COLUMBUS, Ohio – Starting outdoors and finishing indoors, it was a long but successful day for the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes. They clashed with No. 6 Illinois, the only other team undefeated in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes made a statement by sweeping the Fighting Illini to take the undisputed top spot currently in the Big Ten conference.
The Scarlet and Gray move up to 23-2 on the season, and 8-0 in the conference. They also are now 14-0 at home, and 13-2 against nationally ranked opponents. Illinois now falls behind Ohio State in the Big Ten standings, and falls to 16-6 on the year and 7-1 in B1G play.
The match started outside with doubles at the Varsity Tennis Courts. It was as good of a start as the Buckeyes could have hoped for. While initially even on both sides, all three Buckeye courts earned multiple breaks to quickly decide doubles. First off the court was Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert with a 6-2 victory over Alex Brown and Caleb Chakravarthi. They are currently on a seven-game win streak.
Teams were able to get singles play halfway through before the rain started to kick in. Ohio State was able to take three of four first sets completed before the rain, with Torpegaard, McNally and Joyce all taking their sets by at least three games.
After around an hour delay, matches resumed indoors at the Varsity Tennis Center. Illinois was able to use this break in momentum to their advantage, as Wolf and Tim Seibert both had leads in the first set but couldn’t hold on to them. In the end, however, the initial surge by Ohio State was too much to handle. Torpegaard, McNally and Joyce, the first three to win first sets for the Buckeyes, soon became the players that clinched the match for Ohio State.
Torpegaard was the first done with a 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 15 Vukic, and is now 5-1 in dual match play against top-15 players. Next to win was McNally, who started off slowly in the first set down 1-3, but came roaring back to beat Hiltzik 6-3, 6-2. This was McNally’s 20th win on the season, and he has won 11 of his past 12 matches.
Clinching for the Buckeyes was Joyce. In a clutch finish, Joyce broke Chakravarthi at 4-4 in the second set, and served three aces en route to give the Buckeyes the sweep. This gives Joyce 11 straight wins.
The other matches all appeared pretty even. Wolf and Kyle Seelig both were on serve in third sets, while Tim Seibert was on serve in the second set.
Ohio State has their last home match of the regular season this Sunday, against Northwestern at Noon. After that, they will travel to Indiana next week to face Indiana and Purdue as they attempt to win the Big Ten conference for the 13th straight year.
#3 Ohio State 4, #6 Illinois 0
Illinois 16-6 (7-1); National ranking #6
Ohio State 23-2 (8-0); National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,2,6)
Official: Marcus Lee T-3:07 A-236
Clinching doubles shortly afterwards was JJ Wolf and Martin Joyce, who defeated Aleks Vukic and Aron Hiltzik 6-2. Mikael Torpegaard and John McNally were also up a break at 4-2 when doubles play was ended.