April 20, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After just missing out once again on their first Big Ten win of the year, the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-17, 0-10 Big Ten) will take a week off to prepare for the Big Ten Tennis Championships April 29-May 2 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

%^$It was a tough final regular season weekend for the Buckeyes, who brought to an end their second straight winless regular season by losing at Wisconsin, 6-1, and Iowa, 4-3. The result against the Hawkeyes marked the fourth time in the last seven matches OSU has fallen by a score of 4-3.

%^$The weekend began with a match against the Wisconsin Badgers. The Buckeyes were hoping a return to the facility in which they had won their last Big Ten regular season match would bring positive results. Unfortunately for OSU, that was not to be the case.

%^$The Badgers came out strong, winning all three doubles matches for an early 1-0 lead. UW never let up, winning at Nos. 2, 3 and 4 to jump ahead by an insurmountable 4-0 advantage.

%^$The lone Buckeye to pick up a singles win was Bob Wellstein, who defeated Justin Baker 6-4, 6-4. Two other Buckeyes – Chris Porter and Ben Basil – came as close as possible to winning without actually doing so.

%^$In Porter’s match, both he and 37th-ranked Mark Loughrin had multiple match points in an epic third-set tiebreaker before Wisconsin’s No. 1 singles player came through, winning the tiebreaker 11-9.

%^$Basil’s match against UW’s Danny Westerman was an even bigger struggle. After losing the first set in a tiebreaker, Basil came back to win the second, also in a breaker. The two players battled deep into the third set and once again found themselves involved in a tiebreaker. The Buckeyes would be just as unfortunate in this long match, however, as Basil fell to Westerman 7-6 (7), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4).

%^$Sunday’s match against Iowa was closer but yielded the same result. After falling behind 1-0, OSU tied the score when Andrew Carlson waltzed past J.R. Chidley 6-1, 6-0. But Iowa then went on a three-match run that saw them pick up victories at Nos. 1, 3 and 4 to take a 4-1 lead.

%^$Two matches remained, and although they did not affect the outcome of the match, the Buckeyes were able to win both. Ben Basil, playing in his final regular season match for the scarlet and gray, defeated Jason Dunn 7-5, 6-4 at No. 5 singles. In the final match of the afternoon, Bob Wellstein beat Girts Auskaps 4-6, 7-5, 7-6.

%^$Ben Basil’s victory over Iowas Jason Dunn was the 64th of his career, tying him for 15th place on the OSU all-time career singles win list with Scott Weisman and current OSU assistant coach Ty Tucker.

%^$Basil also sits in 12th place on the all-time OSU doubles win list with 55 victories. He is the lone senior on this year’s Buckeye squad.

%^$Since going 2-0 March 27-28 against Indiana and Purdue, Bob Wellstein has flourished. He is 5-3 since those wins and is coming off a perfect weekend, winning both of his matches against Wisconsin and Iowa. He is the only Buckeye to have twice gone 2-0 during a Big Ten weekend.

%^$Two firsts came out of Wellstein’s wins last weekend. The match against Iowa was Wellstein’s first win of the dual match season in which he lost the first set. The wins were also his first and second of the dual match season on the road.

%^$Wellstein’s steady play has made the sixth singles position the most successful slot in the lineup. OSU has won 11 matches at sixth singles.

%^$Ohio State’s last conference victory, regular season or otherwise, came in the Big Ten Tennis Championships April 28, 1997, a 4-2 win over Penn State. In that 1996-97 season, the Buckeyes went 2-8 in the regular season but defeated Indiana and Penn State on their way to a seventh place finish.

%^$OSU is currently preparing for the Big Ten Tennis Championships, which take place April 29-May 2.

%^$Chris Porter dropped nine spots to No. 88 in the latest ITA Spring IV Rankings, released April 20.

%^$The sophomore from Canton, Ohio, has had his share of bad luck in recent matches. He had match points to beat No. 35 Mark Loughrin of Wisconsin but ended up being narrowly defeated 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (9). Porter has lost four of his last seven matches in three sets.

%^$The Big Ten Championships could be an opportunity for Porter (20-20 overall) to get back into the winning circle. Although the Buckeyes are not sure who their opponent will be, odds are Porter will play a ranked player – 10 singles players from the Big Ten are currently ranked in the Top 100.

%^$Michigan and Illinois remained atop the Big Ten Conference Standings with wins in conference last week. Both teams currently stand at 8-0 and appear as if they will settle the conference regular season title on the court Saturday, April 24, when the Illini travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on the Wolverines.

%^$Ohio State, currently sitting in 11th place, seems set to take on the sixth-place team in the first round of the Big Ten Championships. Exactly which team that will be is still up in the air, however, due to the current four-way tie for fifth-place. The first round pairings will become clear Sunday when the regular season ends.

%^$The large number of upsets that have led many college tennis coaches to call this season one of the craziest in recent memory grew last weekend. UCLA, the top-ranked team in the nation and the owner of a 21-1 record entering last Saturdays match with No. 9 Stanford, lost to the Cardinal 4-3, a win which snapped UCLAs 18-match win streak and extended Stanford’s string of 43 consecutive wins at home.

%^$Also one of the unfortunate members of the upset club was Big Ten member and second-ranked Illinois, who had its home court winning streak snapped in a 4-3 loss to 13th-ranked Kentucky. The loss, which came after the Fighting Illini held a 3-0 lead, was Illinois’ first at home in 19 matches.

%^$These upsets set the stage for conference tournaments, which begin in most conferences before the end of April. The Big Ten Championships will take place April 29-May 1.

%^$ Andrew Carlson has a 6-2 dual match record in tiebreakers, best on the squad. He is 4-1 in first set tiebreakers, 1-1 in second set breakers and 1-0 in third set breakers. His third-set tiebreak win came April 9 against Northwestern, when he defeated Derrick Nguyen 6-3, 6-7, 7-6.

%^$ Derek DeFalco was involved in one of the longer matches of the year against Northwestern April 9. He was defeated by Brad Erickson 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5). In that match, he played the same number of tiebreakers Bob Wellstein has the entire dual match season.

%^$ Wellstein is the lone Buckeye to play in two matches decided by tiebreakers in the third set – October 16 against Steven van der Westhuyzen of Miami (O.) and April 18 against Girts Auskaps of Iowa. Wellstein won both matches.