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Buckeyes set off for first road contest

COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team will take on No. 34 Washington at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle, Wash. The Buckeyes are coming off two opening-day wins against Butler and Xavier Wednesday. The Scarlet and Gray defeated both the Bulldogs and Musketeers by 7-0 scores at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center.

FOLLOWING FROM HOME
Live updates and live web streaming of the Buckeyes’ match vs. the Huskies will be available on the official website of Washington athletics at www.gohuskies.cstv.com.

A WINNING WAY
Head coach Ty Tucker has the led the Buckeyes to 20 or more wins in eight of his nine seasons at Ohio State. Last year marked a record-breaking year for the Buckeyes as they compiled a 35-2 record for the first time in school history.

DOUBLE DIGITS FOR THREE
Three Buckeyes have already hit double-digits in the singles win column. Senior Bryan Koniecko has an 11-1 overall record, while classmate Steven Moneke has an 11-3 ledger. Junior Justin Kronauge has the most singles wins for a Buckeye this season with a 13-3 record. Koniecko enters the weekend holding a singles winning streak of 10.

A LOOK AT WASHINGTON
The Huskies come into the 2009 season returning seven players that started seven or more dual matches last year. In 2008, Washington scored key home victories against highly-ranked teams such as Alabama and Pepperdine. After losing to No. 2 Georgia and No. 11 Illinois, the Huskies went on a seven-match win streak. Washington finished Pac-10 Conference play with a 2-5 record an earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. For the second-consecutive season the Huskies ended its run falling to Wisconsin in the first round.

The Huskies have started the 2009 season 18-0 in singles play through three matches. Washington improved to 3-0 with two sweeps against Portland and 67th-ranked San Francisco.

BUCKEYES VS. THE HUSKIES
The Buckeyes trail the all-time series record with the Huskies, 1-2. The match Sunday will be the first meeting between the two programs 2007 when Ohio State swept Washington in Columbus. Washington won the previous meeting in Seattle, 4-1, in 2005.

BUCKEYES TOP RANKING IN NATION
The Scarlet and Gray opened the 2009 season ranked No. 1. The top ranking is the first in Ohio State program history and the team becomes the first program to earn a preseason ranking of No. 1 since the 2006 football squad.

Under head coach Ty Tucker, who enters his tenth season, the Buckeyes have now ranked in the Top 20 in the ITA rankings for five-consecutive years. For the past two seasons, Ohio State has earned a pre-season ranking of No. 3 and finished third behind Georgia and Virginia both in 2007 and 08. Previous to that, the Buckeyes ranked 5th in 2006 and 24th in 2005.

BUCKEYE INDIVIDUALS RANKED HIGH
Ohio State is the only team to have three student-athletes ranked in the singles Top 10 of the ITA NCAA Division I rankings announced Jan. 6.

In singles, the Buckeyes sit among the best collegiate talent in the nation as Bryan Koniecko ranks No. 1, while teammates Steven Moneke and Justin Kronauge rank Nos. 3 and 6, respectively. Koniecko becomes the first Buckeye in the top singles seed since Jeremy Wurtzman in 2004. This ranking comes after Koniecko took the crown at both the 2008 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional with teammate Kronauge receiving runner-up awards in both.

Balazs Novak ranks No. 38 and Shuhei Uzawa sits at No. 77.

In doubles, Moneke and Novak rank No. 11 as the top Buckeye doubles squad. Koniecko and Kronauge pair at No. 31, while Novak and Mike O’Connell rank No. 41.

A GOOD YEAR
The Buckeyes are coming off a record-setting 2007-08 campaign, setting several school records. The Scarlet and Gray set impressive high marks including most wins in a single season (35), longest dual match win streak (23) and best single-season winning percentage (.946).

For the third-consecutive year, Ohio State was crowned the Big Ten regular season and tournament champions. En route to their third-straight title, the Buckeyes went 10-0 during the conference regular season.

Head Coach Ty Tucker won Big Ten Coach of the year honors, while Bryan Koniecko was awarded player of the year. Additionally, Koniecko, along with Steven Moneke and Justin Kronauge were named to the All-Big Ten team. Shortly thereafter, the trio, along with Drew Eberly, earned All-America honors, marking the first time in program history four Buckeyes were granted the coveted status in the same season.

The Buckeyes finished the team portion of its schedule in the NCAA team quarterfinals with only two losses for the third-consecutive year.

HOME SWEET HOME
Ohio State extended its home winning streak to 75 after winning its opening matches Wednesday with 7-0 victories over Butler and Xavier. No other Big Ten team in any sport has won as many games in a row at home than the Buckeyes. The Scarlet and Gray won its 16 home competitions last season in 2008 marking the fifth-consecutive year in which the Buckeyes won all their home matches. The home win streak dates back to the 2003 season, starting with a 5-2 victory over Purdue April 6.

START ME UP
Ohio State extended its opening-day win streak to 20-0 under head coach Ty Tucker Wednesday after the team handed both Butler and Xavier 7-0 losses. (The Buckeyes traditionally play two matches on the opening day of the season). The Buckeyes have never lost their first match of the season under Tucker, who is now in his tenth year at OSU.

LAST TIME OUT VS. BUTLER, XAVIER
The No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team earned its first two wins of the year Wednesday with 7-0 victories over Butler and Xavier at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. Ohio State improved to 20-0 on the opening day of the season under tenth-year head coach Ty Tucker. The two home wins also extend the Buckeyes’ home win streak to 75-consecutive matches dating back to the 2003 season.

OSU is now 10-0 all-time against Butler and improves its record to 21-0 against the Horizon League. The Buckeyes are 7-0 all-time vs. Xavier and are 15-3 against Atlantic 10 Conference members.

Ohio State started each match by claiming both doubles point.

In doubles action against Butler, No. 11 Balazs Novak and Steven Moneke defeated Zach Ervin and Stephen McLoughlin in the No. 2 spot, 8-0, to kick start the Buckeyes’ momentum. In No. 1 doubles, sophomores Matt Allare and Shuhei Uzawa sealed the doubles point for the Scarlet and Gray with an 8-3 victory against Butler’s Chris Herron and Bryce Warren.

In singles, No. 38 Novak improved his overall singles record to 8-3 after defeating Ervin 6-0, 6-2 at the No. 5 spot. Allare downed Butler’s Brandon Bayliss 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4 singles to give the Buckeyes an early 3-0 advantage over the Bulldogs. Soon after, No. 77 Uzawa took down Herron at No. 3 singles in two matches 6-3, 6-1 to give the Buckeyes their first dual win of the season.

No. 11 Novak and Moneke claimed the first doubles match against Xavier by beating Ra’ees Ismail and J.T. Torbeck 8-0 in the No. 2 doubles spot. O’Connell and Uzawa downed Bobby Deye and Brian Starr 8-2 to capture the doubles point for the Buckeyes in the No. 3 spot.

In singles against Xavier, No. 6 Justin Kronauge posted the Buckeyes’ first singles point after winning 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 2 spot. Kronauge now has an overall singles record of 13-3 on the season. Minutes later, Uzawa finished off his second singles match of the day, defeating Ismail 6-0, 6-1 and giving the Buckeyes the early 3-0 lead over the Musketeers. At the No. 5 spot, Allare defeated Deye 6-4, 6-1 to seal the Buckeyes’ second win of the day.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes will return to Columbus to host the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Qualifier Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. This qualifier will be followed by two tough road matches against No. 20 North Carolina (Feb. 6) and No. 26 Wake Forest (Feb. 8).