COLUMBUS, Ohio Despite owning an early 2-0 lead over No. 8 Tennessee in quarterfinal action of the 2009 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships, the No. 1-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team could not overcome the Volunteers, who won four singles matches to claim a 4-3 victory over the Buckeyes.

With the loss at the Midtown Tennis Club in Chicago, the Scarlet and Gray move to 8-1 on the season.

Unlike its match against No. 20 Pepperdine Friday in first-round play, Ohio State was able to capture the doubles point courtesy of wins at Nos. 1 and 3. The pair of Matt Allare and Balazs Novak made quick work of Christian Hansen and Matt Brewer with an 8-3 triumph. It was the first time this season Allare and Novak teamed up in doubles competition.

It was not long when Steven Moneke and Justin Kronauge downed John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren, 8-4. It was just the pair’s second time playing doubles this season. The two are now 2-0 overall with 1-0 records at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.

With the early 1-0 lead, Ohio State then took a 2-0 advantage over the Volunteers following No. 3 Moneke’s 6-3, 6-2 win over Sandgren at No. 3 singles. The win was Moneke’s eighth-straight as he improves to 17-3 on the season.

However, Tennessee quickly gained a 3-2 lead when it won three-consecutive matches at Nos. 1, 6 and 2 singles. No. 1 Bryan Koniecko fell to Smith, who is ranked 50th in the country, 6-4, 6-3. The loss snapped Koniecko’s 16-match win streak. No. 77 Shuhei Uzawa suffered a 6-3, 6-4 setback to Brewer and that defeat was followed by a 6-3, 6-4 loss by the sixth-ranked Kronauge to No. 103 Boris Conkic.

The Buckeyes rebounded with a victory at No. 5 singles to even the team score at 3-all when Allare downed Hansen in a first-set tiebreak (7-6) and then in a 7-5 second-set victory. Allare now is 3-0 at the No. 5 position and improves to 10-2 overall in 2008-09. 

Playing No. 4, Novak, ranked No. 38, was unable to overcome the fast start by Volunteer Matteo Fago, who clinched the first set, 6-3, before taking a late break in the second set for the 7-5 win.

The Buckeyes will remain in Chicago Sunday to meet the quarterfinal loser between No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 Virginia in consolation action at 7:30 p.m. ET. 

2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men’s Team Indoor Championships
Feb. 13-16
Midtown Tennis Club
Chicago, Ill.

No. 1 Ohio State 3, No. 8 Tennessee 4 

1. Steven Moneke/Justin Kronauge (OSU) d. John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren (TENN), 8-4
2. No. 21 Boris Conkic/Matteo Fago (TENN) led Bryan Koniecko/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU), 6-5 (unfinished)
3. Matt Allare/Balazs Novak (OSU) d. Christian Hansen/Matt Brewer (TENN), 8-3

Order of Finish: 3, 1

1. No. 50 John-Patrick Smith (TENN) d. No 1 Bryan Koniecko (OSU) 6-4, 6-3
2. No. 103 Boris Conkic (TENN) d. No. 6 Justin Kronauge (OSU) 6-3, 6-4
3. No. 3 Steven Moneke (OSU) d. Davey Sandgren (TENN) 6-3, 6-2
4. Matteo Fago (TENN) d. No. 38 Balazs Novak (OSU) 6-3, 7-5
5. Matt Allare (OSU) d. Christian Hansen (TENN) 7-6, 7-5
6. Matt Brewer (TENN) d. No. 77 Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) 6-3, 6-4

Order of Finish: 3,1,6,2,5,4