COLUMBUS, Ohio -.The No. 3 Ohio State men’s tennis team is set to compete in the 2010 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship against No. 16 Louisville at 9 a.m. Friday in a first-round match up at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. The event will be hosted by the University of Virginia.
The Buckeyes defeated No. 51 New Mexico Jan. 30 and No. 35 Tulsa Jan. 31 to advance to the 16-team championship draw. For the past three seasons, Ohio State (6-0; 0-0 Big Ten) has advanced to the quarterfinal of the championship, including two finals appearances, and will look to make another deep run in the tournament as the No. 3 seed.
Live updates of the first-round match against Louisville and the rest of the championship will be available at the official website of the 2010 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship at www.itatennis.com or www.VirginiaSports.com.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS
The 15 other schools in the main draw are the top collegiate teams in the nation. Of the 15 No. 1 seeds in the Kick-Off competition, 13 advanced. Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Fresno State, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA and USC will join host and two-time defending champion Virginia. The Top 12 teams polled in the latest Campbell/ITA Division I Men’s National Team Rankings announced Feb. 4 are competing this weekend along with No. 14 Kentucky, No. 16 Louisville, No. 19 Alabama and No. 26 Fresno State.
AGAINST THE FIELD
Under 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, Ohio State is a combined 35-27 against the teams competing in the tournament this year and own an 8-8 record in the event. All eight Ohio State victories have come in the past three years. The Buckeyes have not faced Florida or Fresno State since Tucker took over the program in 1999.
2010 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships Seeds
No. 1 USC
No. 2 Virginia
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 UCLA
No. 5 Tennessee
No. 6 Baylor
No. 7 Georgia
No. 8 Texas
No. 9 Stanford
No. 10 Mississippi
No. 11 Florida
No. 12 Illinois
No. 13 Kentucky
No. 14 Louisville
No. 15 Alabama
No. 16 Fresno State
The tournament begins Friday with eight first-round matches:
(3) Ohio State vs. (14) Louisville – 9 a.m.
(6) Baylor vs. (11) Florida – 9 a.m.
(1) USC vs. (16) Fresno State – Noon
(8) Texas vs. (9) Stanford – Noon
(4) UCLA vs. (13) Kentucky – 3 p.m.
(5) Tennessee vs. (12) Illinois – 3 p.m.
(2) Virginia vs. (15) Alabama – 6:30 p.m.
(7) Georgia vs. (10) Mississippi – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday will feature four quarterfinal and four consolation draw matches. Sunday there will be two semifinals and six consolation matches and the championship match is Monday.
THE TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship is the ITA’s longest running national championship, which dates back to 1973. Stanford has won the most titles with 12 and is followed by UCLA with seven. From 1990-2002, Stanford and UCLA claimed every ITA National Team Indoor title. However, four different programs – Illinois, Baylor, Georgia and Virginia – have been crowned champions in the last six years. The team that has reached the final has gone on to win the NCAA crown 15 times since 1973.
The Buckeyes hold an 8-8 all-time record in the tournament, winning all eight matches the past three seasons. Ohio State is the 2007 and ’08 ITA National Team Indoors Championship runners-up.
As the No. 3 seed in the championships in 2008, Ohio State advanced to its second-consecutive final by beating defending national champion and second-seed Georgia, 4-1, at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle, Wash., Feb. 17. The Scarlet and Gray lost to No. 1 seed Virginia, 4-1, in the finals. In 2007, the Buckeyes fell to Georgia, 4-0, in the finals in Chicago, Ill.
A LOOK BACK
In 2009, Ohio State advanced to its third-consecutive quarterfinal match at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship at the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, Feb. 13-15. In the opening round as the No. 1 seed, the Buckeyes defeated No. 20 Pepperdine, 4-2.
Against No. 8 Tennessee in quarterfinal action, Ohio State dropped a 4-3 decision, giving the Buckeyes their first loss of the season. Ohio State owned an early 2-0 lead over the Volunteers, but lost four singles matches to be eliminated from the main draw of the tournament. The loss against Tennessee was only one of two defeats the Buckeyes suffered the entire season.
In the consolation match, Ohio State swept No. 4 seed UCLA, 4-0. The win against the Bruins marked the first victory for the Scarlet Gray against a Top 5 opponent for the 2009 season.
HOW THEY ADVANCED
The Buckeyes claimed their fourth-consecutive invitation to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship last weekend. As part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, Ohio State was one of 15 schools to host the qualifier to the 2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championship with Notre Dame, New Mexico and Tulsa competing with the Buckeyes Jan. 30-31 in Columbus.
In the first match, the Buckeyes defeated No. 51 New Mexico, 7-0. Ohio State captured the doubles point after junior Balazs Novak and freshman Dino Marcan defeated Joe Wood and Conor Berg, 8-4, at No. 3. In singles, junior Shuhei Uzawa, the 34th-ranked singles player in the nation, won in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 against Ben Dunbar to claim match point for the Buckeyes.
In the championship qualifier match, Ohio State faced No. 35 Tulsa after the Golden Hurricane captured a close 4-3 victory against No. 30 Notre Dame. The Buckeyes swept Tulsa, 7-0, to seal its position in the first ITA collegiate national championship event of the 2010 season. In doubles, junior Matt Allare and Uzawa came back against Alastair Barnes and Marko Ballok at No. 2 to win, 8-6, and win the first point of the match. At No. 1 singles, sophomore Chase Buchanan sealed the invitation for his team, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 against Philip Stephens.
BUCKEYES RECEIVE HIGH RANKING
Ohio State is No. 3 in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings announced Feb. 4. Guided by 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have now been ranked in the Top 25 in the ITA rankings for 10-consecutive years.
The three years prior to the 2009-10 season, Ohio State has earned a preseason ranking of No. 3 or higher and finished third behind Georgia and Virginia in 2007 and ’08. In 2009, the Buckeyes received a No. 1 preseason ranking, the first in program history, and finished second in the NCAA Championships.
Ohio State is 43-2 (.955) when ranked No. 3. The Buckeyes have been ranked in the ITA Top 10 for 94-consecutive matches, beginning March 7, 2006.
BUCKEYES RANKED IN THE POLLS
Three Buckeyes are in the Top 125 of the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings. In singles, junior Shuhei Uzawa, a native of Chiba, Japan, is No. 34, while sophomore Steven Williams is No. 88. Sophomore Chase Buchanan rounds out the Buckeyes at No. 103.
Uzawa is 10-6 overall this season in singles, including a 4-2 record in dual-action. He is 6-4 in his last 10 matches and has collected two wins at both No. 3 and No. 4 singles. This is Uzawa’s highest ranking in his Buckeye career.
Williams, a native of Manlius, N.Y., is tied for the team lead in singles wins with 12 in his second year. He has won six-consecutive matches and is 2-0 in dual play.
Buchanan is 9-3 overall in 2010. The second-year Buckeye has been impressive to begin the spring schedule. He picked up his first-career win at No. 1 after defeating Chris Herrlinger of Xavier 6-0, 6-1 Jan. 20. Most recently, the native of New Albany, Ohio, downed No. 36 Clay Donato at No. 1. Buchanan is 5-0 at the top of the lineup.
HOME SWEET HOME
Ohio State extended its home winning streak to 95-consecutive victories after downing No. 13 Pepperdine, 6-1, Feb. 5 and No. 22 North Carolina, 6-1, Feb. 7 last weekend at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. No other Big Ten team in any sport has won as many consecutive games at home than the Buckeyes. The Scarlet and Gray won its 16 home competitions last season, marking the sixth-consecutive year the Buckeyes won all their home matches. The home winning streak dates back to the 2003 season, starting with a 5-2 victory over Purdue April 6.
This year, Ohio State is 6-0 at home to begin the 2010 campaign. The team has wins over Butler, Xavier, New Mexico, Tulsa, Pepperdine and Tulsa.
LOOKING GOOD EARLY
Ohio State has never lost its first match of the season under head coach Ty Tucker. The former Buckeye owns an opening-day record of 22-0 since taking over the helm 11 years ago (The Buckeyes traditionally play two matches on opening day).
Led by 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have won a school-record 92-consecutive regular-season (non-tournament) matches dating back to the 2006 season. Ohio State lost, 5-2, against Notre Dame Feb. 26, 2006 in South Bend.
NO. 16 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Louisville, ranked No. 16 in the ITA standings, is 7-0 overall and is off to its best start in school history. The team has posted 7-0 wins over IUPUI, Murray State and St. Mary’s and have also notched victories over No. 62 East Tennessee State (4-3), No. 29 LSU (4-2), No. 32 Wisconsin (4-0) and No. 37 Minnesota (5-0).
Louisville has been ranked in the Top 20 in all three 2010 ranking periods and earned its first appearance in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship after defeating No. 32 Wisconsin 4-0 in the regional finals of the National Indoor Qualifying Tournament Jan. 30 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Last year, the Cardinals finished with a 21-8 overall record and advanced to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Championships.
CARDINALS IN THE RANKINGS
Louisville has four student-athletes ranked in the ITA Men’s Division I standings announced Jan. 5. In singles, the Cardinals have three members in the polls in No. 46 Austen Childs, No. 81 Andrew Carter and No. 84 Simon Childs. In doubles, Austen and Simon are polled at No. 14, while Alejandro Calligari and Robert Hall are No. 33.
OHIO STATE VS. LOUISVILLE
The Buckeyes own a 6-1 all-time record against the Cardinals. Ohio State has not played Louisville since the 2001-02 campaign when the Scarlet and Gray won, 4-1, in Kentucky. The lone loss against the Cardinals came during the 1998 season with Louisville winning 5-2 in Columbus.
Since 1999, the Buckeyes are 1-0 all-time against a team ranked 16th in the country. During the 2007-08 campaign, Ohio State beat No. 16 Illinois, 5-2, April 12 on the road.
DOMINANCE IN DUALS
Ohio State has been dominant in the beginning of the 2010 campaign in dual action. In singles, the Buckeyes are a combined 34-2 (.944) in dual play. Eight members have gone undefeated this season with senior co-captain Justin Kronauge and junior Balazs Novak with six wins each. In doubles, the Scarlet and Gray are a combined 16-2 (.889) in dual play. Novak and freshman Dino Marcan lead the way with a 5-0 mark, while Kronauge and sophomore Chase Buchanan are 4-1. The team has not lost a doubles point in its six wins.
Last season, Ohio State finished with a combined dual-record of 173-23 (.883) in singles and was 81-22 (.786) in doubles.
In singles, junior Balazs Novak and sophomore Steven Williams lead the Buckeyes in wins this season with 12 victories, while Novak tops the team in doubles with 11 wins.
Novak is 12-3 overall, winning all six matches in dual-play. In 60 career dual matches, the native of Budapest, Hungary, has only suffered three losses. Williams is 2-0 in dual action, winning his last six matches. In the fall, the second-year Buckeye went an impressive 10-3 overall and 1-1 against nationally-ranked opponents. He is 12-3 overall.
Novak is 9-1 in doubles. Partnering with freshman Dino Marcan, the Buckeye duo is 8-0, including a 6-0 mark in duals. Last year, Novak was 25-6 during his sophomore season.
Five members on the team have won at least five consecutive matches, while one Buckeye pair has been victorious in six-consecutive doubles matches.
Balazs Novak – 10
Dino Marcan – 8
Justin Kronauge – 6
Steven Williams – 6
Chase Buchanan – 5
Balazs Novak/Dino Marcan – 8
KRONAUGE, O’CONNELL TO LEAD BUCKEYES
Seniors Justin Kronauge and Mike O’Connell were named 2009-10 team captains, head coach Ty Tucker announced.
A 2008 ITA All-American and two-time Big Ten honoree (2008, ’09), Kronauge returns for his final season with the most singles and doubles wins of any active member on the team. In three seasons with Ohio State, Kronauge has claimed 120 singles wins and 100 doubles victories.
O’Connell, a native of Holland Ohio, returns for his final year as a doubles specialist for the Buckeyes. After undergoing left shoulder surgery at the end of the summer, O’Connell will look to be healthy and ready to defend another Big Ten title. O’Connell has a career doubles record of 32-14 and 17-9 in dual play.
KRONAUGE CLIMBS SINGLES, DOUBLES CHARTS
Senior Justin Kronauge won two singles matches against Pepperdine and North Carolina last weekend to continue his rise in the record books for career singles wins. In singles, Kronauge has 120 career victories, which is fifth on the all-time career singles wins list.
In doubles, Kronauge became the sixth Buckeye in program history to hit the 100-win mark.
He is also just the third Buckeye in OSU history to have at least 100 singles wins and 100 doubles wins. Former Buckeyes Bryan Koniecko and Steven Moneke are the other two student-athletes to accomplish the feat.
Kronauge is currently third on the all-time combined career wins list with 220 victories. Koniecko and Moneke are first and second, respectively, with 254 and 247 victories.
AGAINST THE BEST
Several Buckeyes have claimed key wins against opponents ranked in the Campbell/ITA Division I Men’s Singles Rankings.
BUCKEYE WINS VS. RANKED OPPONENTS IN 2009-10:
Justin Kronauge (9-2 overall)
No. 21 Ashley Watling (Tulsa) – 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
No. 29 Reid Carleton (Duke) – 6-3, 6-1
No. 70 Alex Llompart (Pepperdine) – 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
Chase Buchanan (9-3 overall)
No. 36 Clay Donato (North Carolina) – 6-3, 6-4
No. 90 Bassam Beidas (Pepperdine) – 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)
No. 98 Stephen Havens (Notre Dame) – 6-1, 6-3
Shuhei Uzawa (10-6 overall)
No. 38 Javier Garrapiz (Georgia) – 7-6, 6-3
No. 78 Mihai Nichifor (Columbia) – 6-1, 6-2
Dino Marcan (8-0 overall)
No. 99 Brennan Boyajian (North Carolina) – 6-1, 7-5
Balazs Novak (12-3 overall)
No. 96 Sebastian Fanselow (Pepperdine) – 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
Steven Williams (12-3 overall)
No. 97 Marek Czerwinski (Illinois) – 6-4, 6-4
Freshman Dino Marcan has not lost a match in either singles or doubles to begin his collegiate career. In singles, the native of Rijeka, Croatia, is 8-0 overall, including a 4-0 mark in dual play. He picked up his first collegiate win against Chris Herron of Butler Jan. 20 at the top of the lineup and has three victories at No. 3.
In doubles, Marcan is 9-0 with a 6-0 record in dual action. Partnered with junior Balazs Novak, the Buckeye duo leads the team in wins with eight.
STRONG JUNIOR CLASS
Juniors Matt Allare, Balazs Novak and Shuhei Uzawa have had impressive careers since joining the team during the 2007 campaign. In singles, the trio has a combined overall record of 191-51 (.789) in less than three complete seasons at Ohio State. Allare, Novak and Uzawa are a combined 40-4 in Big Ten play.
Last season, the three Buckeyes each won at least 25 matches in both singles and doubles as sophomores.
BIG TEN RANKINGS
Nine of the 11 teams in the Big Ten Conference are ranked in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Rankings announced Feb. 4.
3 Ohio State
56 Penn State
THE BIG TEN’S BEST
For the third time this season, a Buckeye was named Big Ten Player of the Week. Sophomore Chase Buchanan won his first-career weekly honor after his performance against No. 13 Pepperdine and No. 22 North Carolina last weekend in Columbus the conference announced Feb. 9. Senior co-captain Justin Kronauge and freshman Dino Marcan earned athlete of the week honors Feb. 2 and Jan. 19, respectively.
Ohio State, which has collected two-consecutive weekly laurels, leads the Big Ten with three, followed by Michigan and Northwestern.
Buchanan, a native of New Albany, Ohio, won two singles matches against ranked opponents in team wins against the Waves and Tar Heels, Feb. 5 and 7, respectively.
In a 6-1 victory against Pepperdine, Buchanan played at No. 1 singles against No. 90 Bassam Beidas. The second-year Buckeye won 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in a third-set tiebreaker. The following match against North Carolina, he topped 36th-ranked Clay Donato in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 for his 20th-career victory as a Buckeye. Buchanan, who is 9-3 overall, has now five-consecutive matches to begin the 2010 campaign.
Kronauge, a native of Centerville, Ohio, posted a 4-0 record Jan. 30-31 as Ohio State was one of 15 schools to serve as hosts of the 2010 ITA Kick-Off Weekend at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. With the help of Kronauge, the Buckeyes advanced to play in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship for the fourth-consecutive season.
In wins over No. 51 New Mexico in the first matchup and No. 35 Tulsa in the championship advancement match, Kronauge played at No. 1 singles and paired with Chase Buchanan at No. 1 doubles. Against the Lobos, Kronauge won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, after earning an 8-7 win in doubles. Against the Golden Hurricane, Kronauge won 8-2 in doubles and again won in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, as the Buckeyes finished the weekend with a pair of 7-0 victories.
Marcan participated in the Boilermaker Invitational Jan. 16-17 at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind. Marcan, a native of Rijeka, Croatia, was announced the tournament winner with four singles and three doubles victories.
In singles, Marcan made his Buckeye debut at No. 1 and defeated Alex Das of Eastern Kentucky 6-2, 6-3. Marcan followed with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Kazuya Komada of Western Michigan. He then faced his first career Big Ten opponent in P.J. Rose of Purdue and beat him in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. Marcan wrapped up the event with another straight-set triumph, downing Adam Whitmer of Valparaiso, 6-1, 6-3.
In doubles, Marcan paired with junior Balazs Novak and went 3-0 at No. 1. The Buckeye duo won two matches during day one of the invitational, defeating Eric Ramos and Rose, 8-6, and Tom Litscher and Kyle Stump of Valparaiso, 8-2. Marcan and Novak finished out the weekend downing Zeyad Montasser and Komada of Western Michigan, 8-3.
NOTING THE TY TUCKER ERA (as of Feb. 9)
The Buckeyes will next be in action against another Top 25 opponent in Columbus. Ohio State will face No. 14 Kentucky at noon Feb. 21 at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. Admission is free. Live stats and updates will be available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.