March 11, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team is set to play one non-conference road match during its spring break week, traveling to No. 16 Georgia at 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday in Athens, Ga. The Buckeyes (17-1) are returning to the courts after dropping their first match of the season last week at No. 4 Oklahoma, while the Bulldogs are winners of their last four matches, defeating Ole Miss last time out on their home courts.
A LOOK AT GEORGIA
The Bulldogs (7-5) jumped up to No. 16 in the latest ITA team rankings on Tuesday after collecting four-consecutive wins against Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Ole Miss to begin SEC play with a 3-0 mark. Georgia is currently led by Austin Smith’s 25 singles victories, while Hernus Pieters is riding a team-leading seven-match singles winning streak. In doubles, Georgia’s No. 3 team of Smith and Eric Diaz is 9-1 in dual matches, 3-0 in SEC play, and has won four in a row.
TOP 25 BATTLES
Entering its 10th meeting of the season vs. a Top 25 team, Ohio State boasts a 121-51 (.708) record vs. Top 25 competition since 2000. The Buckeyes are 7-1 vs. opponents that are 16th in the country and a 13-2 record as a No.1-ranked team.
The Buckeyes are 8-1 against teams ranked in the Top 25 in 2014 (No. 17 Kentucky, 4-0; No. 8 Texas A&M, 4-3; No. 12 Florida, 4-1, No. 10 Texas, 4-2; No. 1 Virginia, 4-3; No. 3 USC, 4-1; No. 10 Notre Dame, 4-2 and No. 12 North Carolina, 4-1).
• The Buckeyes have been ranked No. 1 in the country for four-consecutive weeks in the ITA Division I Team Rankings.
• Ohio State has won 183-consecutive matches in Columbus (11-0 in 2014). The streak is the longest active among Division I sports and one win shy of the record (184 – Stanford women’s tennis)
• The Buckeyes have been ranked in the ITA Top 10 for 256-consecutive matches (beginning March 7, 2006)
• Since 1999, Ohio State is 401-49 (.892) when ranked in the ITA Top 25.
• Ohio State won its first national team indoor title Feb. 17 with a 4-1 win over USC in Houston, Texas.
• Ohio State also has been victorious in 84-consecutive regular-season Big Ten matches, dating back to 2005.
• For the eighth-consecutive season, Ohio State was crowned the Big Ten regular-season champions and won the conference tournament title seven of the last eight seasons in 2013.
LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes fell, 4-1, at No. 4 Oklahoma March 7 in Norman, Okla., marking the first loss for the team this year, after starting the 2014 dual season 17-0 (best start in program history). Senior Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka came out on top in their doubles match at No. 1, defeating No. 46 Dane Webb and Andrew Harris, 8-7 (7-2), but the Sooners earned wins on Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, to claim the doubles point. Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach was the lone Buckeye to earn a singles victory, downing Peerakit Siributwong, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 5 singles. Oklahoma earned wins on court Nos. 3,6 and 4 to claim the Top 5 victory.
DUAL SEASON NOTES
• With a 17-1 overall record, the Buckeyes own a 366-46 (.889) record as a Top 25 team since 2001.
• Redshirt junior Hunter Callahan leads the Buckeyes in wins with 19 victories in singles followed by redshirt junior Kevin Metka and senior Peter Kobelt with 18 and 17 victories, respectively.
• In dual matches, Callahan is 15-1, while Metka is 14-2 in 2014. Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach also has 14 wins for the dual season.
• Kobelt has the Top dual record at No. 1 singles (10-1).
• In doubles, Kobelt and Metka are 24-5 overall with a 7-2 mark vs. nationally-ranked pairs.
IN THE RANKINGS
Ohio State has four members ranked in the latest ITA polls. In singles, senior Peter Kobelt is ninth in the country with a 10-1 mark in dual play. Redshirt junior Hunter Callahan is 88th in the country, while sophomore Herkko Pollanen is No. 120. In doubles, Kobelt and redshirt junior Kevin Metka are fourth in the nation with a 24-5 overall record.
Guided by director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes defeated four Top 25 teams, including two Top 5 programs en route to the national title to put Ohio State at its best start to a season in program history. The Buckeyes downed No. 12 Florida in the first round, 4-1, Feb. 14 with Hunter Callahan clinching and No. 13 Texas, 4-2, Feb. 15 in the quarterfinals. Redshirt junior Kevin Metka clinched the match to send the Buckeyes to a semifinal against No. 1 Virginia.
The semifinal proved to be a 4-3 classic with Metka pulling off the upset with a 6-5 (7-5), 5-6 (5-7), 6-5 (12-10) victory, saving two match points Feb. 16. No. 3 USC was next, with Ohio State earning the doubles points and claimed the title with a 4-1 win over the Trojans Feb. 17. Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach clinched the championship for Ohio State with a 6-5 (7-4), 6-4 win over Connor Farren on court No. 4.
Ohio State returns to Columbus next week to host conference-rival Michigan at 6 p.m. ET March 21 at the Varsity Tennis Center. As always, admission is free.