COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 6 Ohio State men’s tennis team faces No. 17 Pepperdine at 4 p.m. Monday at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif. The Buckeyes are coming off a 4-3 victory at then-No. 18 Texas A&M, improving their away dual record to a perfect 6-0 for the 2009 spring season. Live updates vs. Pepperdine will be available at pepperdinesports.com.
The Buckeyes (16-1; 2-0 Big Ten) have won eight-consecutive matches, shutting out the last seven of eight opponents, including No. 7 Baylor (7-0), No. 12 UCLA (4-0), No. 26 Notre Dame (7-0), No. 35 LSU (7-0) and No. 55 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 their third-consecutive Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles.
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 March 17. The Buckeyes are 16-1 on the season with 11 wins over ranked opponents: No. 7 Baylor, No. 12 UCLA, No. 15 Texas A&M, No. 17 Pepperdine, No. 18 Wake Forest, No. 21 Virginia Tech, No. 23 Washington, No. 26 Notre Dame, No. 34 North Carolina, No. 35 LSU, and No. 73 Stetson. Ohio State is 8-0 at home, while going 6-0 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.
BUCKEYES IN THE RANKINGS
Ohio State has six members listed in the latest ITA standings 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
Ten of 11 teams in the Big Ten Conference are ranked in the latest ITA team standings announced March 17.
6 Ohio State
55 Penn State
68 Michigan State
NO. 17 PEPPERDINE WAVES
The Pepperdine Waves come into the match against the Buckeyes with a 12-6 overall record. The Waves have won five of their last six matches with wins against Michigan, Washington, UNLV, Fresno State and William & Mary. After being down 3-0 against No. 15 Florida State March 12, Pepperdine attempted the rally but lost a 4-3 heartbreaker. The No.14 nationally ranked team of Bassam Biedas and Omar Altmann registered the only doubles win for Pepperdine.
In the ITA standings, Biedas, a native of Cairo, Egypt, holds the No. 27 ranking in singles while Altmann is ranked No. 39. Together, Altmann and Beidas own a 19-3 record.
Altmann was named the February men’s singles WCC Player of the month. He went 4-for-2 in the month of February, including wins over Buckeye and then-No. 6 Justin Kronauge and then-No. 13 Jordan Rux. Altmann and doubles partner Beidas were tabbed February men’s doubles WCC Players of the month. The duo rose in rankings from No. 44 to No. 12 during the month and went 8-0 with wins over then-No. 4 Arnau Brugues and Phillip Stevens of Tulsa, then-No. 28 Richard Wire and Blake Muller of Stanford and then-No. 27 Andrew Mazlin and Mike Scrozynski of Michigan.
OHIO STATE VS. THE WAVES
The match Monday marks only the fourth meeting between Ohio State and Pepperdine. The Buckeyes improved their all-time series record to 2-1 this season after defeating the Waves, 5-2, in the opening round of the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago Feb. 13.
The Buckeyes earned their first victory in the series last season with a 5-2 win in Columbus at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. Before the match at home against the Waves, the Buckeyes last played Pepperdine during the 1978-79 season in Malibu, Calif., losing 8-1.
Two Buckeyes are tied for the most wins on the season with 24 triumphs. Bryan Koniecko, ranked third in singles in the ITA standings, is 24-3 overall, while teammate and No. 21 Justin Kronauge stands at 24-6 this season. Koniecko, the 2008 ITA Indoor Singles Champion, is 13-2 in dual matches this season, posting a 10-2 record at No. 1 singles. Kronauge, who was named the Big Ten Player of the Week last week has won seven-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 double triumphs with 10 (three losses). The duo is 6-2 in dual matches this season and is 4-2 at No. 1 doubles.
AGAINST THE BEST
Senior Bryan Koniecko is 15-2 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 24-3 overall record.
Bryan Koniecko Wins vs. Ranked Opponents in 2008-09:
No. 99 Kellen Damico (Texas), 6-4, 7-5
No. 92 Nicolas Delgado (Virginia Tech), 6-4, 6-0
No. 74 Haythem Abid (UCLA), 6-1, 6-2
No. 50 Marc Spicijaric (Illinois), 6-2, 6-2
No. 46 Austen Childs (Louisville), 7-5, 6-0
No. 44 Bassam Beidas (Pepperdine), 6-0, 6-2
No. 38 Jordan Rux (Baylor), 6-3, 6-4
No. 37 Cory Parr (Wake Forest), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
No. 27 Clay Donato (North Carolina), 6-3, 7-5
No. 23 Justin Kronauge (Ohio State), 7-6, 2-6, 6-3
No. 23 Justin Kronauge (Ohio State), 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
No. 22 Steven Moneke (Ohio State), 3-6, 7-6, 6-4
No. 17 Sanam Singh (Virginia), 2-6, 7-6, 6-1
No. 14 Conor Pollock (Texas A&M), 7-5, 7-6
No. 2 Oleksandr Nedovyesov (Oklahoma State), 6-2, 6-2
Several Buckeyes come into the match against Pepperdine with winning streaks in singles play.
Player Win Streak
Matt Allare 15
Justin Kronauge 7
Shuhei Uzawa 7
Balazs Novak 7
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 (24), senior Steven Moneke (23), sophomores Shuhei Uzawa (22) and Balazs Novak (21) have all won at least 20 singles matches this season.
Koniecko and Moneke have a combined dual match record of 27-3, while Kronauge is 13-3 in dual aciton
Uzawa, a native of Chiba, Japan, has been impressive in his second season for the Buckeyes with a 22-6 overall record and is 9-1 at No. 6 singles. The sophomore has broken his freshman record of 21 triumphs this season, while Novak hit the 20-win mark for the second-consecutive year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Buckeyes return home this weekend for Big Ten action Friday and Sunday when they host Iowa and Minnesota at 3 p.m. and noon, respectively. Location to be announced.