COLUMBUS, Ohio The second-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team beat No. 42 Penn State, 6-1 Saturday at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center. The win, coupled with Michigan’s 5-2 loss at Indiana means the Buckeyes are the 2008 Big Ten outright regular-season champions for the third-consecutive year. The Buckeyes improve to 28-1 overall and 9-0 in the conference.
Ohio State now has won 35-consecutive Big Ten matches and is 86-5 in its last 91 contests, including the postseason.
The Buckeyes began the match playing at their outdoor facility, but rain forced the match to be moved to their indoor venue. The doubles point was contested outdoors. Justin Kronauge and Drew Eberly, ranked No. 23 in the country, paired up at the top doubles spot and downed No. 14 Brendan Lynch and Michael James by an 8-6 score. The 19th-ranked tandem of Steven Moneke and Bryan Koniecko beat Adam Slagter and Chris Sherman at the No. 2 doubles spot, 8-5, to seal the doubles point sweep for Ohio State.
At the No. 3 spot Balazs Novak and Mike O’Connell were upset by James Dwyer and Eddie Bourchier, 8-6
Owning a 1-0 advantage, the Scarlet and Gray proceeded to win five of the six singles contests, all in straight sets.
Ranked 18th in the nation, Koniecko, a native of Long Island, N.Y., downed No. 63-ranked James at the top singles spot by a 6-2, 6-3 margin.
Kronauge, who is ranked No. 14, won his match for the Scarlet and Gray at No. 3 singles. The Buckeye sophomore from Centerville, Ohio, claimed a 6-2, 6-1, victory over Lynch.
An Alten-Busick, Germany, native, Moneke faced Slagter at No. 2 singles. Moneke, ranked 24th, claimed his match by a 6-3, 6-1 score to seal the match for Ohio State.
Novak, a freshman from Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Guillaume St-Maurice at No. 6 singles.
Eberly then beat Eddie Bourchier at No. 4 singles. The Lake Forest, Ill., native won 6-3, 6-3. Eberly has now been a part of three Big Ten title winning teams during his career as a Buckeye. He was especially pleased with this one.
“We had lots of questions coming into this season, so this title is especially sweet,” Eberly said. “The younger guys have really stepped up and contributed. Our top three players have carried us all year, so it’s great for them too. Tomorrow we have to come out and play a tough Michigan team, so we have to be ready for that.”
Uzawa, of Chiba, Japan, was the lone Buckeye to fall on the day. Dwyer beat Uzawa 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 at the No. 4 singles spot.
Ty Tucker, Ohio State head coach, was pleased with how his team played on the day.
“It’s really nice to win the Big Ten, but we have another really tough match tomorrow,” Tucker said. “We still have lots to do so we can’t relax for a second.”
Ohio State welcomes Michigan at noon Sunday for its final match of the regular season. The match will be held at Stickney Tennis Center, weather permitting.
No. 2 Ohio State 6, No. 75 Penn State 1
April 19, 2008
Varsity Tennis Center/Stickney Tennis Center
1. No. 14 Bryan Koniecko (OSU) def. No. 63 Michael James (PSU) 6-2, 6-3
2. No. 24 Steven Moneke (OSU) def. Adam Slagter (PSU) 6-3, 6-1
3. No. 21 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. Brendan Lynch (PSU) 6-2, 6-1
4. James Dwyer (PSU) def. Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) 7-6, 6-7, 1-0
5. Drew Eberly (OSU) def. Eddie Bourchier (PSU) 6-3, 6-3
6. Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Guillaume St-Maurice (PSU) 6-1, 6-1
2. No. 13 Drew Eberly/Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. No. 14 Brendan Lynch/Michael James (PSU) 8-6
1. No. 27 Steven Moneke/Bryan Koniecko (OSU) def. Adam Slagter/Chris Sherman (PSU) 8-2
3. James Dwyer/Eddie Bourchier (PSU) def. Balazs Novak/Mike O’Connell (OSU) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,1,2,5,6,4)