COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 4 Ohio State men’s tennis team will try to remain undefeated when it travels to No. 19 North Carolina at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Chapel Hill. The match will serve as the fourth-consecutive match the Buckeyes (8-0, 0-0) will face a team ranked in the ITA standings. With all eight victories occurring in Columbus so far, Ohio State enters its first road contest vs. the Tar Heels with 47-straight regular season road wins.
Last Time Out
The Scarlet and Gray moved to 8-0 on the year with a 7-0 shutout over No. 33 LSU Feb. 12. Ohio State improved to 7-5 all-time vs. the Tigers. With the win, the Buckeyes have now defeated five teams ranked in the ITA standings. They previously had downed two other SEC foes, beating both No. 18 Mississippi and No. 11 Georgia by a 6-1 score. 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. The Buckeyes have amassed six shutouts so far on the season.
A Look at UNC
The Tar Heels enter the match Tuesday with a 3-2 overall record following a 7-0 shutout loss at No. 28 Auburn Feb. 23. North Carolina previously shut out both Charlotte and Navy, 7-0, and dealt No. 21 Georgia Tech a close 4-3 loss. Both UNC losses were against ranked opponents on the road. In addition to the Auburn loss, the Tar Heels were defeated by the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs, 4-1, in Athens Jan. 30.
Buckeyes vs. Tar Heels
Ohio State is undefeated vs. North Carolina with an all-time mark of 5-0-1. The Buckeyes and Tar Heels have met each of the last three seasons. Last year, the No. 3 Buckeyes came away with a 6-1 victory in Columbus. Junior Chase Buchanan led Ohio State in singles with a 6-3, 6-4 upset over No. 36 Clay Donato. Current assistant coach Justin Kronauge also came away with a 7-5, 6-3 win. In their 2008-09 meeting in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels were shutout, 7-0. In 2007-08, Ohio State won the contest, 4-2.
Buckeyes vs. ACC
Ohio State is 33-30-1 vs. schools from the Atlantic Coast Conference. North Carolina is the only current team from the ACC on the schedule this year. Head coach Ty Tucker has an overall mark of 21-4 vs. teams from the ACC. The Buckeyes are 2-1 vs. Clemson, 3-3 vs. Florida State, 0-3 vs. Georgia Tech, 3-2 vs. Maryland, 4-0 vs. North Carolina State, 2-3 vs. Virginia, 7-1 vs. Virginia Tech, 4-3 vs. Wake Forest, 3-10 vs. Miami and 0-4 vs. Duke. Ohio State has never faced Boston College.
Tucker Gets 300th Victory
The win against LSU served as head coach Ty Tucker’s 300th career victory. His overall career mark as the Buckeye leader now stands at 300-51. 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 26.5 wins in 11 seasons and his 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 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
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’ 8-0 record so far in 2011. Allare, a native of Mason, Ohio, paces the group with 13 victories against three losses, including a 4-1 mark in dual competition. Meanwhile, Novak, who hails from Budapest, Hungary, is currently on a eight-match win streak. Novak is 12-2 overall and boasts an 8-0 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 successful in the Big Ten, earning a 40-4 combined career Big Ten singles record.
Rola Rolls to 20 Wins
Freshman Blaz Rola, the seventh-ranked singles player nationally, was the first Buckeye to achieve 20 victories on the season. His record stands at 20-2 overall with an undefeated 7-0 mark in dual action. He is 3-0 while playing at No. 1 and 4-0 at No. 2. On the year, he has faced a ranked opponent 10 times, winning eight.
Five Buckeyes are entering the contest Tuesday boasting at least six-match win streaks. Redshirt-freshman Nelson Vick leads all Buckeyes with a current 10-match win streak on the season for an overall mark of 14-3. Vick defeated LSU’s Tom Knights 7-6, 4-6, 10-4 Feb. 12.
Junior Chase Buchanan and senior Balazs Novak each carry streaks of eight in a row. Buchanan defeated Neal Skupski 6-4, 6-2 to keep his streak alive and move to 13-3 overall and 8-0 in dual single action. Novak’s mark of eight-straight wins pushes his season record to 12-2 and 6-0 when playing at No. 5.
Freshman Blaz Rola has nabbed a win in seven straight contests while redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy has a win streak of six matches heading into the contest vs. UNC. Rola is 20-2 overall and McCarthy stands at 11-2.
Chase Buchanan Nabs 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 Feb. 8 after leading the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to wins against No. 18 Mississippi and No. 11 Georgia Feb. 4 and 6, respectively. 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.
Dominant in Columbus
The Buckeyes have won a school-record 118-consecutive home matches dating back to the 2002-03 season. They have won the first eight matches to begin this season at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center; four 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 20-1 (.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 travel to Seattle, Wash., this weekend to compete in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Ohio State will be one of 16 teams that earned the right to compete after winning one of the national qualifiers. The Buckeyes hosted their qualifier, shutting out No. 75 William & Mary in the opener and No. 56 UC Irvine in the championship qualifier to earn the right to travel to Seattle.