May 25, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second time in three years a Buckeye doubles team will compete for a NCAA title. To top it off, both of them grew up in the surroundings of Columbus, Ohio. Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka will play in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Doubles Championship final Monday afternoon following a 7-6 (2), 6-3 win vs. Oklahoma State’s Arjun Kadhe and Jakob Sude in the semifinals Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
“It’s an unbelievable accomplishment for Ohio State and the tennis program,” head coach Ty Tucker said. “They have a deep appreciation for the Scarlet and Gray and what it means to be a Buckeye.”
The Ohio State duo will face Hunter Reese and Mikelis Libietis of Tennessee in the title match at the conclusion of the men’s and women’s singles finals, which will begin at noon. Each of the NCAA championships matches will be streamed live on ncaa.com. A win Monday would not only give Kobelt and Metka a national crown, but also a selection into the 2014 U.S. Open doubles main draw beginning Aug. 25.
“It’s a special feeling knowing that both Kevin and I grew up through juniors together around Columbus,” said Kobelt, a native of New Albany, Ohio. “Our service game has helped us in tiebreakers this year and today we continued that. We are going to have to play our best tennis tomorrow to come out with a victory.”
With the win, Kobelt, who is the Ohio State all-time career doubles wins leader with 142 victories, ties the Ohio State single-season record of 44 wins set by former Buckeye Chase Buchanan in 2012. Buchanan along with Blaz Rola became the first OSU doubles tandem to win the national crown two years ago. Metka follows with 43 victories in 2014, which is third-best in school history.
This past week marked the first time the third-ranked duo in the country have been paired together since March 28, but that hasn’t slowed them down, advancing through four matches in four days to get to championship Monday.
“It’s crazy we are both from the same area and we’ve gotten to this point,” Metka, a native of Worthington, Ohio, said. “Peter and I have great chemistry together on the court. We owe a lot of credit to our coaches who have helped us improve as tennis players since coming to Ohio State.”
The two Buckeyes won the first set after claiming the tiebreaker, 7-2. Kobelt and Metka broke the Cowboys during the seventh game to take a 4-3 advantage but were broken back to 5-all to lead to a tiebreaker. Ohio State quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead and went on to win the first set following some solid strikes at net. In the second set, Kobelt sent a strong forehand crosscourt to break Oklahoma State once again 5-3 and clinched match point on serve. The OSU pair improves to 30-6 overall.
Hunter Reese and Mikelis Libietis advanced to the final following a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Harrington/Maden of Clemson in the semifinals. The Volunteer duo captured the 2013 ITA All-American Championships and has been ranked in the Top 2 in the ITA polls during the spring season.
“They are an aggressive team and we will have to serve well to have a shot,” associate head coach Justin Kronauge said. “Our guys have done everything right to get to this point and will need to put pressure on them early tomorrow.”
How they reached the Finals:
May 22 – def. No. 30 Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov (South Carolina) – 6-1, 6-2
May 23 – def. No. 26 Leonard Stakhovsky/Russell Bader (Penn State) – 6-1, 7-6 (3)
May 24 – vs. No. 16 Lloyd Glasspool and Søren Hess-Olesen (Texas) – w/o
May 25 – def. No. 14 Arjun Kadhe and Jakob Sude (Oklahoma State) – 7-6 (2), 6-3