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COLUMBUS, Ohio – On a sunny afternoon on senior day, the fifth-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team defeated No. 17 Illinois, 6-1, Sunday at Stickney Tennis Center. With the win, the Buckeyes (27-1; 8-0 Big Ten) take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings, while the Illini (15-9; 7-1 Big Ten) dropped its first conference match of the season.

Ohio State improves to 36-54-1 vs. the Illini. Under 11th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes are now 11-9 vs. Illinois. The Buckeyes have won 19 consecutive matches this year and increase their home win streak to 108 straight victories. This season, Ohio State is 19-0 at home, which is the most home wins in a single year in program history.

Senior co-captains Justin Kronauge and Mike O’Connell were honored following their final home match of their Buckeye careers. The 2010 senior class is the winningest class in program history with 156 career wins. Kronauge and O’Connell have not lost at home or against a Big Ten opponent since joining the team in 2005-06.

“We had an unbelievable doubles point to begin the match,” Tucker said. “The guys fought hard for the seniors today. We know we have to play our best because any given day, a team can come out and beat us. This was a good team we faced and our guys continued to get after it on the courts. We are going to miss Mike and Justin next season.”

Junior Matt Allare, a native of Mason, Ohio, claimed the Buckeyes 27th win of the year after defeating Stephen Hoh 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) at No. 5 to improve to 21-4 overall. Allare has won 12 consecutive matches in his third year as a Buckeye.

In doubles, the Buckeyes won each match in dominating fashion against the Illini. At No. 1, sophomore Chase Buchanan and freshman Dino Marcan downed No. 89 Abe Souza and Marek Czerwinski, 8-1, to finish first in the competition. The 16th-ranked doubles pair in the country, Buchanan and Marcan are now 10-1 at the top of the lineup, winning their last 13 matches. At No. 2, Kronauge and junior Balazs Novak claimed their second victory, defeating Connor Roth and Hoh, 8-2, to put the Buckeyes up 1-0. The Buckeye duo has won a team-high 14 straight matches. At No. 3, Allare and classmate Shuhei Uzawa downed No. 79 Johnny Hamui and Dennis Nevolo, 8-5. Allare and Uzawa improve to a team-best 18 wins this season.

In singles, Kronauge claimed his 141st career win at No. 3 with a 6-1, 6-3, victory over No. 76 Souza. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Kronauge increases his win total to 30, which leads the team. He also improves his win streak to 19 straight victories in his final Buckeye campaign. At No. 4, Novak put the Buckeyes within one point of claiming the match with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Hamui. Novak is 29-6 overall this season.

The Illini claimed their lone point of the afternoon at No. 2 singles when No. 64 Czerwinski downed No. 91 Marcan 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. The loss is just the sixth this season for the first year Buckeye. At No. 6, sophomore Devin McCarthy continued his perfect stretch in dual competition, winning 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7), in a super tiebreaker over Roth. McCarthy is 12-0 this year in dual play. Closing out competition for the Buckeyes was 12th-ranked Buchanan at No. 1 singles. The second-year Buckeye won his 13th match over a ranked-opponent, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, over No. 37 Nevolo. Buchanan improves to an impressive 19-1 at the top of the lineup.

Ohio State will travel to its final conference road matches of the season at Northwestern at 4 p.m. April 23 and Wisconsin at noon April 25.  

Tennis Match Final Results
Illinois vs Ohio State
April 18, 2010 at Columbus, Ohio
(Stickney Tennis Center)
#5 Ohio State 6, #17 Illinois 1

 Singles competition
1. #12 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. #37 Dennis Nevolo (ILLINOIS) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
2. #64 Marek Czerwinski (ILLINOIS) def. #91 Dino Marcan (OSU) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
3. #41 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. #76 Abe Souza (ILLINOIS) 6-1, 6-3
4. Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Johnny Hamui (ILLINOIS) 6-2, 6-4
5. Matt Allare (OSU) def. Stephen Hoh (ILLINOIS) 6-3, 7-6 (9-7)
6. #117 Devin McCarthy (OSU) def. Connor Roth (ILLINOIS) 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7)

 Doubles competition
1. #16 Chase Buchanan/Dino Marcan (OSU) def. #89 Abe Souza/Marek Czerwinski (ILLINOIS) 8-1
2. Justin Kronauge/Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Stephen Hoh/Connor Roth (ILLINOIS) 8-2
3. Matt Allare/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) def. #79 Johnny Hamui/Dennis Nevolo (ILLINOIS) 8-5

*Rankings based on Campbell/ITA Division I College Tennis Rankings announced April 13

Match Notes:
Illinois 15-9; 7-1 Big Ten; National ranking #17
Ohio State 27-1; 8-0 Big Ten; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,4,5,2,6,1)
Official: Vince Solomon  T-3:20  A-312