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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 3 Ohio State men’s tennis team (20-2, 4-0 Big Ten) will return to Big Ten action at home this weekend against No. 60 Michigan State and No. 23 Michigan after concluding its seven-match road schedule at No. 12 Kentucky Wednesday. The match vs. the Spartans is set to begin at 4 p.m. Friday, while the Wolverines will take the courts at noon Sunday.

Already 4-0 in conference action this season, the Buckeyes will look to win their 72nd-consecutive Big Ten contest, dating back to 2004. 

Fans can follow the Big Ten action this weekend with live updates at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. 

Match Pointers
Since their first road setback since 2006 at Texas A&M March 10, the Buckeyes enter the conference contests this weekend having won five matches in a row. 

After finishing their road trip with a 6-1 mark, the Buckeyes will return to Columbus having not had a home match since Feb. 27 vs. Louisville. The Scarlet and Gray will attempt to earn its 122nd and 123rd home victories in a row vs. the Spartans and Wolverines. 

Michigan State and Michigan will be the sixth and seventh of 11 opponents, respectively, the Buckeyes have or will face ranked in the ITA Top 75 during the months of March and April (No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 15 Illinois, No. 57 Iowa, No. 12 Kentucky, No. 28 Notre Dame, No. 20 Minnesota, No. 64 Purdue and No. 27 Indiana). Ohio State is 13-2 vs. ranked opponents on the season, including a perfect 6-0 mark in Columbus.

Additionally, the Scarlet and Gray are 57-2 as the No. 3 ranked team in the country, including a 6-0 mark this season.

A Look Back
Ohio State picked up its 20th win of the season by defeating No. 12 Kentucky (20-7, 5-3 SEC), 4-3, Wednesday at the Boone Tennis Complex in one of its closest matches of the year. The Buckeyes move to 11-12 overall and 8-0 in the Ty Tucker era following the five-hour affair..  

Junior Chase Buchanan clinched match point at No. 2 singles when he downed No. 51 Alex Musialek 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a classic comeback victory. The 2010 Big Ten Athlete of the Year trailed in all three sets, but the determined leader pushed through for the win. Buchanan moves to 8-1 at No. 2, 17-2 in dual singles play and 12-5 vs. ranked competition.

Doubles action began slowly for the visiting Buckeyes. Kentucky’s Eric Quigley and Brad Cox, the nation’s 64th ranked duo, quickly downed Matt Allare and Peter Kobelt, the 13th-best team in the country, 8-4, to give the Wildcats the advantage.

After trailing, 3-2, Buckeyes Buchanan and Shuhei Uzawa took the next six points from Alberto Gonzalez and Tom Jomby, the 51st ranked tandem in the nation, to win by a score of 8-3 to even up the doubles count at one win apiece. Buchanan and Uzawa improve to 4-1 when paired together on the year.

However, the Buckeyes dropped the doubles point as Blaz Rola and Balazs Novak let a 7-5 lead slip away before falling to Anthony Rossi and Musialek in a super-competitive bout, 9-8 (5). It was the Ohio State duo’s first loss since being teamed up for the last six contests.

Uzawa, a senior co-captain, ended Kentucky’s momentum by capturing the first singles point of the afternoon for the Buckeyes at No. 6 as he defeated Jomby 6-4, 6-1. It was only the third time this season Uzawa has competed in singles competition in 2011. The native of Chiba, Japan, has come away with victories in two of the matches.

Allare gave Ohio State a 2-1 advantage, winning in straight sets. Although both sets went into tie-breakers, Allare was able to edge Cox 7-6(3), 7-6(10-8) for his 24th singles win on the year and 12th in a row, all at the No. 4 position.

Novak would put the Scarlet and Gray up by two after coming back to win the last two sets of his match vs. Rossi 4-6, 6-0, 6-1. With the win, Novak moves to 10-0 at the No. 4 position and 17-2 during dual singles.

Tucker Against the State up North
Under head coach Ty Tucker’s direction the Buckeyes are a combined 26-2 vs. the Michigan State and Michigan, going a perfect 11-0 against Michigan State and 15-2 vs. Michigan. The team hasn’t lost to either program since the 2000-01 season, when Michigan upended the Buckeyes, 4-3, in Coach Tucker’s second year. Ohio State was 11-71-1 vs. Michigan and 27-35 against the Spartans before Tucker took command over the program. 

Scouting the Spartans
Michigan State enters the contest with a 13-6 (as of Wednesday) overall record and. The Spartans began the season winning their first nine matches. However since the start, the struggling Spartans have gone 0-5 in conference action.

Aaron Pfister paces the Spartans with a 26-3 record and has won 16 consecutive contests, while Denis Bogatov and Ronnie Hulewicz each have 18 victories apiece. Michigan State is 82-32 in dual singles and 36-21 in doubles on the 2010-11 campaign.

Buckeyes vs. Michigan State
The Scarlet and Gray hold a 38-35 all-time advantage vs. the Spartans. Since head coach Ty Tucker took control of the Ohio State men’s program in 1999, the Scarlet and Gray are a perfect 11-0 against Michigan State.

Last season No. 2 Ohio State shut out Michigan State, 7-0, April 9, at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center in Columbus. It was the 105th consecutive home win for the Buckeyes who moved to 22-1 on the season.

Wolverine Watch
Entering the match this weekend, Michigan stands at 10-7 overall with a 3-2 mark in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are ranked No. 23 in the latest ITA rankings (April 5). The squad started off playing seven ranked opponents in its first nine games, finishing 6-3 during the stretch to begin the season with wins against No. 25 Virginia Tech, No. 23 Notre Dame and No. 6 Duke.

Evan King paces the Wolverines with 22 singles wins to just 7 losses. Jason Jung has 20, while Shaun Bernstein has 18. Overall, Michigan is 110-91 in singles (as of April 6) and 40-46 in doubles.

Buckeyes vs. Michigan
Ohio State is 26-73-1 against the Maize and Blue. Under head coach s guidance, the Buckeyes are 15-2 vs. the Wolverines. Ty Tucker

Last season, Ohio State faced Michigan twice, once during the regular season and once again during the second round of the NCAA tournament. During the regular season contest, No. 2 Ohio State improved its home win streak to 106 consecutive matches, while increasing its conference win streak to 59 consecutive matches with a 6-1 victory over No. 26 Michigan at the Stickney Tennis Center, giving the Wolverines their first conference loss of the season.

Big Ten Best
Ohio State has won 70 consecutive matches in the Big Ten after the 7-0 victory at Northwestern, April 2. Entering the season, the Buckeyes have amassed five-consecutive Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles. Head coach Ty Tucker also has nabbed Big Ten Coach of the Year every year during the span as well. Last season, Ohio State recorded a combined Big Ten singles mark of 58-2 and a total Big Ten doubles record of 18-8. In addition to the conference win streak, the Buckeyes also have won 122 of their last 127 league contests, including postseason play.

Big Ten Rankings
Eight of the 11 teams in the Big Ten Conference are ranked in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Polls announced April 5.

Rank  School
    3     Ohio State
  15     Illinois
  20     Minnesota
  23     Michigan
  27     Indiana
  57     Iowa 
  60     Michigan State
  64     Purdue

Allare Streaking
Buckeye Matt Allare enters conference action this weekend on a 12-match win streak. Allare is 24-3 overall with a 15-1 mark in duals. The Mason, Ohio, native is undefeated at 12-0 at the No. 4 position and 7-1 vs. ranked competition. The senior co-captain’s 24 singles wins overall are second on the team, only behind Blaz Rola‘s team-high 28 victories.

Chase Buchanan also returns home having won his previous five singles contests.

Road Ready
After defeating No. 12 Kentucky, 4-3,  Northwestern, 7-0, No. 10 Illinois,7-0, No. 66 Iowa, 5-2, No. 11 Pepperdine, 6-1, Penn State, 7-0, and No. 19 North Carolina, 6-1, earlier this season, Ohio State has won 54 out of its last 55 regular-season (non-tournament) road contests.

Rola Captures First-Career Big Ten Athlete of the Week Honor
Freshman Blaz Rola earned his first Big Ten Athlete of the Week honor March 22 after leading the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to a 6-1 victory against the No. 11 Pepperdine Waves March 21. The fifth-ranked singles player in the country, Rola picked up a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2) win over 17th-ranked Sebastian Fanselow at No. 2 singles to improve to 25-3 in singles play this season. Teaming with senior co-caption Balazs Novak, the duo defeated Hugh Clarke and Alfredo Moreno at No. 3 doubles, helping Ohio State clinch the doubles point with an 8-4 victory.

A Ptuj, Slovenia, native, Rola leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 27 and is tied with two teammates for dual doubles wins with 13. Rola entered the season as the No. 2 rated freshman by the ITA and has been a constant in the Top 5 of the singles rankings this season. He, alongside junior Chase Buchanan form the ninth-ranked tandem in the nation. It is the third time this season a Buckeye has captured the Big Ten Player of the Week award. Buchanan has the other two, earning the recognition Feb. 8 and Feb. 22, respectively.

Allare Reaches Milestone
Senior co-captain Matt Allare reached the century-mark, winning his 100th career singles match March 21 at Pepperdine. Allare, ranked 41st nationally, picked up the win by defeating Pepperdine’s Alfredo Moreno 6-3, 6-4.His career record is now 104-18, while his season mark stands at 24-3 and 15-1 in duals. Allare is a perfect 12-0 when playing the No. 4 position.

Allare, a Mason, Ohio, native was 25-5 last year, 31-5 his sophomore campaign and 24-5 during the 2007-08 season, his first as a Buckeyes for a total of 80 singles wins entering his final year as a Buckeye.

20 is the Magic Number
Three Buckeyes claimed their 20th singles win on the season vs. Iowa and Illinois, March 25 and 27, respectively. Chase Buchanan picked up his 20th victory after defeating Iowa’s Nikita Zotov 6-1, 6-1 and Illinois’ No. 7 Dennis Nevolo, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Buchanan is now 21-5 on his junior campaign.

Redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy downed Hawkeye Jonas Dierckx 6-0, 6-3 and Bruno Abdelnour 6-4, 6-4 of Illinois to improve to 20-3. McCarthy currently is 21-3 in singles. Co-captain Balazs Novak needed only one win to join the pair in the 20-win column and it came against Stephen Hoh, who Novak defeated 6-2, 6-2. The Budapest, Hungary, native’s record currently stands at 20-4.

The trio joined teammates Blaz Rola and Matt Allare as Buckeyes to amass 20 victories in singles play so far on the season. Combined, the five Buckeyes stand at an impressive 113-18 (.863) on the year.

Success in Duals
Ohio State has been dominant so far throughout the 2011 dual schedule. In singles, the Buckeyes are a combined 106-16 (.876). Chase Buchanan and Balazs Novak lead the squad with 17 victories apiece. Freshman Blaz Rola and Devin McCarthy each have 16, while senior Matt Allare is right behind with 15 dual wins.

In doubles, the Scarlet and Gray are a combined 48-16 (.761).  Novak and Rola each lead the way with a 14-5 mark, while Allare is 14-6. Redshirt-freshman Peter Kobelt and Buchanan each have 13 doubles wins and McCarthy is right behind with 11 doubles victories.

Seven Ranked in Latest Poll
New Campbell/ITA College Individual Tennis Rankings were released March 29. Ohio State leads the nation with seven players ranked in the singles poll. No. 1 Virginia is second with six players ranked in the Top 125.

Junior Chase Buchanan remains in the Top 20, moving up five positions to No. 14. Buchanan was ranked 19th in the March 15 standings and 63rd in the inaugural poll. Freshman Blaz Rola improved two spots to No. 3. Senior Matt Allare moved to No. 41 after being ranked No. 43 in the previous poll, while redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy dropped to 53rd.

Rounding out the rankings for the Scarlet and Gray are freshman Peter Kobelt, who dropped three spots to 66th, senior co-captain Balazs Novak at No. 98 and freshman Nelson Vick who sits at No. 102.

In the doubles poll, the team of Rola and Buchanan remained at No. 9, while Allare and Kobeltimproved one spot to No. 13.

Buckeyes in ITA Rankings (March 29)
Singles:
  3   Blaz Rola
14   Chase Buchanan
41   Matt Allare
53   Devin McCarthy
66   Peter Kobelt
98   Balazs Novak
102 Nelson Vick

Doubles:
9   Rola/Buchanan
13  Allare/Kobelt

1,000 Program Victories
With a 7-0 shutout of Cleveland State Feb. 24, Ohio State captured the program’s 1,000th victory. Entering play vs. the Wildcats, the overall record currently stands at 1,007-694-10. Head coach Ty Tucker has 311 wins in his 12 years leading the Buckeyes and his predecessor John Daly earned 427 in his 28 years.

Dominant in Columbus
The Buckeyes have won a school-record 121 consecutive home matches dating back to the 2002-03 season. Ohio State won the first 11 matches to begin the season at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center, six coming against ranked teams. In the Big Ten, no other team in any sport has won as many consecutive contests at home than the Buckeyes. Ohio State was victorious in all 21 home matches last season, marking the seventh-consecutive year the team achieved perfection in Columbus. The home win streak began April 6, 2003 with a 5-2 triumph over Purdue.

100th Anniversary of Tennis
The opener against Butler and Xavier marked the 100th year of men’s tennis at Ohio State. The tennis program started in 1912 and after 99 complete seasons, the men’s tennis program has an overall record of 988-692-10 for a .585 winning percentage. Head coach Ty Tucker is the 11th coach in Ohio State men’s tennis history and with his winning percentage hovering around .850, he is the winningest coach in Buckeye tennis history. Ohio State currently has 1,007 victories in its long history.

McCarthy, Novak Earn All-ITA Indoor Team Honors
Redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy and senior Balazs Novak were named to the 2011 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship All-Tournament Team. McCarthy was selected at No. 5 and Novak at No. 6 for their outstanding play.

McCarthy reeled off wins in two of the first three rounds of the tournament. He defeated No. 14 Texas Tech’s Gabriel Wanderley 6-3, 6-4 in the first round and upset No. 23 Drew Courtney of No. 1 Virginia 6-4, 7-5 in the semifinals, earning the only Buckeye point vs. the Cavaliers. The match vs. No. 93 Vasko Mladenov of No. 5 Texas went unfinished in the quarterfinals.

At No. 6, Novak earned wins in his first two matches of the tournament. The senior co-captain handed Texas Tech’s Raphael Pfister a 6-2, 6-0 setback, while also downing Daniel Whitehead of Texas 6-4, 6-3. Novak’s match vs. Justin Shane of Virginia was unfinished.

Chase Buchanan Nabs Big Ten Athlete of the Week Honors
For the second time this season, junior Chase Buchanan was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week the conference announced Feb. 21. Buchanan won four matches during the span, including wins against No. 24 North Carolina and No. 5 Texas.

The Gahanna, Ohio, native first paired with freshman Blaz Rola to form the sixth-ranked team in the nation and defeated No. 44 Stefan Hardy and Zach Hunter of North Carolina, 8-5, Feb. 15 in Chapel Hill. Buchanan, who jumped 42 places to No. 21 in the ITA polls Feb. 18, then downed No. 30 Jose Hernandez 7-5, 6-0 at No. 1 singles to fuel the Buckeyes’ 6-1 win over the Tar Heels.

Buchanan added to his wins total at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship Feb. 18-20 in Seattle, Wash. Paired with Rola, the tandem beat Texas’ No. 2 Ed Corrie and Jean Anderson, 8-5. Buchanan then followed with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Anderson to help the Scarlet and Gray prevail, 4-1, vs. the Longhorns. 

It is the eighth such honor of Buchanan’s career. He also won the award Feb. 8 after leading the Buckeyes to wins against No. 18 Mississippi and No. 11 Georgia Feb. 4 and 6, respectively.

Tucker Gets 300th Victory
The win against LSU Feb. 12 served as head coach Ty Tucker‘s 300th career victory. His overall career mark as the Buckeye leader now stands at 310-53. Tucker is now the second coach in Buckeye men’s tennis history to amass 300 wins. Tucker’s predecessor, John Daly, was 427-333 in 28 seasons from 1972-1999. Tucker has averaged 27 wins in 11 seasons and his current .856 active winning percentage is the highest in Ohio State history.

Since his inaugural season in 1999-00, Tucker has guided Ohio State to five regular-season Big Ten Conference titles and six league tournament championships, including five-consecutive from 2006-10. Tucker’s teams have never finished below fourth in the conference regular-season standings. In fact, after tying for fourth in 2000, Tucker and the Buckeyes finished second from 2001-2005 before winning the conference the last five seasons. Since that 2000 campaign, the Scarlet and Gray have won at least 20 matches each season and at least 30 the past three campaigns.

In NCAA action, Tucker and the Buckeyes have compiled a 25-11 record, advancing to the program’s first NCAA championship final in 2009 in College Station, Texas. Tucker led Ohio State as far as the quarterfinals last season and also in 2004, ’06, ’07 and ’08. Tucker also has coached eight different singles players and seven doubles tandems in 10 NCAA championships. 

Allare, Novak, Uzawa Named 2011 Team Captains
Seniors Shuhei Uzawa, Balazs Novak and Matt Allare were named 2011 team captains head coach Ty Tucker announced. The trio has been instrumental in the Buckeyes’ 16-2 record so far in 2011. Allare, a native of Mason, Ohio, paces the group with 20 victories against three losses, including an 11-1 mark in dual competition. Meanwhile, Novak is 19-3 overall and boasts a 15-1 mark in dual play. Uzawa, who grew up in Chiba, Japan, is 4-4 overall in singles and 10-2 this year in doubles play.

Freshman First
Freshman Ille Van Engelen recorded his first collegiate singles victory against Chris Herron from Butler 6-2, 6-3 Jan. 26. Van Engelen, a native of the Netherlands, also collected his first doubles win as a Buckeye. Partnering with fellow freshman Blaz Rola, the duo defeated the Bulldog team of Brandon Bayliss and Lenz Theodor, 8-4. Van Engelen is 12-5 in singles and 3-1 in doubles on the season.

Follow Team on Twitter
For up to the minute updates and news, be sure to follow the Ohio State men’s tennis team on Twitter @OhioState_MTEN.

Up Next
The Buckeyes will take a small break from conference play when they remain at home to take on Notre Dame, April 13 at 4 p.m. Ohio State is 25-26 overall and 7-4 during the Ty Tucker era against Notre Dame.