March 19, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After nine days off, the No. 2 Ohio State men’s tennis team returns to Big Ten play this weekend hosting No. 44 Michigan Friday at 6 p.m. at Varsity Tennis Center. The team will then travel to Michigan State for a road match at Noon Sunday in East Lansing, Mich.
The Buckeyes (17-2, 2-0 B1G) aim to break a two-match skid with a win, while the Wolverines (8-5, 1-0 B1G) travel to Columbus after splitting a doubleheader March 15 in Ann Arbor. The Spartans (6-8, 0-1 B1G) host Penn State this weekend before facing the Scarlet and Gray on Sunday.
ONE HOME WIN AWAY FROM HISTORY
With a victory over Michigan Friday night, the Buckeyes would tie the NCAA all-time home win streak record in any varsity sport. Stanford women’s tennis holds the NCAA home win streak record, claiming 184-consecutive wins from 1999-2011.
Just how long is 11 years? It’s been close to 4,000 days to the date since the team last lost in Columbus (Illinois; April 5, 2003) and tennis star Roger Federer had zero Grand Slams to his credit. Consider the following when you flash back to 2003:
This year, Ohio State holds an 11-0 mark at home with key wins over No. 8 Texas A&M (4-3; Feb. 9) and No. 12 North Carolina (4-1; Feb. 28) at the Varsity Tennis Center.
A LOOK AT MICHIGAN
The Buckeyes trail Michigan in their overall head-to-head 30-67-3, but Ohio State has gone 18-2 since head coach Ty Tucker joined the program in 1999. Last season, the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines twice, a 4-0 victory at Ann Arbor to clinch the regular-season B1G title and a 4-0 victory in the B1G Tournament final in Columbus. Alex Petrone is the lone representative in the ITA singles rankings for Michigan, coming in at No. 112. Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi (No. 22) and Shaun Bernstein/Kevin Wong (No. 52) highlight the Wolverines in the doubles rankings.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
The Spartans split two non-conference matches last week, defeating Western Michigan, 6-1, March 12 and then lost to No. 32 Louisville on the road, 7-0, March 15. As a team, MSU is 44-33 (.571) in singles play, paced by nine wins apiece on courts two and five. Freshman Brett Forman has a team-high nine wins. In doubles, MSU is 20-18 (.526), paced by an 8-5 (.615) record on court two.
Ohio State leads the all-time series vs. Michigan State, 42-35. Last season, the Buckeyes defeated the Spartans, 6-1, to close the 2013 home schedule. Head coach Ty Tucker is 15-0 all-time against the Green and White.
• The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 in the country for four-consecutive weeks, before dropping a close 4-3 match at No. 10 Georgia March 12. The No. 1 ranking stretch was the longest the team stood at the top of the polls in program history.
• The Buckeyes have been ranked in the ITA Top 10 for 257-consecutive matches (beginning March 7, 2006)
• Since 1999, Ohio State is 401-50 (.891) 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.
DUAL SEASON STATS
• With a 17-2 overall record, the Buckeyes own a 366-47 (.886) record as a Top 25 team since 2001.
• Redshirt juniors Hunter Callahan andKevin Metka lead the Buckeyes in wins with 19 victories in singles followed by senior Peter Kobelt with 18 victories.
• In dual matches, Callahan and Metka are 15-2 in 2014. Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach trails right behind with 14 wins for the dual season
• Kobelt has the top dual record at No. 1 singles (11-1).
• In doubles, Kobelt and Metka are 24-6 overall with an 8-3 mark vs. nationally-ranked pairs.
LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes fell, 4-3, at then-No. 16 Georgia March 12 in Athens, Ga. in a thriller that lasted more than five hours. Ohio State earned three ranked wins in singles with No. 9 Kobelt defeating No. 25 Nathan Pasha, Chris Diaz downing No. 87 Ben Wagland and Metka winning over No. 79 Garret Brasseaux. Callahan and Steinbach also teamed up to get a doubles win.
B1G ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Peter Kobelt, the ninth-ranked player in singles and half of the fourth-ranked doubles duo, has been awarded the B1G Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for the third time this season and the fourth time in his career. He was awarded the title for defeating Pasha, which was Kobelt’s tenth win over a ranked opponent this season.
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 will continue its Big Ten schedule, hosting Northwestern at 6 p.m. March 28 in Columbus.