COLUMBUS, Ohio – Momentum is a crazy thing is and both teams rode it for stretches on Saturday night but fortunately for Ohio State, it was on their side when it mattered as the Buckeyes pulled out a hard-fought 4-3 victory over No. 6 Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the ITA Indoor Team National Championships.
The Buckeyes started quick with the doubles point as Cannon Kingsley and Kyle Seelig raced to a 6-3 win on court three. John McNally and Robert Cash were up 4-1 on court one over Henri Squire and Eduardo Nava but gave up the break and found themselves tied 4-4. The Buckeye duo rallied to win three of the next four games and took the match and the doubles point 7-5.
In singles, Wake Forest evened the match with a 6-2, 6-3 win from Taha Baadi over Justin Boulais on court three. The Buckeyes seemed to take momentum after that win with a pair of tiebreak wins from James Trotter and Cash on courts five and six as well as a 6-4 win from Seelig on four. Wake Forest pushed back however and stole the momentum as Squire won a tiebreak over Kingsley on two and Banthia raced to a 6-0 win in the second set against Cash.
Bar Botzer made it 2-1 Wake with his 6-3, 6-4 win over McNally on one. Kingsley then started the momentum swing back towards the Buckeyes as he rallied after dropping the second set in a breaker to win the third 7-5 and even the match again at 2-2.
Seelig had two match points leading 5-2 in the second and ended up losing the game and the next four to drop the second set 7-5. However, he and Kingsley stole back the momentum for good. As the freshman was sealing his victory, Seelig, the redshirt-senior, regrouped and took control of his third set. He raced out 5-0 and went on to win 6-1. That came just after Cash lost on court six and the match was again even at 3-3.
The semifinal berth would be decided on court between Trotter and Nava. After winning the opening set in a breaker, Trotter lost the second 6-4. The two were on serve through 4-3 before Trotter broke to take a 5-3 lead. With all the momentum, Trotter wasn’t able hold as Nava broke back to make it 5-4. He then held to even the score at 5-5. Trotter held from 0-30 with a great deuce point win for 6-5 and then sealed the win with another break.
The thrilling win pushes the Buckeyes into the semifinals where they will take on North Carolina on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
#2 Ohio State 4, #6 Wake Forest 3
1. #44 Bar Botzer (WFU) def. #19 John McNally (OSU) 6-4, 6-3
2. #22 Cannon Kingsley (OSU) def. Henri Squire (WFU) 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 7-5
3. Taha Baadi (WFU) def. Justin Boulais (OSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. #31 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Meliios Efstathiou (WFU) 6-4, 5-7, 6-1
5. #70 James Trotter (OSU) def. Eduardo Nava (WFU) 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-5
6. #100 Sid Banthia (WFU) def. Robert Cash (OSU) 6-7 (4-7), 6-0, 6-3
1. #1 John McNally/Robert Cash (OSU) def. Eduardo Nava/Henri Squire (WFU) 7-5
2. James Trotter/Justin Boulais (OSU) vs. Meliios Efstathiou/Taha Baadi (WFU) 6-6, unfinished
3. Kyle Seelig/Cannon Kingsley (OSU) def. Bar Botzer/Morgan Dill (WFU) 6-3
Wake Forest 8-2; National ranking #6
Ohio State 13-0; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (3,1,2,6,4,5)
ITA Indoor National Team Championship Quarterfinals