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Feb. 22, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 12 Ohio State men’s tennis team (4-5 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) plays host to No. 22 Virginia Commonwealth Friday at 5 p.m. at the Jesse Owens West Tennis Center in Columbus. The Buckeyes hit the road Sunday to face No. 42 Alabama for a noon match in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

No. 22 VCU
The No. 22 Virginia Commonwealth squad is 9-1 overall this season with a 2-0 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Rams have defeated two Big Ten teams this season, Michigan and Minnesota. The squad is under the direction of 15th-year head coach Paul Kostin who has guided his squad to nine consecutive CAA titles. Kostin has reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last 12 years while his team lost to Stanford in the 2000 NCAA title match.

VCU has two players ranked in the Top 100 of the ITA Division I singles poll. Sophomore Arnaud Lecloerec is ranked No. 11 and leads the way in singles with a 7-1 record at the No. 1 spot, while junior Sergi Arumi is ranked No. 91

No. 42 ALABAMA
No. 42 Alabama (5-3 overall, 0-0 SEC) is under the direction of head coach Billy Pate. Pate, in his third season with the Crimson Tide, guided his 2003 squad to the NCAA Round of 16. Alabama has two players ranked in the Top 100 of the ITA Division I singles poll. Sophomore Luigi D’Agord is ranked No. 46 and leads the way in singles with a 3-4 mark at the No. 1 position. Sophomore Joseph Jung is ranked No. 100.

OSU vs. OPPONENTS
Ohio State trails VCU, 8-3, in the series and leads 4-2 over Alabama. Last season the Buckeyes defeated the Crimson Tide, 6-1, Feb. 14 in Columbus and suffered a 5-2 road loss to the Rams Feb. 20 in Richmond.

THE TUCKER FILE
Head coach Ty Tucker, the 2004 Midwest Region IV Coach of the Year, guided his Buckeye squad to its finest campaign in program history in 2004. He led the team to its fifth-consecutive NCAA appearance where it advanced to the quarterfinal round and finished the season 12th in the nation. Tucker is 112-37 overall and 49-13 against Big Ten opponents during his six-year tenure with the Buckeyes. Tucker is aided by assistant coaches Marc Wurtzman, in his third year, and David Schilling, in his sixth year.

HOME SWEET HOME
After Ohio State’s three home wins over Butler and Xavier Jan. 28, and Arkansas Feb. 11, OSU extended its home win streak to 20 matches. The Buckeyes were undefeated at home in 2004 with 14 victories. The home win streak dates back to the 2003 season starting with a 5-2 win over Purdue April 6.

TEAM RANKED No. 12
Ohio State is ranked No. 12 in the latest ITA Division I team poll released Feb. 22. OSU was ranked No. 15 last week in the team poll. In the preseason rankings, the Buckeyes were positioned at the No. 11 spot. That was the highest preseason team ranking for the Buckeyes and tied the squad’s top national ranking during a season. The Buckeyes moved into the No. 11 spot last season in the March 16 polls and were ranked No. 11 in the Feb. 1 poll this season.

DOUBLES STILL No. 1
The OSU tandem of juniors Scott Green and Ross Wilson are ranked No. 1 in the ITA Division I doubles poll released Feb. 22. Green and Wilson have held the No. 1 doubles spot since the Jan. 13 preseason poll which is the highest ranking for a Buckeye doubles pair in program history. The duo received the No. 1 spot after a stellar fall season. Green and Wilson captured back-to-back national doubles titles at the ITA All-American Championships Oct. 10 and the ITA National Indoor Championships Nov. 7. They became the first doubles team to capture both the ITA All-American title and the National Indoors title in the same season since 1992-93, and are the third team to do so in NCAA history. Green and Wilson went undefeated in fall tournament action with a 9-0 record. The pair posts a 13-3 overall record this season.

Wilson and freshman Drew Eberly are ranked in the Feb. 22 doubles poll. The OSU tandem holds the No. 10 spot with a 9-2 overall mark this season.

SOPHOMORE SENSATIONS
Sophomores Devin Mullings and Joey Atas are ranked in the Feb. 22 ITA Division I singles poll. Mullings holds the No. 56 spot with an 11-8 overall singles mark this season and Atas is positioned at No. 74 with a 19-8 overall singles mark.

BIG TEN OPENER
Ohio State opens conference action March 26 and 27 against Iowa and Minnesota in Columbus, Ohio. Under sixth-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes are 4-1 in Big Ten openers. Last season, OSU opened league play March 14 with a 6-1 win over Penn State in State College, Pa.

LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State wrapped up play Feb. 20 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Chicago. The Buckeyes, the No. 13 seed of the 16-team tournament, made their first appearance in the National Team Indoor Championship since 1977, and went 1-2 in tournament play. Ohio State fell to No. 4 Georgia in first round action, picked up a 4-1 win over No. 13 Kentucky in the consolation quarterfinal round and suffered a 4-1 loss to No. 11 Louisiana State in the match that decided 9th place.

The 16-team field at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship featured top-ranked national tennis programs and included defending national champion Baylor, Big Ten foe Illinois, Boise State, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Harvard, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA and Virginia.

WASHINGTON INVITE
Ohio State fell to No. 17 Tulane and No. 18 Washington Feb. 4 and 5 in tournament action at the Washington Invitational in Seattle. With the 4-3 loss to the Green Wave and a 4-1 loss to the Huskies, the Buckeyes fell to 2-2 this season. The Washington Invitational featured four teams, Ohio State, Tulane, Washington and Minnesota. The shootout was structured as round robin play, with each team playing each other once. There was no match between Minnesota and Ohio State.

HOME OPENER
Ohio State opened the 2005 season at home Jan. 28 with shutouts over Butler and Xavier. With the two wins, the Buckeyes remained undefeated in home openers under sixth-year head coach Ty Tucker.

Freshmen Buckeyes Drew Eberly and Dominic Ozanne made their home debut in the Scarlet and Gray. Eberly was 2-0 in singles as he played the No. 3 position in both matches. He defeated Butler’s Andy Bartish, 7-5, 6-2, and Xavier’s Justin Yeager, 6-3, 6-0. Eberly picked up two wins in doubles action as he paired with Dennis Mertens against Butler and Ross Wilson in the Xavier match. In singles, Ozanne defeated Xavier’s Brian Quinn, 6-0, 6-1, at the No. 6 position.

RICE INVITE
Six Buckeyes represented the team Jan. 21-23 at the Rice Invitational in Houston, Texas. Sophomore Devin Mullings, the No. 4 seed of the tournament, advanced to the semifinal round in singles action. He fell, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6, in the semifinal match to Baylor’s Benjamin Becker, the 2004 NCAA Singles champion and the No. 2 seed of the tournament. In the doubles bracket, sophomores Joey Atas and Chris Klingemann advanced to the final match after knocking off opponents from Baylor and Rice. The OSU tandem was forced to withdraw from the final match because of tournament delays and travel conflicts.

A FINAL TASTE
Buckeyes Drew Eberly and Ross Wilson advanced to the doubles title match Oct. 26 at the ITA Midwest Regional Championship. The OSU tandem suffered an 8-5 loss to the No. 1 seed, Illinois’ Ryler DeHeart and G.D. Jones. Eberly and Wilson, 5-1 in tournament play, advanced to the final round after they defeated teammates Joey Atas and Chris Klingemann, 8-1, in semifinal action.

MULLINGS ADVANCES AT REGIONALS
Sophomore Devin Mullings advanced to the semifinal round after four-consecutive wins in the singles main draw Oct. 25 at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships. Mullings, the No. 13 seed, fell to No. 2 seed Illinois’ Ryler DeHeart, 7-5, 7-5.

DOUBLES PERFECT UP NORTH
The men’s tennis squad competed Oct. 14-17 at the Hidden Duals in Ann Arbor, Mich. The three-day event consisted of a “hidden dual” match format where teams squared off against each other but the outcome of the match was not scored as a team effort. However, each match counted toward the individual players’ records and rankings. The Ohio State team combined for a perfect 5-0 record in doubles.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes return to action March 21 on their spring break trip to face Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Vanderbilt March 23 in Nashville, Tenn. Ohio State is back at home March 26 and 27 as the squad opens Big Ten play against Iowa and Minnesota in Columbus.