Feb. 18, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – – The No. 15 Ohio State men’s tennis team (3-4 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) fell, 4-2, to fourth-ranked Georgia (5-0 overall, 0-0 SEC) Thursday evening in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Chicago. The Buckeyes, the No. 13 seed of the 16-team tournament, are making their first appearance in the National Team Indoor Championship since 1977. The Bulldogs, the No. 4 seed, are making their 28th appearance in program history. Ohio State will face No. 12 seed Kentucky Friday at 7 p.m. EST in the consolation quarterfinal round. Georgia plays Illinois in quarterfinal action.

The Buckeyes kept a tight lead over the Bulldogs compared to their recent 6-1 loss Feb. 13 in Athens. Ohio State was able to claim the crucial doubles point and take a 1-0 lead in the match score. The No. 1 court wrapped up first as the OSU junior duo of Scott Green (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) and Ross Wilson (Toledo, Ohio/Toledo St. Francis de Sales), ranked No. 1 in the country, suffered their second loss this season. Georgia’s 10th-ranked tandem of John Isner and Antonio Ruiz topped Green and Wilson, 8-4.

The Buckeyes clinched the doubles point with wins on the Nos. 2 and 3 courts. Buckeyes Joey Atas (So., Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) and freshman Drew Eberly (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) defeated Ricardo Gonzalez and Matic Omerzel, 8-4, at the No. 3 spot. While Dennis Mertens (Jr., Braaschaat, Belgium/Koninkiljk) and Devin Mullings (So., Freeport, Bahamas/Ft. Lauderdale Prepatory) closed out the doubles portion with an 8-5 win over No. 25 Strahinja Bobusic and Colin Purcell. In singles action, the Bulldogs evened the match score at 1-1 after a win at the No. 6 slot as Purcell topped Mertens. Atas put the Buckeyes ahead, 2-1, as he defeated No. 10 Isner, 7-6 (5), 6-3. That marked Atas’ first Top 10 win during his career at Ohio State.

Georgia retaliated at the No. 4 position as No. 49 Bobusic defeated OSU freshman Eberly, 6-3, 6-3. The Bulldogs were able to get their last two points at the Nos. 1 and 3 courts for the match win. Georgia’s Ruiz, ranked No. 54, clinched the win as he defeated No. 40 Mullings in a tight, 7-6 (5), 7-5 match.

The 16-team field at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship includes defending national champion Baylor, Big Ten foe Illinois, Boise State, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Harvard, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA and Virginia. The Buckeyes are back at home Feb. 25 against Virginia Commonwealth.

No. 4 seed Georgia 4 No. 13 seed Ohio State 2

Singles- 1. #54 Antonio Ruiz (UG) def. #40 Devin Mullings (OSU) 7-6 (5), 7-5 2. #67 Joey Atas (OSU) def. #18 John Isner (UG) 7-6 (5), 6-3 3. #28 Matic Omerzel (UG) def. #124 Chris Klingemann (OSU) 7-6 (8), 6-3 4. #49 Strahinja Bobusic (UG) def. Drew Eberly (OSU) 6-3, 6-3 5. Ross Wilson (OSU) vs. #35 Matias Ormaza (UG) DNF 6. Colin Purcell (UG) def. Dennis Mertens (OSU) 6-2, 6-1 Order of finish: 6, 2, 4, 3, 1

Doubles- 1. #10 Isner/Ruiz (UG) def. #1 Green/Wilson (OSU) 8-4 2. Mertens/Mullings (OSU) def. #25 Bobusic/Purcell (UG) 8-5 3. Atas/Eberly (OSU) def. Gonzalez/Omerzel (UG) 8-4 Order of finish: 1, 3, 2