Ohio State looks to improve home win streak to 80-consecutive matches

COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 3 Ohio State men’s tennis team finishes the second month of the 2009 spring season with No. 10 Baylor at noon Sunday at The Ohio State University Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. The Buckeyes will look to improve the school record home win streak to 80-consecutive matches against the Bears. Live stats and updates for the match will be available at

Ohio State (12-1; 1-0 Big Ten) is coming off its first league victory, a 7-0 win, over Purdue Thursday in West Lafayette, Ind. The Scarlet and Gray have won 41-consecutive matches against Big Ten opponents and are 92-5 its last 96 league matches.

Ohio State stands as the third-rated team in the nation in the latest ITA NCAA Men’s Division I rankings announced Tuesday. The Buckeyes are 12-1 on the season with wins over ranked opponents in No. 8 UCLA, No. 14 LSU, No. 15 Pepperdine, No. 21 Wake Forest, No. 22 North Carolina, No. 25 Notre Dame, No. 32 Virginia Tech and No. 64 Stetson. Ohio State is 6-0 at home, while going 4-0 on the road in dual competition. The Buckeyes are 2-1 at a neutral site after participating in the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago. 

Under 10th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have now been ranked in the Top 25 in the ITA rankings for nine-consecutive years. For the past two seasons, Ohio State has earned a preseason ranking of No. 3 and finished third behind Georgia and Virginia both in 2007 and 08. Previous to that, the Buckeyes finished 5th in 2006 and 24th in 2005.

The latest ITA singles and doubles standings, announced Feb. 19, ranked five Buckeyes in both singles and doubles within the top collegiate tennis talent in the nation.

In singles, Bryan Koniecko ranks at No. 4, while teammates Steven Moneke and Justin Kronauge place at Nos. 22 and 23, respectively. Sophomore Balazs Novak sits at No. 63 in singles, while classmate Shuhei Uzawa ranks No. 82. Ohio State is one of two schools to have three players in singles listed in the Top 25, joining Virginia.

In doubles, Ohio State has two Buckeye pairs listed in the rankings. Moneke and Novak stand as the 29th-ranked doubles team in the nation. The duo has an overall record of 5-1 overall on the year, going a perfect 3-0 at No. 2 doubles. Moneke and Koniecko pair up to be No. 37 in doubles. The two senior captains are 6-1 this season when playing together.

The Big Ten Conference has nine of eleven teams ranked in the latest ITA Team Standings announced Feb. 24.

   3          Ohio State
  11         Illinois
  18         Michigan
  39         Wisconsin
  46         Penn State
  48         Minnesota
  58         Iowa
  59         Indiana
  67         Northwestern

The match today marks only the fourth meeting between Ohio State and Baylor. The Buckeyes hold a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series against the Bears and have won the last two meetings.

Ohio State earned its second triumph against the Bears last season with a 4-2 victory in Waco, Texas. The programs first met at the 2004 NCAA Championships in the Buckeyes’ first NCAA quarterfinal appearance. Ohio State lost, 4-0, to Baylor in Tulsa, Okla. The teams did not play each other again until the 2006-07 campaign when Ohio State won, 4-2, at the 2007 ITA National Team Indoors Championships in Chicago.

The Baylor men’s tennis team, ranked 10th in the latest ITA standings (Feb. 24), is 7-3 on the season, winning five matches against ranked opponents including No. 7 UCLA, No.15 Pepperdine, No. 54 Georgia Tech, No. 55 SMU and No. 63 Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. The Bears began the 2008-09 season on the road, defeating SMU, 4-3, Jan. 22 before dropping a 7-0 decision to No. 12 Florida Jan. 25 in Gainesville, Fla. The Bears arrive in Columbus after winning a doubleheader Feb. 22, defeating No. 7 UCLA, 4-3, and St. Edward’s, 7-0, at home.

The No. 10 Baylor Bears have three members listed in the latest ITA standings announced Feb. 24. In singles, junior Denes Lukacs ranks 10th, while sophomore Jordan Rux sits at No. 38. Lukacs is 15-5 overall and 5-2 at No. 1 singles and Rux is 15-7 in singles for the season. Freshman Julian Bley rounds out the Baylor list at No. 121.

Two members of the Ohio State men’s tennis team are tied for most wins on the season with 21 triumphs. Bryan Koniecko, ranked fourth in singles in the ITA Standings, is 21-2 overall, while classmate and No. 22 Steven Moneke stands at 21-3 this season. Koniecko, the 2008 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, is 10-1 in dual matches this season, posting an 9-1 record at No. 1 singles. Moneke, who was named to the 2009 ITA Team Indoor Championships All-Tournament Team at No. 3 singles, has won 12-consecutive matches in his senior campaign with a perfect 12-0 dual match record.

In doubles, Moneke leads for most wins on the team with 16 victories. Moneke is 16-4 in doubles this season.

The Buckeye pair of Allare and Justin Kronauge leads the team in double triumphs with nine (two losses). The duo is 5-1 in dual matches this season and is 3-1 at No. 1 doubles.

For the second-consecutive week, Steven Moneke, a senior co-captain on the third-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team, was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week the conference announced Tuesday. Moneke shares the honor with Moritz Baumann of Wisconsin. Senior co-captain Bryan Koniecko received the weekly honor Feb. 10.

Moneke helped the No. 3 Buckeyes to win 7-0 victories against No. 25 Notre Dame and No. 14 LSU this past weekend. Highlighting Moneke’s weekend was his No. 1 singles performance against the Tigers, where the two-time All-American defeated No. 5 Michael Venus, the 2008 ITA All-American singles Champion, 6-2, 6-3. The win improves Moneke’s record to 20-3 in singles this season, winning 11-consecutive matches in 2008-09. The Buckeye is 11-0 in singles dual action and is currently third on the all-time Buckeye career singles wins list with 121 triumphs. Moneke, a native of Alten-Buseck, Germany, is ranked 22nd in the nation.

Head coach Ty Tucker has led the Buckeyes to 20 or more wins in eight of nine complete seasons at Ohio State. Last year marked a record-breaking year for the Buckeyes as they compiled a 35-2 record, earning the most wins in a season in school history.

There is no sign of slowing down for Ohio State. Under Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have risen from the cellar of the Big Ten Conference to a nationally dominant program, earning the ITA preseason No. 1 ranking in 2009.

The future continues to look bright for the Scarlet and Gray as Tucker’s incoming freshman class was voted the second-best in the nation by a panel of junior tennis experts in a media poll conducted by

The class, consisting of all Ohio natives, includes Blue Chip star and New Albany native Chase Buchanan. In addition, Tucker has two five-star recruits in Peter Kobelt (New Albany) and Wyatt Lippert (Cincinnati) joining the team and a four-star recruit in Devin McCarthy (Cincinnati), who enrolled at Ohio State in January.

The Buckeye recruiting class is tied for second with Yale while Stanford earned the top nod.

The Buckeyes have won a school-record 79-consecutive home matches dating back to the 2002-03 season. No other Big Ten team in any sport has won as many contests in a row at home. The Scarlet and Gray won all 16 home competitions last season, marking the fifth-consecutive year it has achieved perfection on its home courts. The streak began in 2003 with a 5-2 victory over Purdue April 6.

Ohio State goes on the road to State College, Pa., to face No. 46 Penn State March 5 at the Penn State Indoor Tennis Center.