COLUMBUS, Ohio – After advancing to its first national championship final match in school history, the No. 3-seed Ohio State men’s tennis team fell short to No. 8-seed USC, 4-1, Tuesday at the 2009 NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, at Texas A&M’s George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Buckeyes (36-2; 10-0 Big Ten) finish another memorable season setting the school record for most wins in a single season (36), longest dual match win streak (28) and best-single season winning percentage (.947).
The loss in the final against the Trojans snaps the Buckeyes’ 28 match win streak, which began Feb. 15 with a 4-0 win against UCLA in a consolation match at the 2009 ITA Team Indoor Championships in Chicago. Ohio State is now 1-3 all-time against USC (25-5).
Under 10th-year head coach Ty Tucker, who was named Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year Tuesday, the Buckeyes are now 22-10 overall in NCAA play. This season, Tucker led Ohio State to its first national championship final appearance after taking the Buckeyes to four previous quarterfinal appearances in the tournament (2004, ’06, ’07 and ’08). Tucker also led the Buckeyes to a school record 10 straight 20-win seasons.
Ohio State faced a hot USC team that finishes the season winning 13 of its last 14 matches. The Buckeyes began the day losing the doubles point to the Trojans after dropping the doubles matches at Nos. 1 and 3, respectively. The Trojans are 24-1 this season when winning the doubles point.
At No. 1 doubles, junior Justin Kronauge and sophomore Matt Allare faced the top doubles team from the PAC-10 Conference. The Buckeye duo lost, 8-3, to No. 4 Robert Farah and Steve Johnson and finishes the season with a 15-8 overall record.
Senior tri-captain Bryan Koniecko and sophomore Shuhei Uzawa made the doubles side an even 1-1 after defeating No. 59 Abdullah Magdas and Daniel Nguyen 8-4, at No. 2. Koniecko and Uzawa close out the 2009 season with a team best 22-2 record.
At No. 3, senior tri-captain Steven Moneke and true freshman Chase Buchanan served to tie the final doubles match against Matt Kecki and Jaak Poldma at 7-7 all. However, after the Buckeye duo fought off three match points, the Trojans were too much to handle as Moneke and Buchanan lost a close one with the final score, 9-7.
In singles, the Trojans picked up where they left off in doubles winning the first two matches at Nos. 4 and 6 to put the Buckeyes on the brink of defeat with the score 3-0 in favor of USC.
At No. 4, No. 113-ranked Allare lost against No. 106 Magdas. Allare dropped a 6-2, 6-3, decision and ends his sophomore year with an impressive 31-5 overall record. Allare had the longest winning streak in singles for the Buckeyes this year, claiming 28-consecutive matches before losing in the quarterfinals against Baylor.
At No. 6 singles, Buchanan lost in straight sets 6-0, 6-2, against Nguyen. Buchanan finishes the season with an 11-4 overall record since joining the team in late March. The loss also snaps Buchanan’s nine-match winning streak.
Highlighting the day for Ohio State was No. 25 Kronauge at No. 3 singles winning 7-6 (1), 6-4 against No. 81 Poldma. After helping the Buckeyes advance to the final yesterday with his singles win, Kronauge, a 2008 ITA All-American, now leads the team in wins with 41 (seven losses).
The championship point belonged to No. 8 Farah against No. 3 Koniecko at No. 1 singles. Koniecko won the first set, but was not able to seal the deal, losing 7-5, 1-6, 4-6 against the top singles player for the Trojans. Koniecko is now 36-6 on the season.
Ohio State now prepares for the individual side of the championships. Three members of the team were selected for the singles and doubles competition of the 2009 NCAA Championships Wednesday-Monday.
In singles, Koniecko, the 2009 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, received one of 16 automatic qualifications in the tournament, while Moneke and Kronauge received at-large bids.
In doubles, Ohio State has one pair among the field of 32 teams in the championship. Moneke and Kronauge received an automatic qualification. Koniecko, Moneke and Kronauge received All-Big Ten selections this season after helping the Buckeyes to a perfect 10-0 mark in league play.
Live stats and updates for the singles and doubles competition will be available at aggieathletics.com.
NCAA Division I Tennis Championships
May 19, 2009
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, Texas
#3 Ohio State 1, #8 USC 4
RECORDS: Ohio State 36-2; UCLA 25-5
1. (#8) Robert Farah, USC def. (#3) Bryan Koniecko, OSU, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4
2. (#9) Steven Moneke, OSU vs. (#53) Steve Johnson, USC, DNF
3. (#25) Justin Kronauge, OSU def. (81) Jaak Poldma, USC, 7-6 (1), 6-4
4. (#106) Abdullah Magdas, USC def. (#113) Matt Allare, OSU, 6-2, 6-3
5. (#74) Balazs Novak, OSU vs. Matt Kecki, USC, DNF
6. Daniel Nguyen, USC def. Chase Buchanan, OSU, 6-0, 6-2
1. (#4) Farah/Johnson, USC def. Kronauge/Allare, OSU, 8-3
2. Shuhei Uzawa/Koniecko, OSU def. (#59) Magdas/Nguyen, USC, 8-4
3. Kecki/Poldma, USC def. Buchanan/Moneke, OSU, 9-7
ORDER OF FINISH
Doubles: 1, 2, 3
Singles: 4, 6, 3, 1