COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 5 Ohio State men’s tennis team will continue its challenging March road schedule after downing No. 7 Pepperdine, 6-1, in Malibu, Calif., March 21. The Buckeyes (16-2, 1-0) will travel to Iowa City to take on the No. 66 Hawkeyes (6-5, 0-1) Friday before heading to Champaign to compete with the No. 11 Illini (9-6, 1-0) Sunday. The match at Iowa will take place at the Hawkeye Tennis Complex 3 p.m. ET Friday while the contest Sunday will begin at 1 p.m. from the Atkins Tennis Center.
The matches this weekend serve as the third and fourth of seven consecutive road contests for Ohio State. The Big Ten foes are also the third and fourth of nine contests in a row the Buckeyes will face opponents ranked in the ITA Top 75 poll (No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 70 Northwestern, No. 14 Kentucky, No. 44 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan and No. 25 Notre Dame). Ohio State is 10-2 vs. ranked opponents on the season, including a perfect 6-0 mark in Columbus.
Additionally, the Scarlet and Gray are 9-0 as the No. 5 ranked team in the country.
Fans can follow the action with live updates at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. To access the updates, select the schedule tab from the men’s tennis homepage.
A Look Back
The Buckeyes rebounded after their first road loss of the season with a 6-1 triumph at No. 11 Pepperdine. The match with the Waves, who entered the contest on a three-match win streak, was one of the tightest of the year. There were three third-set tiebreakers and four singles matches that took three sets to complete. The Scarlet and Gray moved to 3-1 on the road this season.
Junior Chase Buchanan defeated Finn Tearney at No. 1 7-5, 6-4 for his 60th career win to clinch the victory for the Buckeyes. Buchanan improved 18-5 on the year, including marks of 13-2 in duals and 8-0 at the No. 1 position.
The victory improved the Scarlet and Gray’s record to 5-1 vs. Pepperdine (13-4, 0-0). Head coach Ty Tucker is now an undefeated 5-0 vs. the Waves in his career. The win was the fourth-consecutive season the reigning five-time Big Ten champions have defeated the WCC powerhouse.
In doubles play, Buckeyes senior co-captain Shuhei Uzawa and Buchanan paired up for the first time this season and quickly gave the Buckeyes an early doubles advantage by shutting out Sebastian Fanselow and Jenson Turner, 8-0, at No. 2.
Ohio State headed into singles action up 1-0 after freshman Blaz Rola and senior co-captain Balazs Novak clinched the doubles point after marching to an 8-4 triumph at No. 3 vs. Hugh Clarke and Alfredo Moreno. Novak and Rola are 2-0 this season as a tandem.
In singles action, Matt Allare built the Buckeye lead to 2-0 with a straight set 6-3, 6-4 win vs. Moreno at No. 4. With the victory, Allare, ranked 43rd nationally, picked up his 100th career singles win. His career record is now 100-18, while his season mark stands at 20-3 and 11-1 in duals. Allare is 8-0 when playing the No. 4 position.
Novak came back to down Pepperdine’s Mousheg Hovhannisyan 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to move to 19-3 on the year. Novak is 8-0 at the No. 5 position.
Redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy moved to 36-5 in his Buckeye career and 5-0 at the No. 6 spot on the season after handing David Sofaer a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 setback. McCarthy, ranked 46th in the nation, improves to 18-3 overall and 13-1 in dual action on the 2010-11 campaign.
Scouting the Hawkeyes
Iowa enters the contest with a 6-5 overall record and 0-1 mark in Big Ten competition. Iowa started the season slow losing three of its first four matches, but have since rebounded going 5-2 in its last seven contests. The Hawkeyes fell in their only Big Ten match on the season to No. 10 Illinois, 4-3, at home. Wins for Iowa have come against Creighton, Illinois State, Western Michigan, Drake, UCF and Florida Atlantic.
Buckeyes vs. Iowa
Ohio State is 31-21 all-time vs. the Hawkeyes. Since head coach Ty Tucker has guided the Buckeyes, the Scarlet and Gray have reeled off 12 consecutive wins vs. Iowa dating back to 1999. Tucker (12-0) has never lost to the Hawkeyes.
Last season No. 2 Ohio State downed No. 73 Iowa, 6-1, April 2, at the Hawkeye Tennis Recreation Complex in Iowa City. It was the 11th consecutive win for the Buckeyes who moved to 19-1 on the year and 3-0 in conference action. Sophomore Chase Buchanan, ranked 12th in the nation, claimed the victory for the Buckeyes with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Marc Bruche at No. 1 singles. No. 36 Justin Kronauge moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time career singles wins list with 133 victories with his 22nd win of the season. Balazs Novak and Matt Allare also picked up singles win for the Scarlet and Gray.
Previewing the Illini
As of Thursday, Illinois stands at 9-6 overall and 1-0 in conference play heading into action Sunday with the Buckeyes. No. 5 Ohio State and No. 10 Illinois are the two highest rated Big Ten teams in the latest ITA rankings. Hosting a challenging schedule, the Illini began the 2010-11 campaign 6-1 with wins coming against Denver, Notre Dame, Duke, Kentucky and Florida. The lone setback was vs. No. 2 Tennessee, 5-2. Since its hot start, Illinois is 3-4, including a 1-2 showing at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Seattle, Wash. The Illini beat Texas A&M before falling to No. 1 Virginia and Texas in the next two contests. Their only conference win came against Iowa March 6, 4-3. Illinois enters play this weekend on a two-match losing streak, but host Penn State Friday.
Buckeyes vs. Illinois
The Scarlet and Gray are 37-54-1 vs. Illinois all-time. Ohio State has a record of 12-9 vs. Illinois since Tucker became head coach. All other Big Ten schools combined have only amassed eight total wins vs. the Buckeyes in the same time span. However, since 2005 Ohio State has won 10 of 11 vs. Illinois.
Last season, Ohio State defeated Illinois twice. The No. 5 Buckeyes downed No. 17 Illinois, 6-1, April 18 on Senior Day to give the Illini their first Big Ten loss of the 2010-11 campaign. Ohio State also handed the Illini a 4-1 loss May 2 in the Big Ten Tournament final. It was the fifth consecutive year the Buckeyes won the event.
Big Ten Best
Ohio State currently is on a 67 match win streak in the Big Ten after the victory at Penn State March 4. Entering the season, the Buckeyes have amassed five-consecutive Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles. Coach Tucker has also 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 67 consecutive match win streak in conference play, the Buckeyes also have been a winner in 119 of its last 124 league contests, including postseason play.
After defeating No. 11 Pepperdine, 6-1, Penn State, 7-0, and No. 19 North Carolina, 6-1, earlier this season, Ohio State enters the match vs. Iowa with 50 wins out of its last 51 regular season (non-tournament) road contests. The loss at Texas A&M March 10 was the first road loss for the Buckeyes since falling at Notre Dame, 5-2, during the 2005-06 season.
Rola Captures First-Career Big Ten Athlee of the Week Honor
Freshman Blaz Rola earned his first Big Ten Athlete of the Week honor 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 25 and is tied with three teammates for dual doubles wins with 11. 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-plateau, winning his 100th career singles match March 21 at Pepperdine. Allare, ranked 43rd nationally, picked up the win by defeating Pepperdine’s Alfredo Moreno 6-3, 6-4.
His career record is now 100-18, while his season mark stands at 20-3 and 11-1 in duals. Allare is 8-0 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 have the chance to earn their 20th singles win on the season vs. either Iowa or Illinois this weekend. Chase Buchanan enters play at 18-5 while redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy is 18-3. The duo needs wins against both teams to join Blaz Rola and Matt Allare as the only Buckeyes to amass 20 victories in singles play overall on the season. Balazs Novak only needs one win this weekend to join the pair in the 20-win column. The Budapest, Hungary, native’s record currently stands at 19-3.
Success in Duals
Ohio State has been dominant so far throughout the 2011 schedule in dual action. In singles, the Buckeyes are a combined 86-12 (.880). Senior Balazs Novak paces the squad with 15 victories. Chase Buchanan and Devin McCarthy each have 13, while freshman Blaz Rola has 12. Senior Matt Allare and freshman Ille Van Engelen each have 10 wins as well.
In doubles, the Scarlet and Gray are a combined 39-13 (.750). McCarthy, Novak and Rola lead the way each with an 11-4 mark, while Allare is 11-5. Buchanan and Peter Kolbelt are right behind with 10 doubles wins each.
Last season, Ohio State finished with a combined dual-record of 160-32 (.833) in singles and was 85-20 (.810) in doubles.
Seven Ranked in Latest Poll
New Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings were released Tuesday March 15. 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, falling five spots to the the No. 19 ranking. Buchanan was ranked 21st in the Feb. 14 standings and 63rd in the inaugural poll. Freshman Blaz Rola dropped one spot to No. 5. Senior Matt Allare fell four spots to No. 43, while redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy remains ranked 46th.
Rounding out the rankings for the Scarlet and Gray are freshman Peter Kobelt, who remains 63rd, freshman Nelson Vick at No. 98 and senior co-captain Balazs Novak who sits at No. 116.
In the doubles poll, the team of Rola and Buchanan fell one place to No. 9, while Allare and Kobelt are now ranked No. 14. The duo of Novak and McCarthy fell out of the doubles rankings after being the No. 76th team in the March 1 release.
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 Waves, the overall record currently stands at 1,003-694-10. Head coach Ty Tucker has 308 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. They 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 1,003 victories in its long history.
McCarthy, Novak Earn All-ITA Indoor Team Honors
Redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy and senior Balazs Novak were each 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.
Virginia players were selected for the No. 1 through No. 4 positions.
Vick and Allare Continue Streaks
Buckeyes Matt Allare and Nelson Vick enter the Big Ten matches this weekend with win streaks of at least eight matches.
Vick paces all Buckeyes with 13-consecutive wins. He stands at 10-3 in duals with a 17-3 overall mark during his rookie campaign. Allare has an eight-match win streak for an 11-1 dual record. The senior co-captain’s 20 overall singles wins are second on the team, only behind Blaz Rola’s team-high 25 victories.
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 (18-5) 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 308-53. 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 26.5 wins in 11 seasons and his current .855 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 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’ 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, who hails from Budapest, Hungary, had a 14-match win streak snapped March 10 at Texas A&M. 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.
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 41-4 combined career Big Ten singles record.
Rola Rolls to 20 Wins
Freshman Blaz Rola, the fifth-ranked singles player nationally, was the first Buckeye to achieve 20 victories on the season. His record stands at 24-3 overall with an impressive 11-1 mark in dual action. He is 4-1 while playing at No. 1 and 7-0 at No. 2. On the year, he has faced a ranked opponent 13 times, winning 10.
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 10-5 in singles and 3-1 in doubles on the season.
NOTING THE TY TUCKER ERA (as of March 25)
Ohio State Accomplishments Under Tucker…
The Buckeyes will continue conference play when they travel to Northwestern April 2 to take on the No. 70 Wildcats. Ohio State is 42-43 all-time vs. Northwestern. Under head coach Ty Tucker’s guidance, the team is 13-1 vs. Wildcats.