COLUMBUS, Ohio Steven Moneke, a junior on the second-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team, became the seventh Buckeye this season to earn Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors Wednesday. It is the third such honor of Moneke’s career.
The seven weekly laurels captured by the Buckeyes this season extended their Big Ten Conference record of honors earned. Ohio State garnered five weekly honors in 2006 and 2007, while Illinois won five in 2006.
Moneke also claimed the accolade March 26. Classmate Bryan Koniecko captured the honor April 2, while sophomore Justin Kronauge won the weekly laurel twice this season (Feb. 13 and March 12) and senior Drew Eberly earned the honor Feb. 20. Before Eberly and Kronauge garnered the accolades, freshman Matt Allare captured the honor Feb. 6, marking three-consecutive weeks a Buckeye garnered the weekly award.
Currently on a 22-match win streak in singles action, Moneke is third on the team in wins with 29 (six losses). Ranked 33rd in the nation, he won six matches at home last weekend against Wright State and conference opponents Penn State and Michigan. Moneke won a singles match at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
In doubles competition, Koniecko and Moneke boast a 29-3 overall record, including a 13-0 ledger at No. 2 doubles, which is first (tied) in the Big Ten. The duo also is on a 17-match win streak.
Against Wright State, Moneke downed Tony Teufel at the top singles spot, 6-1, 6-1. Moneke then beat Adam Slagter of Penn State 6-3, 6-1 at the No. 2 spot, before topping Michigan’s Andrew Mazlin at No. 3 6-3, 6-2.
Moneke and Koniecko won all three of their doubles matches last week by an 8-2 score. The duo’s first victory came against Teufel and Jan Alafriz of Wright State. With the regular-season conference title on the line, the pair downed Slagter and Chris Sherman of Penn State before capping the regular season with a win over Michigan’s Mike Sroczynski and Jason Jung.
Moneke and the No. 1-seeded Buckeyes will begin their 2006 and 2007 Big Ten Tournament title defense at 11 a.m. Friday at the 2008 Big Ten Championship in Iowa City Iowa. The Buckeyes earn a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed in the event that runs Thursday-Sunday.