COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 4 Ohio State men’s tennis team will try to remain undefeated when it hosts No. 33 LSU at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. On the season, the meeting will serve as the third-consecutive match the Buckeyes (7-0, 0-0) will face a team hailing from the Southeastern Conference. With all seven victories occurring in Columbus so far, Ohio State enters the match vs. the Tigers on a 117 consecutive home match win streak. The LSU dual is the last home match for Ohio State before it embarks on its first road contest of the season at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Carolina.
A Look Back
The Scarlet and Gray moved to 7-0 on the year with two wins this past weekend against Top 20 teams. Ohio State defeated No. 18 Mississippi, 6-1, on Feb. 4 to move to 3-2 all-time vs. the Rebels. The Buckeyes also handed No. 11 Georgia its first loss of the season Feb. 6 with a 6-1 victory. Ohio State improved to 3-10 vs. the Bulldogs all-time. With both wins, the Buckeyes have now defeated four teams ranked in the ITA standings. The other two victories took place during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend when Ohio State shut out No. 75 William & Mary, as well as No. 56 UC Irvine in the championship qualifier.
A Look at LSU
The Tigers travel to Columbus with a 3-2 overall record following a doubleheader sweep at home Tuesday. The Tigers downed UL-Lafayette, 6-1, and shut out New Orleans, 7-0, to push their winning streak to three matches. No. 26 Rice also fell victim to the Purple and Yellow last Sunday, 5-2. LSU’s only two losses came in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend event hosted by Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. The Tigers fell to the No. 15 Red Raiders, 4-0, in the first round before losing to Auburn, 4-1, in the consolation match.
The Rebels are coached by Jeff Brown, who is in his 12th season in Baton Rouge and has guided his teams to a 192-90 mark.
Buckeyes vs. Tigers
Ohio State is 6-5 all-time vs. LSU, winning the previous five meetings. Last season, the No. 3 Buckeyes traveled to Dub Robinson Stadium in Baton Rouge and came away with a 4-2 victory as Balazs Novak and Matt Allare led Ohio State in singles. Current assistant coach Justin Kronauge also came away with a 6-4, 6-1 win.
Buckeyes vs. SEC
Ohio State is now 40-58-1 vs. schools from the Southeastern Conference and 22-29 against SEC programs on the 2011 schedule after defeating Ole Miss and Georgia this past weekend. The Buckeyes improved to 3-2 vs. the Rebels and 3-10 vs. the Bulldogs. The Scarlet and Gray have one remaining match vs. an SEC opponent after LSU when they play at Kentucky at 3 p.m. April 6. Ohio State is 10-12 all-time against Kentucky. The Buckeyes also are 5-2 vs. Alabama, 3-0 vs. Arkansas, 1-2 vs. Auburn, 1-3 vs. Florida, 0-1 vs. Mississippi State, 1-4 vs. South Carolina, 3-8 vs. Tennessee and 4-7-1 vs. Vanderbilt.
Allare, Novak, Uzawa Named 2011 Team Captains
Senior Matt Allare, Balazs Novak and Shuhei Uzawa, were named 2011 team captains head coach Ty Tucker announced.
The trio has been instrumental in the Buckeyes’ 7-0 record so far in 2011. Allare, a native of Mason, Ohio, paces the group with 12 victories against three losses, including a 3-1 mark in dual competition. Meanwhile, Novak, who hails from Budapest, Hungary, is currently on a seven-match win streak. Novak is 11-2 overall and boasts a 7-0 mark in dual play. Uzawa, who grew up in Chiba, Japan, is 4-3 overall, but has only seen action in one dual meet so far as the rest of his victories came during fall tournament play. Prior to this season, the three seniors won a combined 244 singles matches. In 2010, each player claimed at least 20 wins. Allare was 25-5 overall in singles and 23-13 in doubles last season.
When paired with Uzawa in doubles last year, the duo went 22-13 overall, which was tied for the team lead.Novak picked up where he left off the previous two seasons in 2008 and 2009, going 37-7 in singles and 37-3 in doubles, both team highs in 2010. During the season, Novak was an important contributor in the singles lineup with a combined 31-4 record at the Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 positions.
Uzawa put together a good 2010 season. He was 20-16 in singles and 25-13 overall in doubles. In singles, Uzawa was perfect at No. 3 with a 4-0 mark and was 22-13 in doubles play when paired with Allare.
The trio also has been so successful in the Big Ten, earning a 40-4 combined career Big Ten singles record.
Chase Buchanan Nabs Seventh Career Big Ten Athlete of the Week Honor
Ohio State’s Chase Buchanan earned his seventh career Big Ten men’s tennis athlete of the week award and his first of 2011 after leading the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to wins against No. 18 Mississippi and No. 11 Georgia during the weekend. The New Albany, Ohio, native and 2010 Big Ten Athlete of the Year has won three matches against ranked opponents in singles action this season.
Buchanan, ranked 63rd in singles, picked up a 7-6, 6-3 win over No. 32 Marcel Thiemann at No. 1 en route to a 6-1 Buckeye win Feb. 4 over the Rebels. Buchanan and Blaz Rola, the sixth-ranked doubles pair in the nation, teamed to defeat Tucker Vorster and Jonas Lutjen of Mississippi, 8-6, at No. 2 doubles.
Against Georgia, Buchanan and Rola defeated Javier Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters, the 14th-ranked pair in the country, 8-6, at No. 1 doubles. The junior then earned his second singles win of the weekend, downing 13th-ranked Garrapiz 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 in Ohio State’s 6-1 win Feb. 6.
Tucker One Victory From 300
Head coach Ty Tucker has 299 career victories entering the match vs. the 33rd-ranked Tigers. His overall career mark as the Buckeye leader stands at 299-51. Tucker will become only the second coach in Buckeye men’s tennis history to amass 300 wins. Tucker’s head coach while playing at Ohio State, John Daly, currently has the most victories all-time as coach of the Buckeyes. Daly, who Tucker succeeded, was a combined 427-331 in his 28 years of coaching. Tucker’s current .854 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 has won at least 20 matches each season and at least 30 the past three seasons.
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.
Five Stay Streaking
Five Buckeyes are entering the weekend boasting at least six-match win streaks. Redshirt-freshman Nelson Vick leads all Buckeyes with a current nine-match win streak on the season for an overall mark of 13-3.
Junior Chase Buchanan and senior Balazs Novak each carry streaks of seven in a row. Buchanan impressively defeated No. 32 Marcel Thiemann of Ole Miss 7-6, 6-3 and Georgia’s No. 13 Javier Garrapiz 6-3, 6-3 this past weekend to help keep his streak alive and move to 12-3 overall and 7-0 in dual single action. Novak’s mark of seven-straight wins pushes his season record to 11-2 and 5-0 when playing at No. 4.
Freshman Blaz Rola and redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy, each have win streaks of six matches heading into the contest vs. LSU. Rola is 19-2 overall and McCarthy stands at 11-2.
Dominant in Columbus
The Buckeyes have won a school-record 117-consecutive home matches dating back to the 2002-03 season. They have won the first seven matches to begin this season at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center; three 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 years, 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. With 993 wins so far, Ohio State is seven wins from reaching 1,000 victories in its long history.
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 5-1 in singles and 1-0 in doubles on the season.
Buckeyes Earn High Inaugural Ranking
The 2010-11 season marks the fifth-consecutive year Ohio State has opened the campaign with a ranking of No. 4 or higher. Last season, Ohio State was ranked No. 3 in the preseason and finished the season ranked fifth. In 2009, the Buckeyes received a No. 1 preseason ranking, the first in program history, on their way to a runner-up finish in the NCAA championships. From 2006-08, Ohio State earned a preseason ranking of No. 3 or higher.
When polled as the No. 4 team in the country, Ohio State is 19-1 (.950).
Buckeyes Ranked in the Polls
Following an impressive fall campaign, freshman Blaz Rola was polled seventh by the ITA in the singles rankings. Rola, who is from Ptuj, Slovenia, joins four other Buckeyes ranked in the singles standings.
Senior Matt Allare sits at No. 34, while junior Devin McCarthy rounds out the Buckeyes who are ranked in the Top 50, coming in at No. 46. Junior Chase Buchanan is ranked as the 63rd-best singles player and redshirt-freshman Nelson Vick rounds out the Buckeyes at No. 72.
Rola finished the fall campaign 13-2 in singles and has added six more during the spring season. He finished the fall with three-straight wins before falling to No. 6 Steve Johnson of USC in the semifinals of the National Indoor Intercollegiate championships. Allare wrapped up the fall season 9-2, while Buchanan finished 5-3 in singles action. McCarthy concluded the autumn schedule 5-3 and Vick impressively finished 10-3.
In the doubles poll, Rola and Buchanan are the highest-rated Buckeye tandem at No. 6. The duo of Allare and Peter Kobelt is No. 19, while senior Balazs Novak and Devin McCarthy are ranked 25th. Rounding out the doubles rankings for Ohio State are seniors Shuhei Uzawa and Allare, who is the only Buckeye to be ranked as a member of two different doubles teams.
The Buckeyes will make their first road trip of the season Feb. 15 when they travel to No. 20 North Carolina. The Tar Heels currently are 2-1 on the year with their only loss coming to No. 11 Georgia during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The match will begin at 2:30 p.m. from Chapel Hill.