May 18, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio– Though the Ohio State men’s tennis team has concluded play for the 2000-01 campaign following a 4-1 loss to Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA tournament May 13, the Buckeyes’ Phillip Metz remains in the NCAA tournament. Metz was selected for the NCAA Singles Championship to be played on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., May 23-28. His first round opponent, tournament seed and match time will be determined May 22.
OSU’s No. 1 Singles
Metz has posted a 36-10 overall record this year and finished 9-4 in Big Ten matches. He holds the No. 36 national ranking and is the seventh-highest ranked sophomore in the nation. His appearance in the singles tournament makes him the ninth Buckeye all-time to make the field of 64. The last to do so was current coach Ty Tucker in 1991.
“Coming to play at Ohio State, with team goals aside, my main goal was to make the NCAA singles tournament,” Metz said. “It is amazing for me to make it as a sophomore because I thought it wouldn’t be until my junior year that I would be selected. I am going to go down there and give it my best shot. I’ll be able to learn from my experiences there to help me improve throughout my career.”
Big Time Wins
Metz enters the singles event with a 9-4 mark against national qualifiers, including a 5-1 record against opponents in the Midwest region.
“I played a lot of close matches I was able to pull out,” Metz said. “I feel fortunate because Coach (Tucker) gave me the chance to play No. 1 and Chris (Porter), being a senior, let me play No. 1. If they had not let me play there all year, I would not be in this position today.”
Metz is Region IV Player to Watch
Metz took full advantage of his chance to play at No. 1. For his tremendous play this season, he was honored by the ITA as the Region IV Player to Watch. The award is given annually to a player who has had an outstanding year on the courts and is viewed as a player who will make an impact on the national scene in the years to come. “This is a great honor for me,” Metz said. “It is nice to be noticed and to know that the hard work I have put into getting better had paid off. Hopefully, I can keep improving my game and do well in years to come.”
Tucker agrees with Metz.
“He has won a great award,” Tucker said. “These awards are given to guys that can make it at the next level. I think he has proven that in the work he has done. If he continues to improve like he has these past two years, I think he will be ranked in the Top 5 as a senior and be playing for a national championship.”
Metz Record Watch
With a 36-10 record, Metz has moved into a tie for third all-time with teammate Chris Porter for most wins in a season with 36. Roger Smith and Mike Massie, both during the 1986 campaign, lead the way with 45 and 39, respectively.
Tucker On Metz
“I think Phil is one of the hottest players out there right now,” Tucker said. “He is certainly playing well right now and I look for him to move into the Top 30 in the country. I feel if he gets hot in Georgia, there is no reason to wait another year to win the tournament. If he’s on his game for four or five days, he has got a good shot to win it all.”
Last Time Out: NCAA Tourney
The Buckeyes advanced to their second-consecutive NCAA appearance following a 24-3 regular season and the Big Ten’s automatic bid after winning the conference tournament. And for the second-consecutive year, OSU opened play with a 4-3 win before falling in the second round, 4-1.
The Buckeyes traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., and the home of the Volunteers of Tennessee for the regional competition May 12-13. In the first round, OSU vanquished some demons of old with a 4-3 decision over Virginia Commonwealth. VCU had won the previous eight matches in the series. Vincent Ng played the role of hero for the second-consecutive match as well as the second-consecutive NCAA tournament opener by securing the final team point with a 6-3, 6-3 win over VCU’s Mattias Hoglund.
In the second round, OSU battled the host school of UT but fell, 4-1. The Buckeyes slipped to 0-6 all-time against the Vols, the No. 6 squad in the nation. Metz recorded the lone Buckeye point with his 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Mark Parsons.
The Buckeyes had probably the best season in the program’s history, posting a 25-4 overall record (11-2 Big Ten) and claiming the Big Ten Tournament Championship with a 4-2 upset of No. 9 Illinois. The win over UI snapped the Illini’s 57-match winning streak in Big Ten play.
OSU also set or nearly equalled other records during the campaign. The 25 wins secured by the Buckeyes are the second-most ever while the 11 wins in conference is tops. After starting the year 2-1, OSU set the record for consecutive wins for the program by claiming victory in 16-consecutive matches.
Along with the Region IV Player to Watch award garnered by Metz, the Buckeyes also secured conference honors.
Metz and Porter were selected as members of the All-Big Ten team. It was the first selection for Metz and Porter’s second-consecutive. Porter becomes only the 11th Buckeye to be selected to the conference team twice in a career.
Tucker also joined in on the awards as the Big Ten coaches selected him as the coach of the year. Tucker earned the award after guiding his team from a winless conference mark in the season prior to his arrival to a second-place finish in the Big Ten this year. The awards were voted on prior to the conference tournament.