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COLUMBUS, Ohio -. The No. 3 Ohio State men’s tennis team continues its home schedule, welcoming No. 17 Pepperdine at 5 p.m. Friday and No. 28 North Carolina noon Sunday at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center.

The Buckeyes (4-0; 0-0 Big Ten) have won their first four matches to begin the 2010 season, sweeping each opponent, 7-0. En route to the team’s perfect start so far, Ohio State is a combined 36-1 in singles and doubles. At home, the Buckeyes have defeated Butler, Xavier, No. 51 New Mexico and No. 35 Tulsa.

HOME SWEET HOME
Ohio State extended its home winning streak to 93-consecutive victories after downing No. 51 New Mexico and No. 35 Tulsa during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Columbus Jan. 30-31. 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.

OHIO STATE HEADED TO ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOORS
The Buckeyes claimed its fourth-consecutive invitation to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships 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 Championships 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.

The Buckeyes will travel to the 2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 12-15 at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. The event will be hosted by the University of Virginia.

BUCKEYES RECEIVE HIGH RANKING
Ohio State is No. 3 in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings announced Jan. 26. 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 41-2 (.953) when ranked No. 3. The Buckeyes have been ranked in the ITA Top 10 for 92-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 s 10-4 overall this season in singles, including a perfect 4-0 in dual-action. He is 8-2 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., has a team-high 12 wins in singles in his second year. He has won six-consecutive matches and is 2-0 in dual play.

Buchanan is 7-3 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. Buchanan is 3-0 at the top of the lineup.

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).

REGULAR-SEASON DOMINANCE
Led by 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have won a school-record 90-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.

THE NO. 17 PEPPERDINE WAVES
Pepperdine, ranked No. 17 in the ITA standings, is 2-1 on the season. The Waves most recently competed in the ITA National Team Indoor qualifier at the Los Angeles Tennis Center last weekend in Los Angeles, Calif. In the first round, Pepperdine defeated No. 37 South Florida to advance to the championship match, but was defeated by host-school and No. 4 UCLA, 4-0, to be eliminated from the event. The Waves opened the year defeating Cal Poly, 6-1, Jan. 27 at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif.

Last season, Pepperdine finished ranked 18th in the nation with a 20-10 overall record. The Waves captured its 40th WCC Championship and 19th-consecutive title after defeating San Diego, 4-1, April 19 in the finals. In NCAA play, the Waves advanced to the second of the 2009 NCAA Championships before dropping a 4-1 loss to No. 9 Stanford in College Station, Texas.

WAVES IN THE RANKINGS
Pepperdine has four student-athletes ranked in the ITA Men’s Division I Standings announced Jan. 5. In singles, Pepperdine has three members in the polls including No. 70 Alex Llompart, No. 90 Bassam Beidas and No. 96 Sebastian Fanselow. In doubles, Finn Tierney and Llompart are No. 52.

OHIO STATE VS. PEPPERDINE
The Buckeyes own a 3-1 all-time record against the Waves. Last season, Ohio State played Pepperdine twice, winning both matches. As the No.1-ranked team in the nation, the Buckeyes defeated the then-No. 20 Waves, 4-2, in the first round of the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 13 at the Midtown Tennis Center in Chicago, Ill. In dual-action, Ohio State traveled to Malibu March 23 and won 6-1. The Buckeyes’ lone defeat against the Waves came during the 1978-79 season, losing 8-1.

The Waves are the first Top 25 opponent for the Buckeyes this season. Since 1999, Ohio State is 6-2 against teams ranked 17th in the country. Under head coach Ty Tucker, the Scarlet and Gray are 3-0 against teams from the WCC.

THE NO. 28 NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
No. 28 North Carolina is 4-1 this season. The Tar Heels last competed at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships qualifier last weekend in Athens, Ga. In the first match, North Carolina upset No. 20 Miami, 4-2, to move on to the championship match. The following day, the Tar Heels suffered their first loss of the season, losing, 4-2, against No. 7 and host-school Georgia. Before traveling to Columbus this weekend, North Carolina will host Charlotte and Richmond Thursday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Last year, the Tar Heels finished 32nd in the ITA final rankings with a 17-11 overall record. In NCAA play, North Carolina advanced to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas. The tournament’s overall No. 1 seed Virginia knocked out the Tar Heels, 4-0. The Tar Heels have never lost to a team outside of the ITA’s Top 50.

TAR HEELS IN THE RANKINGS
North Carolina has three student-athletes polled in the ITA Division I Men’s standings. In singles, Clay Donato is No. 36, Ryan Noble is No. 92 and Brennan Boyajian is No. 99.

Donato was honored as ACC Men’s Player of the Week for his performance in a 4-2 upset of No. 20 Miami Jan. 31. Donato defeated Miami’s 57th-ranked Carl Sundberg 6-2, 6-2 in singles to add the second team point for North Carolina. He is undefeated in both singles and doubles in four matches this year.

OHIO STATE VS. THE TAR HEELS
The Buckeyes are 4-0-1 all-time against North Carolina. Last season, Ohio State defeated the Tar Heels, 7-0, in Chapel Hill, N.C. Under 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes are 20-3 against teams from the ACC.

TEAM LEADERS
Sophomore Steven Williams leads the Buckeyes in wins this season with 12 victories, while junior Balazs Novak tops Ohio State in doubles with nine wins

Williams is 2-0 in dual action, winning his last six matches. In the fall, the second-year Buckeye went an impressive 10-3 and 1-1 against nationally-ranked opponents. He is 12-3 overall.

Novak, a native of Budapest, Hungary, is 9-1 overall in doubles. Partnering with freshman Dino Marcan, the Buckeye duo is 6-0, including a 4-0 record in dual-action. Last year, Novak was 25-6 overall during his sophomore season.

STREAKY BUCKEYES
Three members on the team have won at least five-consecutive matches, while one Buckeye pair has been victorious in six-consecutive doubles matches.

Singles Wins
Balazs Novak 8
Dino Marcan 6
Steven Williams 6
Doubles Wins
Balazs Novak/Dino Marcan 6

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 118 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. Traditionally partnered with junior Matt Allare, the Buckeye duo is 16-9 overall in two seasons.

KRONAUGE CLIMBS SINGLES, DOUBLES CHARTS
Senior Justin Kronauge won two singles and two doubles matches against New Mexico and Tulsa last weekend to continue his rise in the record books for career singles and doubles wins. In singles, Kronauge has 118 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 218 victories. Koniecko and Moneke are first and second, respectively, with 254 and 247 victories.

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 Jan. 6.

RANK  SCHOOL
   3  Ohio State
  15  Illinois
  31  Minnesota
  32  Wisconsin
  36  Northwestern
  41  Michigan
  50  Indiana
  55  Penn State
  58  Iowa  

THE BIG TEN’S BEST
For the second time this season, a member of the Ohio State men’s tennis team was named Big Ten Player of the Week the conference announced Tuesday. Senior co-captain Justin Kronauge won his fourth-career weekly honor after his performance during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Columbus. Freshman Dino Marcan earned his first-career athlete of the week honor Jan. 19.

Ohio State leads the conference in weekly laurels with two followed by Michigan and Northwestern.

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. The event will take place Feb. 12-15 in Charlottesville, Va.

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, along with three other Buckeye members, at 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. The Buckeyes went undefeated during the invitational, going a combined 18-0 in singles and doubles.

In singles, Marcan made his Buckeye debut at No. 1 singles 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.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes will now prepare to compete against the top tennis programs in the nation, traveling to the 2010 ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 12-15 at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia will serve as the tournament host.