won both matches on Nos. 2 and 1, respectively, by four games apiece. Pollanen and Metka defeated Jared Hiltzik and Alex Jesse, 8-4, while No. 57 Peter Kobelt and Ralf Steinbach upset fourth-ranked Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon, 8-4. Ohio State won four first sets in singles vs. the Illini. Metka put the Scarlet and Gray within one point of the title when he won his second-set tiebreaker to claim a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) match over Jesse on court No. 6. Callahan claimed match point for the Buckeyes, winning 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 against Ross Guignon on court No. 5. With the memorable win, he extends his singles win streak to 11-consectutive matches.
OHIO STATE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
In NCAA action, under 15th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have compiled a 36-14 (.720) record. Ohio State has advanced to the championship final once (2009), while reaching the quarterfinals nine times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and the semifinals three times (2009, 2011, 2013). All of Ohio State’s NCAA appearances have come under Tucker (15-consecutive appearances).
The Scarlet and Gray dealt Louisville a 4-1 loss at the Varsity Tennis Center earlier this year. The Buckeyes have never faced Louisville, Wake Forest or Bryant in the NCAA tournament. The meeting vs. the Bulldogs will be the first match between the two schools Friday.
The 2014 NEC Tournament Champions, Bryant earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs will begin NCAA play with an 18-10 overall record and have won eight-consecutive matches heading into the first round. The opening match will mark the first meeting between the Buckeyes and Bulldogs in school history.
A LOOK AT LOUISVILLE
The Cardinals travel to Columbus with a 21-7 overall record. Last time out, Louisville fell to USF in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference by a score of 4-1. The Buckeyes defeated the Cardinals earlier this year with a 4-1 win in Columbus during the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
SCOUTING WAKE FOREST
Wake Forest received an at-large bid into the championships and is making its 14th appearance in program history. The team posted a 14-13 overall record as the Demon Deacons head to Columbus. Last time out, Wake Forest fell just short, 4-3, to Virginia Tech in the opening round of the ACC Championship. The Demon Deacons have three players ranked in the latest ITA singles rankings: No. 29 Romain Bogaerts, No. 94 Adam Lee and No. 110 Maksim Kan. In doubles, Pedro Dumont and Johnathan Ho are No. 50, while Lee and Dumont are No. 54.
BUCKEYES IN ITA RANKINGS
Five Buckeyes are ranked in the ITA individual standings released April 22. Peter Kobelt paces the Buckeyes with a No. 11 ranking, while Ralf Steinbach and Herkko Pollanen are Nos. 101 and 109, respectively. In doubles, Kobelt and Kevin Metka are ranked at No. 3. The pair of Kobelt and Ralf Steinbach is No. 24.
HOME, STREAK, HOME
The Ohio State men’s tennis program had a historic 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.
In singles play, Kevin Metka, Ralf Steinbach and Peter 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 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 are a perfect 17-0 in 2014.
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 first on the OSU all-time doubles wins list with 135 victories and recently passed former Buckeye and current associate head coach Justin Kronauge (2007-10) for the program record with an 8-6 win in the B1G semifinal victory over Northwestern April 26.
In singles, Kobelt has notched 120 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 255 victories, which is currently second-most all time. He passed former Buckeye Bryan Koniecko (2006-10) for second with a doubles victory over the Illini in the conference tournament final.
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.