May 12, 2004
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s tennis team (23-4 overall, 11-2 Big Ten) opens play in the 2004 NCAA Men’s Tennis Team Tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday against South Carolina (15-13). The first two rounds of the event are held at campus sites. The Buckeyes and Gamecocks travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the start of the tournament. No. 15 North Carolina (22-4), one of 16 host schools in the opening rounds, will take on South Carolina State (17-6) at 10 a.m. Saturday. The winners of the OSU vs. South Carolina match and the UNC vs. South Carolina State battle will square off at 1 p.m. Sunday with the winner moving on to the Round of 16 in Tulsa, Okla., May 22-31 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the University of Tulsa campus.
NCAA EVENT BECOMING A REGULAR STOP FOR BUCKEYES
Ohio State received word May 5 it had made the NCAA men’s tennis team tournament for the fifth-consecutive season while watching the nationally-televised selection show on ESPNews. Head coach Ty Tucker, who has guided the Buckeyes to all five postseason NCAA events in school history, and his squad knew the squad would make the 64-team field. The only question was the starting locale. With Chapel Hill, N.C., as the backdrop, the Buckeyes hope to build upon the success Tucker has developed during his 5-year tenure as head coach in Columbus.
OHIO STATE NCAA HISTORY
Tucker’s first team in Columbus in 1999-00 also marked the beginning of Ohio State’s current string of NCAA team tournament appearances. The Buckeyes defeated Boise State in round one (4-3) before falling to Texas (4-1). Another first round victory came in 2001 vs. VCU (4-3) with Tennessee taking down the Buckeyes 4-1 in the second-round match. Vanderbilt, who finished second in the 2003 NCAA Championships, won a hard-fought 4-3 match in round one of the 2002 Tournament. Ohio State’s best showing was last year when the Buckeyes made the Round of 16 following a 4-0 win over Arkansas and a 4-3 victory vs. Kentucky. California prevailed 4-0 in the Round of 16 to end the Buckeyes’ run a year ago.
Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament
W, 4-3 vs. Boise State- First Round
L, 1-4 vs. Texas- Second Round
W, 4-3 vs. Va. Commonwealth- First Round
L, 1-4 vs. Tennessee- Second Round
L, 3-4 vs. Vanderbilt- First Round
W, 4-0 vs. Arkansas- First Round
W, 4-3 vs. Kentucky, Second Round
L, 0-4 vs. California, Round of 16
BUCKEYES VS. THE 2004 NCAA FIELD
The Buckeyes played in 10 matches during the regular season against eight teams that made the 2004 NCAA field. Ohio State played one stretch of five-consecutive matches and six of seven overall vs. NCAA squads from Feb. 1-Feb. 28. The streak began with a loss to Georgia followed by wins over Clemson, Vanderbilt and Alabama. VCU downed the Buckeyes before a win over Notre Dame. Ohio State has faced 44 of the 2004 64-team NCAA field at one time or another in the history of men’s tennis at OSU. The Buckeyes are 110-216-2 all time vs. teams in the 2004 NCAA field.
PROBABLE OSU NCAA LINEUP Doubles Rcd. No. 1 Jeremy Wurtzman/Joey Atas 24-5 No. 2 Scott Green/Ross Wilson 25-13 No. 3 Brenton Contini/D. Mertens 12-10
Singles: Rcd No. 1 Jeremy Wurtzman 37-3 No. 2 Joey Atas 25-8 No. 3 Chris Klingemann 14-8 No. 4 Devin Mullins 21-5 No. 5 Ross Wilson 21-9 No. 6 Dennis Mertens 29-8
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina (15-13, 3-8 in the Southeastern Conference) split a pair of conference tournament matches prior to learning the team would participate in its 11th-consecutive NCAA tournament last week. The Gamecocks are coached by Kent DeMars. In 31 seasons, DeMars has compiled a career record of 523-284. In 20 years at USC, he is 309-213.
SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA
Clemson won its eighth match in a row as the Tigers’ men’s tennis team upset 15th-ranked North Carolina 4-2 in the 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship semifinals. It was only the fourth loss of the season for North Carolina which fell to 22-4 overall. It was the first time this year the Tar Heels lost to a team ranked lower than them in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national rankings. UNC is coached by Sam Paul. He has a record of 171-94 in 11 years at North Carolina.
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
South Carolina State University avenged a regular-season loss to Florida A&M University with a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Rattlers in the finals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Men’s Tennis Championship in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The Bulldogs (17-6) captured their first title in 17 years.
OHIO STATE AT THE BIG TEN TOURNEY
At the 2004 Big Ten Championship, Ohio State received the No. 2 seed and a first round bye. The Buckeyes then beat Wisconsin and Minnesota by 4-0 scores before falling to No. 1 Illinois 4-1. Jeremy Wurtzman, ranked No. 3 nationally, avenged an early season loss to No. 1 Brian Wilson at No. 1 singles in the title match, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
SECOND IN BIG TEN REGULAR SEASON
The Buckeyes finished the 2004 regular season second in Big Ten play with a 9-1 mark. Their only conference loss was a 4-3 decision at Illinois April 11. Ohio State had three shutouts against Big Ten opponents Purdue, Wisconsin and Iowa. Overall, the Buckeyes concluded the regular season with a 21-3 record.
HOME SWEET HOME
Ohio State closed its home schedule with a shutout over Wisconsin April 18. The Buckeyes remained undefeated at home with 14 victories in the 2004 season. The squad extended its home win streak to 17 matches. The streak dates back to the 2003 season after a 5-2 win over Purdue April 6.
Ohio State captured its 13th shutout of the season as the squad defeated Minnesota May 1 at the Big Ten tournament. The Buckeyes swept Xavier, Cleveland State, DePaul, Toledo, Virginia Tech, Coastal Carolina, Purdue, Indiana State, Youngstown State and Wisconsin in 2004 duals action before sweeps of Wisconsin and Minnesota in the league tournament.
3-4 AGAINST TOP 25
Ohio State is 3-4 against Top 25 opponents in the 2004 season. The Buckeyes upset No. 8 Vanderbilt, 4-3, and defeated No. 17 Alabama, 6-1, and No. 24 Clemson, 6-1. The four losses came at No. 1 Illinois, 4-3 and 4-1, No. 21 Georgia, 5-2, and No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth, 5-2.
HIGHEST TEAM RANKING
The Buckeyes received the No. 11 ranking in the ITA Division I team poll released March 16. Currently, Ohio State is ranked No. 17 (May 3 computer polls). The No. 11 ranking was the squad’s highest ranking in program history.
OSU LEADS IN DOUBLES POINT
The Buckeyes have claimed the doubles point in 23-of-27 matches this season. Ohio State is 21-2 in matches after capturing the doubles point. Their losses after securing the doubles point were a 5-2 decision at Georgia and a 4-3 loss at Illinois.
FIRST TOP 10 WIN
Head coach Ty Tucker and the Buckeye squad secured their first Top 10 win after they upset No. 8 Vanderbilt 4-3 Feb. 13 in Columbus, Ohio. That marked the first Top 10 win for the program since Tucker’s arrival in the 2000 season.
TUCKER CLAIMS 100TH
Ty Tucker captured his 100th career win in five years at the helm of the Buckeye program after the squad downed Northwestern, 5-2, April 16. Tucker holds a 105-31 overall record and is 48-12 in Big Ten play.
WURTZMAN NO. 3
Buckeye senior Jeremy Wurtzman is ranked No. 3 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I singles polls May 3. Illinois’ Brian Wilson is positioned at No. 1, Baylor’s Benedikt Dorsch holds the No. 2 spot. Wurtzman, who beat Wilson most recently at the Big Ten tournament, is 24-2 in duals while playing 26 matches at the No. 1 position. He held the No. 1 spot in the individual rankings from Jan. 13 to Feb. 24 and fell to the No. 2 spot from Feb. 24 to March 23. He was then ranked No. 1 from March 23 through April 20. Wurtzman posts a 128-43 career singles record, including 104 wins in three years as a Buckeye. His 104 victories at Ohio State place him at the No. 6 spot in the program’s record book.
ATAS RECEIVES VOTES
Freshman Joey Atas received the No. 50 spot in the ITA singles rankings Feb. 24. He became the first Buckeye freshman to receive a singles ranking in program history. Atas is 20-5 in duals action this season and has 14 wins at the No. 2 position. He defeated two ranked opponents including No. 27 Matthew Lockin of Vanderbilt and No. 31 Nathan Thompson of Clemson. Atas is not ranked in the latest May 3 individual polls.
CONTINI MOVES TO NO. 5
Senior co-captain Brenton Contini holds the No. 5 spot in all-time career doubles wins at Ohio State with 77. Contini has posted a 77-32 doubles mark in four years at Ohio State. Stephen Miguel (1987-90) holds the record at OSU with 85 wins.
THIRD BIG TEN HONOR
Buckeye senior Jeremy Wurtzman picked up his third Big Ten Player of the Week honor April 21. Wurtzman was honored after a perfect 4-0 record at No. 1 singles and a 4-0 mark at doubles on the week against Indiana State, Youngstown State and conference rivals Northwestern and Wisconsin.
DOUBLES TEAM NO. 25
The Ohio State tandem of Jeremy Wurtzman and Joey Atas are 18-3 in season duals and hold the No. 25 spot in the ITA Division I doubles rankings (May 3). Wurtzman and Atas have 16 wins while playing the No. 1 doubles position for the Buckeyes and are 12-1 against Big Ten opponents.
DOUBLES DEFEAT TOP OPPONENTS
The OSU tandem of Jeremy Wurtzman and Joey Atas defeated the No. 2 doubles pair in the nation, Illinois’ Phil Stolt and Brian Wilson, April 11. The sophomore duo of Scott Green and Ross Wilson also knocked off ranked opponents April 11. Green and Wilson handed the Illini’s 24th-ranked pair of Michael Calkins and Chris Martin an 8-5 decision.