COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 6 Ohio State men’s tennis team returns to Big Ten dual action this weekend with three home matches. The Buckeyes welcome No. 52 Iowa Friday at 3 p.m. at the Stickney Tennis Center and host a dual doubleheader against No. 28 Minnesota at noon and non-conference opponent Toledo at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Ohio State (17-1; 2-0 Big Ten) has won nine-consecutive matches, shutting out seven of the last nine opponents, including nationally-ranked No. 10 Baylor (7-0), No. 11 UCLA (4-0), No. 27 Notre Dame (7-0), No. 31 LSU (7-0) and No. 53 Penn State (7-0).
In Big Ten play, the Buckeyes are 93-5 in the last 98 league matches, including postseason play. The Scarlet and Gray went a perfect 13-0 last season against Big Ten opponents en route to its third-consecutive Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Buckeyes have won a school-record 81-consecutive home matches dating back to the 2002-03 season. No other Big Ten team in any sport has won as many contests in a row at home. The Scarlet and Gray won all 16 home competitions last season, marking the fifth-consecutive year it has achieved perfection on its home courts. The streak began in 2003 with a 5-2 victory over Purdue April 6.
OHIO STATE RANKS HIGH
Ohio State is the sixth-ranked team in the nation in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Rankings announced Tuesday. The Buckeyes are 17-1 on the season with 12 wins over ranked opponents: No. 10 Baylor, No. 11 UCLA, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 18 Pepperdine (twice), No. 25 Wake Forest, No. 21 Virginia Tech, No. 26 Washington, No. 27 Notre Dame, No. 31 LSU, No. 42 North Carolina and then-No. 65 Stetson. Ohio State is 8-0 at home, while going 7-0 on the road in dual competition. The Buckeyes are 2-1 at a neutral site after participating in the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Chicago.
Under 10th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have now been ranked in the Top 25 in the ITA rankings for nine-consecutive years. For the past two seasons, Ohio State has earned a preseason ranking of No. 3 and finished third behind Georgia and Virginia both in 2007 and 08. In 2009, the Buckeyes received a No. 1 preseason ranking.
OHIO STATE IN THE RANKINGS
The Buckeyes have six members listed in the latest ITA singles and doubles polls announced March 17. In singles, Bryan Koniecko is No. 3, while Steven Moneke and Justin Kronauge are Nos. 8 and 21, respectively. Sophomore Shuhei Uzawa sits at No. 81 in singles and classmate Balazs Novak is No. 88. Rounding out the list for Ohio State is Matt Allare who is No. 100. The Buckeyes are the only program in Division I to list two members in the Top 10 and are one of two teams, along with Virginia, to have three players ranked among the Top 25.
In doubles, Ohio State ranks three pairs in the latest ITA rankings. Moneke and Kronauge stand as the 36th-ranked doubles team in the nation. Moneke and Novak pair up to be No. 41, while Moneke and Koniecko stand at No. 66.
BIG TEN RANKINGS
Eight of 11 teams in the Big Ten Conference are ranked in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Rankings announced Tuesday.
6 Ohio State
53 Penn State
THE IOWA HAWKEYES
Iowa, currently 52nd in the nation, is 10-2 overall for the 2008-09 campaign winning eight of the last nine dual matches. Last time out, Iowa defeated Big Ten opponents then-No. 40 Michigan and then-No. 68 Michigan State, 4-3, in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes’ two losses came against nationally-ranked opponents, No. 69 Denver and No. 20 Arizona.
IOWA IN THE RANKINGS
In doubles competition, senior Christian Bierich and sophomore Nikita Zotov are ranked 55th nationally and freshman Will Vasos and junior Tommy McGeorge are ranked 15th in the Midwest regional rankings. McGeorge and Vasos are undefeated in dual match play at 12-0. Additionally, Bierich is ranked 15th in Midwest regional singles.Bierich is 21-6 overall in singles this season posting a 7-5 record at No. 1 singles.
OHIO STATE VS. THE HAWKEYES
Ohio State leads the all-time series against Iowa, 28-21. Ohio State has won the last nine meetings, all of which have come under current head coach Ty Tucker.
THE MINNESOTA GOPHERS
Minnesota (13-3; 2-0 Big Ten) is ranked 28th in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Rankings announced Tuesday. The Gophers have won 10 of the last 12 matches including wins against nationally ranked opponents No. 25 Wake Forest, No. 51 Michigan, No. 60 East Tennessee State, and No. 65 UNLV.
MINNESOTA IN THE RANKINGS
Minnesota has one member in singles and one doubles pair ranked nationally in the latest ITA singles and doubles polls announced March 17. Freshman Ishay Hadash is No. 62 in singles and has a 15-7 singles and 13-7 doubles record. Hadash has defeated three nationally-ranked opponents including then-No. 11 Enrique Olivares of East Tennessee State 7-6, 6-2.
In doubles, Tobias Wernet and Michael Sicora are No. 77 in the nation and are 11-7 overall on the season. During the 2008 Wilson/ITA Regional Championships, the Gopher duo upset then-No. 17 Moritz Baumann and Marek Michalicka of Wisconsin, 8-6, as the pair went on to advance to the semifinals of the doubles draw.
OHIO STATE VS. THE GOPHERS
Minnesota leads the all-time series against Ohio State, 38-23. However, the Buckeyes have claimed the last six meetings and head coach Ty Tucker is 9-3 against the Gophers.
THE TOLEDO ROCKETS
From the MAC Conference, Toledo is 11-7 overall after beginning the season 0-2 with losses against No. 9 Illinois and No. 45 Indiana. The Rockets then went on to win nine of the next 11 matches including wins against Butler, Wright State, and Cleveland State. Toledo is 7-1 at home this season but 0-3 against Big Ten opponents.
OHIO STATE VS. THE ROCKETS
Ohio State leads the all-time series 24-2 against the Rockets. The Buckeyes are 8-0 against the Rockets under head coach Ty Tucker.
Two Buckeyes are tied for the most wins on the season with 25 triumphs. Bryan Koniecko, ranked third in singles in the ITA standings, is 25-3 overall, while teammate and No. 21 Justin Kronauge stands at 25-6 this season. Koniecko, the 2008 ITA Indoor Singles Champion, is 14-2 in dual matches this season, posting a 11-2 record at No. 1 singles. Kronauge, who was named the Big Ten Player of the Week last week has won eight-consecutive matches including a 9-0 record at No. 3 singles.
In doubles, the Buckeye pair of Matt Allare and Kronauge leads the team in doubles triumphs with 10 (four losses). The duo is 6-3 in dual matches this season and is 4-3 at No. 1 doubles.
AGAINST THE BEST
Senior Bryan Koniecko is 18-3 against opponents who are nationally ranked in the ITA/NCAA Division I poll. For the season, Koniecko, currently third the in latest ITA standings, owns a 25-3 overall record.
Bryan Koniecko Wins vs. Ranked Opponents in 2008-09:
No. 116 Slavko Bijelica (Purdue), 6-4, 6-4
Then-No. 99 Kellen Damico (Texas), 6-4, 7-5
Then-No. 92 Nicolas Delgado (Virginia Tech), 6-4, 6-0
No. 91 Patrik Fischer (Washington), 6-1, 7-5
No. 63 Marc Spicijaric (Illinois), 6-2, 6-2
No. 51 Haythem Abid (UCLA), 6-1, 6-2
No. 49 Jordan Rux (Baylor), 6-3, 6-4
No. 40 Austen Childs (Louisville), 7-5, 6-0
No. 36 Clay Donato (North Carolina), 6-3, 7-5
No. 27 Bassam Beidas (Pepperdine), 6-0, 6-2
No. 27 Bassam Biedas (Pepperdine), 6-4, 6-4
No. 26 Cory Parr (Wake Forest), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
No. 23 Sanam Singh (Virginia), 2-6, 7-6, 6-1
No. 21 Justin Kronauge (Ohio State), 7-6, 2-6, 6-3
No. 21 Justin Kronauge (Ohio State), 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
No. 16 Conor Pollock (Texas A&M), 7-5, 7-6 (3)
No. 8 Steven Moneke (Ohio State), 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
No. 2 Oleksandr Nedovyesov (Oklahoma State), 6-2, 6-2
Several Buckeyes come into the match against Iowa with winning streaks in singles play.
Player Win Streak
Matt Allare 16
Justin Kronauge 8
Shuhei Uzawa 8
Balazs Novak 8
Steven Williams 5
SEVERAL BUCKEYES HIT 20-WIN MARK
Five members of the team have won 20 singles matches. Senior Bryan Koniecko and junior Justin Kronauge (25), senior Steven Moneke (24), sophomores Shuhei Uzawa (23) and Balazs Novak (22) have all won at least 20 singles matches this season.
Koniecko and Moneke have a combined dual match record of 29-3, while Kronauge is 14-3 in dual action.
Uzawa, a native of Chiba, Japan, has been impressive in his second season for the Buckeyes with a 23-6 overall record and is 10-1 at No. 6 singles. The sophomore has broken his freshman record of 21 triumphs already this year, while Novak hit the 20-win mark for the second-consecutive year.
MONEKE AND KONIECKO CLIMB THE ALL-TIME LIST
Senior co-captains Steven Moneke and Bryan Koniecko continue to rise in the all-time career wins list for singles and doubles. In singles, Moneke, a two-time ITA All-American, has 125 career singles wins and is one victory away from tying Roger Smith (1983-86) for second on the all-time career singles wins list. Koniecko, a two-time All-American, has 117 career wins as a Buckeye and most recently passed Devin Mullings (2003-07) for third on the all-time career wins list. For the past four seasons, both Moneke and Koniecko have had at least 20 singles wins each campaign
In doubles, Koniecko has 108 career victories and is third on the all-time career list, which is the most for an active member. Moneke began the season 13th all-time in career wins and is now fifth. Moneke has 88 career doubles wins and passed Stephen Miguel (85; 1987-1990) after defeating David Galic and Jordan Rux of Baylor, 9-7, with teammate Justin Kronauge.
BUCKEYES TOP COMBINED CAREER WINS LIST
Bryan Koniecko and Steven Moneke sit alone at the top of the combined career wins in program history. Koniecko, a native of Long Island, N.Y., is first on the all-time combined wins list with 225 (117, 108), while classmate Moneke is second with 213 triumphs (125, 88). The two Buckeyes passed Ross Wilson with 208 (90, 118; 2003-06), Roger Smith with 204 (126, 78; 1983-86) and former teammate Drew Eberly with 193 (75, 118; 2005-08).
Justin Kronauge, a junior from Dayton, Ohio, passed Chris Porter for fifth all-time with 179 combined wins (106, 73; 1997-01) after defeating Mahmoud Kamel of Pepperdine 6-4, 6-1, and now has 180 victories in less than three complete seasons with the Scarlet and Gray.
THE BIG TEN’S BEST
Three Buckeyes have been honored as Big Ten Player of Week as announced by the conference this season. Steven Moneke, Bryan Koniecko and Justin Kronauge have been recipients of the weekly award.
Moneke, a senior co-captain, was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week Feb. 24, his second-consecutive. Moneke helped the No. 3 Buckeyes to 7-0 victories against No. 25 Notre Dame Feb. 21 and then-No. 14 LSU Feb. 22. Highlighting Moneke’s weekend was his No. 1 singles performance against the Tigers, where the two-time All-American defeated No. 5 Michael Venus, the 2008 ITA All-American singles Champion, 6-2, 6-3. Moneke, a native of Alten-Buseck, Germany, is ranked eighth in the nation.
Senior co-captain Koniecko received the weekly honor Feb. 10. In their first road trip of the dual season, the Buckeyes collected two wins against No. 22 North Carolina (7-0) and No. 21 Wake Forest (4-0), respectively. Koniecko defeated two ranked opponents en route to recording singles and doubles victories in both contests. With the singles victories over then-No. 73 Clay Donato of North Carolina and then-No. 34 Cory Parr of Wake Forest, Koniecko improved to 8-1 on the season against nationally-ranked opponents. He also moved into a tie for sixth place in the Ohio State career singles record book with 108 wins with assistant coach Jeremy Wurtzman. The two-time All-American improved his 2008-09 singles record to 16-1, which includes 15-consecutive wins.
Kronauge was named Big Ten Player of Week March 17 and was his first weekly laurel this season and third of his career. Ranked 20th in the latest ITA polls, Kronauge won two singles matches and a doubles match against Cleveland State and No. 18 Texas A&M as the Buckeyes improved to 16-1 overall. With Ohio State down 3-1 against the Aggies, Kronauge began the Buckeye rally at No. 3 singles when he gave Ohio State its first point following a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 22 Wil Spencer. Now, 9-0 at No. 3 singles, Kronauge has put together a seven-match win streak. In doubles, then-No. 68 Kronauge and Matt Allare gave the Vikings’ Phil Orno and Ryan Hamning their first loss of the season at No. 1, winning, 8-5.
BUCKEYES VS. BIG TEN OPPONENTS
Last season, Ohio State recorded a combined Big Ten singles record of 53-7 and a total Big Ten doubles record of 25-5. Six Buckeyes went through singles play undefeated, including 10-0 ledgers by 2008 ITA All-Americans Bryan Koniecko, Steven Moneke and Justin Kronauge. The All-America Buckeye trio has combined for a career Big Ten singles record of 69-4.
Ohio State has won 42-consecutive matches against Big Ten opponents and is now 93-5 in its last 98 league matches, including postseason play. The Buckeyes have not lost to a Big Ten opponent in an away dual match since the 2004-05 campaign, dropping a 5-2 decision at Northwestern.
LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State improved to 17-1 on the season after defeating then-No. 17 Pepperdine, 6-1, in Malibu, Calif. It was the second victory against the Waves this season. The Buckeyes dropped Pepperdine Feb. 13 in the opening round of the 2009 ITA Team Indoor Championship, 4-2, in Chicago.
Monday, Ohio State got off to a quick start after capturing the doubles point. No. 41 Steven Moneke and Balazs Novak won the first doubles match of the day, 8-4, against Hugh Clarke and Alex Llompart. Shuhei Uzawa and Bryan Koniecko improved to 7-1 in dual matches this season with an 8-4 victory over Mahmoud Kamel and Alex Moreno, sealing the point for the Buckeyes.
At Nos. 1 and 4 singles, No. 3 Koniecko and No. 21 Justin Kronauge improved their team-high 25 wins with straight victories. Koniecko defeated No. 27 Bassam Beidas 6-4, 6-4 for his 18th victory against nationally-ranked opponents this season. No. 21 Kronauge downed Kamel 6-4, 6-0, and is 9th on the all-time career singles wins list with 95 victories.
With the Buckeyes needing only one more win to claim the match, Allare proved to be clutch with his straight-set victory against Jenson Turner 6-3, 6-3. Allare now is a winner of 16-consecutive singles matches and improves to 19-2 overall.
Making his Buckeye debut at No. 2 singles was freshman Chase Buchanan, who joined Ohio State in the 2008 early signing period as the No. 1 ranked player in the nation. The New Albany, Ohio, native faced tough competition in his first start against No. 39 Omar Altmann and lost 6-4, 6-4 to the Pepperdine junior.
Head coach Ty Tucker has led the Buckeyes to 20 or more wins in eight of nine complete seasons at Ohio State. Last year marked a record-breaking year for the Buckeyes as they compiled a 35-2 record, earning the most wins in a single season in school history.
NEXT TIME OUT
Ohio State will begin a five-match road swing against Kentucky at 3 p.m. April 1 at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky.