April 3, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team will compete in two conference road matches Friday and Sunday. The Buckeyes (21-2, 6-0 B1G) face No. 51 Minnesota at 4 p.m. ET Friday before traveling to Madison, Wis., to compete against No. 70 Wisconsin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.
Fresh off breaking the NCAA home win streak record last weekend in Columbus, Ohio State will look to stay at the Top of the Big Ten conference standings this weekend. The Scarlet and Gray have won 88-consecutive Big Ten regular-season matches, which dates back to the 2005 campaign.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
• After two weeks at No. 2, the Buckeyes return to the Top of the ITA national poll this week after two Top 30 wins last weekend, including a 5-2 win over No. 10 Illinois March 30 at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Scarlet and Gray were ranked No. 1 for four-consecutive weeks earlier this year.
• The Buckeyes have been ranked in the ITA Top 10 for 261-consecutive matches (beginning March 7, 2006)
• Since 1999, Ohio State is 405-50 (.890) when ranked in the ITA Top 25.
• Ohio State won its first national team indoor title Feb. 17 with a 4-1 win over USC in Houston, Texas.
• Ohio State also has been victorious in 88-consecutive regular-season Big Ten matches, dating back to 2005.
• For the eighth-consecutive season, Ohio State was crowned the Big Ten regular-season champions and won the conference tournament title seven of the last eight seasons in 2013.
• With a 21-2 overall record, the Buckeyes own a 370-47 (.887) record as a Top 25 team since 2001.
• Redshirt junior Kevin Metka leads the Buckeyes with 23 singles wins followed by classmate Hunter Callahan with 22 victories and senior Peter Kobelt with 21 overall wins.
• In dual matches, Metka is 19-2, while Callahan and redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach are 18-3.
• Kobelt has the top dual record at No. 1 singles (14-2).
• In doubles, Kobelt and Metka are 27-6 overall with a 13-3 mark vs. nationally-ranked pairs.
HOME, STREAK, HOME
The Ohio State men’s tennis program had a big weekend when it broke the NCAA home winning streak record in Columbus. The Buckeyes won their 185th-consecutive home match with a 4-3 win over No. 28 Northwestern March 28, passing the Stanford women’s program, who held the record for 12 years with 184-consecutive home wins.
The pairings of Hunter Callahan and Ralf Steinbach and No. 6 Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka claimed doubles wins. In singles play, Metka, Steinbach and Kobelt clinched straight-set victories to seal the record for the Buckeyes. On March 30, Ohio State battled No. 10 Illinois in a Top 10 clash to claim sole ownership of the Big Ten standings. Using new doubles pairings, Callahan and redshirt sophomore Chris Diaz and Metka and freshman Marko Goles Babic (Zagreb, Croatia) claimed the doubles points for the Buckeyes. In singles, Steinbach and Metka earned straight-set wins and Callahan provided the clinch in a three-set affair and extend the streak to 186-consecutive home wins. Freshman Herkko Pollanen ended the day with the biggest win of his young collegiate career, winning a three-set battle over No. 9 Jared Hiltzik.
SCOUTING THE GOPHERS
No. 51 Minnesota (9-8, 3-2 B1G) leads Ohio State in their all-time series,38-28, but the Buckeyes have gone 16-3 under the direction of director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker. Last year, Ohio State defeated Minnesota, 7-0, in Columbus with former Buckeye Connor Smith sealing the victory. Leandro Toledo is the sole Gopher in the ITA singles rankings, coming in the most recent poll at No. 66. In doubles, Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg are the only Minnesota duo ranked, coming in at No. 19.
BREAKING DOWN THE BADGERS
The Buckeyes lead No. 70 Wisconsin (9-9, 1-4 B1G), 48-32, in their overall head-to-head, with coach Tucker a perfect 22-0 against the Badgers. Six of the previous seven encounters have been shutouts, including last season’s 7-0 victory in Columbus that Callahan clinched. The win was significant as it marked a decade without a home loss. Wisconsin has no singles or doubles players in the ITA rankings, but Oskar Wikberg holds an 8-5 record at the No. 1 singles position, while Wikberg and Jakhongir Jalalov have been the most recent No. 1 doubles pairing.
KOBELT RISES IN OSU RECORD BOOK
Senior Peter Kobelt currently is in the Top 10 in multiple OSU career wins lists. Kobelt, the 2014 National Indoor Most Outstanding Player, is second on the OSU all-time doubles wins list with 127 victories and recently passed former Buckeye Bryan Koniecko, who collected 125 career wins from 2006-09. He is six wins shy of tying former Buckeye Justin Kronauge (2007-10) for first on the OSU doubles wins list. In singles, Kobelt has notched 113 career wins and is tied with former Buckeye Mike Massie (1983-86) for ninth. He needs three victories to tie former Buckeyes Devin Mullings (2003-07) and Matt Allare (2008-11) for seventh on the singles list. On the combined career wins list, Kobelt sits at 240 victories, which is currently fourth-best all-time.
B1G ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Peter Kobelt, the eighth-ranked player in singles and half of the sixth-ranked doubles duo, was awarded the B1G Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for the fourth time this season and the fifth time in his career on March 25. He earned the honor for knocking off No. 112 Alex Petrone of Michigan (6-3, 3-6, 6-2) and Drew Lied of Michigan State (6-3, 6-1) in the No. 1 singles position. He added doubles wins against No. 22 Alex Buzzi and Barrett Franks of Michigan (8-6) and Lied and John Patrick Mullane of Michigan State (8-7 (7-3)) with partner Kevin Metka.
Guided by director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes defeated four Top 25 teams, including two Top 5 programs en route to the national title to put Ohio State at its best start to a season in program history. The Buckeyes downed No. 12 Florida in the first round, 4-1, Feb. 14 with Hunter Callahan clinching and No. 13 Texas, 4-2, Feb. 15 in the quarterfinals. Redshirt junior Kevin Metka clinched the match to send the Buckeyes to a semifinal against No. 1 Virginia.
The semifinal proved to be a 4-3 classic with Metka pulling off the upset with a 6-5 (7-5), 5-6 (5-7), 6-5 (12-10) victory, saving two match points Feb. 16. No. 3 USC was next, with Ohio State earning the doubles points and claimed the title with a 4-1 win over the Trojans Feb. 17. Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach clinched the championship for Ohio State with a 6-5 (7-4), 6-4 win over Connor Farren on court No. 4.
Ohio State rounds out a three-game road swing April 9 at Kentucky. The Buckeyes have already defeated the Wildcats this year, shutting out Kentucky, 4-0, Feb. 7 at the Varsity Tennis Center.