COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 2 Ohio State men’s tennis team (32-1, 13-0) successfully defended its 2006 and 2007 Big Ten Tournament titles Sunday when it beat third-seed Illinois in the final of the 2008 Big Ten Tournament at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center on the campus of the University of Iowa. Ohio State claimed its fourth Big Ten Tournament title in the last seven years. The Buckeyes also were the 2008 regular-season league champions.
“I want to thank the staff at Iowa for a great event,” Tucker said. “I know we are going to see Illinois again in a couple of weeks and they always put on a tough match. I couldn’t be happier for my guys today.”
Ohio State now has won 39-consecutive Big Ten matches and is 90-5 in its last 95 contests, including the postseason. Head coach Ty Tucker improves to 19-5 in the Big Ten tournament. The event this year marked the fifth-consecutive year the Buckeyes and Illini have met in the championship match. Illinois won the first two meetings in 2004 and 2005, but OSU has now won the last three (2006, 2007 and 2008).
The Buckeyes lost the doubles point for only the third time this season. Justin Kronauge and Drew Eberly, ranked No. 19 in the country, paired up at the No. 2 doubles spot and were upset by Ruben Gonzalez and Marc Spicijaric at No. 2 doubles by an 8-4 margin.
At the No. 3 spot Brandon Davis and Waylon Chin downed Matt Allare and Shuhei Uzawa by an 8-5 score to secure the doubles point for the Fighting Illini.
The 13th-ranked tandem of Steven Moneke and Bryan Koniecko were tied with Billy Heiser and Ryan Rowe at the top doubles spot, 7-7.
Koniecko, the 2008 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, beat Rowe at the top singles spot by a 6-4, 6-2 margin. Uzawa, of Chiba, Japan, was upset at the No. 4 singles spot by Heiser 6-2, 6-3.
Novak, a freshman from Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, claimed a 6-3, 7-5 win over Roy Kalmanovich at No. 5 singles to tie the match at 2-2. Eberly was upset in his match at No. 6 singles by Chin in a hard-fought match 6-1, 3-6, 7-6.
Kronauge, who is ranked No. 22, won his match at No. 2 singles. The Buckeye sophomore from Centerville, Ohio, beat Gonzales 6-7, 6-1, 6-4, to pull Ohio State level at 3-3.
The tournament championship came down to Moneke’s match against Spicijaric at No. 3 singles. Moneke, ranked 33rd, claimed his match by a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 score. Moneke has now won 25-consecutive singles matches.
The Big Ten Network will air a delayed broadcast of the championship at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, May 7. Tom Werme and former Northwestern head coach Paul Toricelli will announce the match.
The 2008 NCAA Tournament Selection Show for men’s tennis will be televised live between 2 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPNews. The first two rounds of the event will be played on campus sites. The Top 16 teams in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings will serve as host institutions May 11-13. Ohio State, currently ranked No. 3 nationally, is expected to play host to the early rounds May 9-11 at the Stickney Tennis Center on the OSU campus.
No. 1-seed Ohio State 4, No. 3-seed Illinois 3
April 27, 2008
2008 Big Ten Championship
Iowa City, Iowa
Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center
1. No. 18 Bryan Koniecko (OSU) def. No. 19 Ryan Rowe (ILL) 6-4, 6-2
2. No. 22 Justin Kronauge (OSU) def. No. 48 Ruben Gonzales (ILL) 6-7, 6-1, 6-4
3. No. 33 Steven Moneke (OSU) def. Marc Spicijaric (ILL) 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
4. Billy Heiser (ILL) def. Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) 6-2, 6-3
5. Balazs Novak (OSU) def. Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) 6-3, 7-5
6. Waylon Chin (ILL) def. Drew Eberly (OSU) 1-6, 6-3, 7-6
1. No. 33 Steven Moneke/Bryan Koniecko (OSU) vs. No. 11 Billy Heiser/Ryan Rowe (ILL) 7-7
2. Ruben Gonzales/Marc Spicijaric (ILL) def. No. 19 Drew Eberly/Justin Kronauge (OSU) 8-4
3. Waylon Chin/Brandon Davis (ILL) def. No. 33 Matt Allare/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,2,4,5)