Jan. 23, 2001

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State men’s tennis team is ready to begin the spring season, a season that will feature matches with some of the top-ranked teams and individuals in the nation. OSU will begin its tough schedule with six-consecutive home matches, including two Thursday and one Saturday.

Ng Does It Again

OSU’s Vincent Ng (So., Broadview Heights, Ohio/University School) captured second place at the University of Kentucky Winterslam 2001 Sunday. Ng adds his runner-up finish to the first place championship he garnered in the No. 7-9 singles bracket at the Big Ten Indoor Championships Jan. 13-15. Ng finished the fall tied for the team lead in overall wins in singles with 13.

Tucker On Ng

“Vince is doing great for us right now,” Ty Tucker, OSU head coach, said. “He won the championship in a very tough Big Ten tournament and it was great to see him win four-consecutive matches against tough players. He has the hottest hand on the team right now.”

Ready To Play

Tucker, entering his second season at the helm of the Buckeye program, knows the success OSU enjoyed last year will not be any easier to attain this year. He knows his squad will have to be ready to play every time they take the courts.

“I am excited but nervous for the start of the season,” Tucker said. “I feel we are ready to go. We worked hard over the summer and had a great fall season. If we can duplicate the success we had this fall as individuals, we will do well as a team.”

A Step in the Right Direction

The Buckeyes will enter as the No. 32 team in the nation and with a big bulls-eye on their collective chests. After taking wins from many teams last year as an unranked team, there will be many schools looking to knock the Buckeyes down the rankings. “We will have to fight to hold our (No.) 32 ranking and to move up in the polls,” Tucker said. “Teams will come ready to play us and we will have to be ready for them. Since we are on the road a lot this year, we will have to be ready to defend our home court and that starts Thursday.

The Dilema

As a head coach, Tucker is faced with making tough decisions. One tough decision faces him already this season: which six players to put on the court.

“We have nine guys that can step up and play for us this year,” Tucker said. “I can only play six guys so picking the ones to take the court will be tough. They have all worked hard this summer and fall.

Scouting Butler

The Bulldogs, led by third-year coach Jason Suscha, enter the season 0-1 after a 6-1 loss to Western Michigan.

BU is led on the court by a duo that tackles the No. 1 and 2 singles and the No. 1 doubles position. Brandon Currie and Jimmy Borendam have had success this fall and capped it with a 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, defeat of OSU’s Bob Wellstein (Sr., Perrysburg/Perrysburg) and Derek DeFalco (Sr., Maumee, Ohio/Maumee) in the championship of the Milwaukee Classic. The duo also made the third round of the ITA All-American meet this fall.

Currie finished last year at the No. 1 singles spot with a school-record 30 wins.

Bulldogs vs. Buckeyes

OSU and BU have met one time prior to this year. OSU took the first meeting, 9-0, in Columbus during the 1985-86 season.

Scouting Murray State

The Racers, led by head coach Mel Purcell, are led to the courts by sophomore Nikola Aracic and juniors Alex Sundsten and Thiago Gondim.

Aracic and Gondim recently participated in the ITA Region III tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Florida Atlantic’s Yalin Bilgin and Doug Dovrient, 9-7. Aracic also advanced to the second round before falling to Middle Tennessee State’s Daniel Klemetz, 6-1, 6-1.

Sundsten captured second place in the B Flight at the Louisville Invitational. He was defeated by Louisville’s Matt Mayer, 6-4, 6-3.

Racers vs. Buckeyes

OSU holds an 11-1 series lead all-time after the Buckeyes took the last meeting, 7-0. OSU handed the Racers the defeat to open the 1995-96 season in Columbus.

Scouting Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish, enter the weekend after sweeping No. 18 Minnesota, 7-0, and Wisconsin, 6-1. The Irish-Buckeye matches will be the fourth-consecutive contest for UND against a Big Ten conference opponent.

Head coach Bob Bayliss’ squad is led on the court by juniors Casey Smith, Javier Taborga and Aaron Talarico. Smith, the No. 95 player in the nation, is coming in after a win over No. 53 Harsh Mankad, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Taborga, ranked No. 75, is 2-0 on the year in singles.

In doubles, Taborga and Talarico make up the No. 38 tandem in the nation. The duo has won both its matches, 8-4 and 8-5 in the last two meets, respectively.

Fighting Irish vs. Buckeyes

The Irish and Buckeyes have met 42 times with UND winning 23 times. In the last meeting, UND slipped by OSU, 4-3, in South Bend, Ind., Feb. 12, 2000.

From The Baseline

Brenton Contini (Fr., Dover, Ohio/Dover): Contini defeated Todd Scheck of Kentucky, 8-3, to capture third place at the Kentucky Winterslam 2001. Contini’s third place finish capped his fall season with the second-most wins on the team with 16.

Ben Kirksey: (Fr., Canton, Ohio/McKinley): Kirksey captured sixth place at the Kentucky Winterslam 2001 tournament. He fell to Brad Schmid of Kentucky, 6-0, 6-3 in the fifth/sixth place match.

Vincent Ng: Ng advanced to the finals of his second-consecutive tournament and captured second place. He fell to Jevgenji Cariov of DePaul, 6-2, 6-4, in the finals of the Kentucky Winterslam 2001.

National Opponents

Eleven of OSU’s 23 opponents this season are currently ranked in the Top 75 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Among the non-conference opponents in the rankings are No. 30 Indiana State, No. 31 Clemson, No. 33 Notre Dame, No. 40 Kentucky and No. 59 Virginia Tech. Of those five opponents, OSU will play host to only one team, Notre Dame.

In the Big Ten, Illinois is No. 6 and is followed by No. 18 Minnesota, No. 27 Indiana, No. 29 Michigan, No. 39 Purdue and No. 51 Northwestern. OSU will play host to Illinois and Northwestern in the final week of action and will visit the other ranked teams.

Next Up

The Buckeyes will continue their six-match homestand when they play host to West Virginia and Northern Illinois at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, Feb. 3 at the Jesse Owens Recreational Center.