COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Men’s tennis team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon, defeating 16-seed Columbia 4-1.
That match between the Buckeyes and the Lions marked a rare occasion in which Ohio State hosted a super regional. Ohio State entered the match with a record of 31-2 and coming off a weekend that saw them defeat Cleveland State and Vanderbilt in the opening weekend. Ohio State defeated Cleveland State on Friday May 3, 4-0. They followed it up with a 4-0 win over SEC foe Vanderbilt on Saturday. Columbia came to Columbus as the lower seed, but as a team that plays far better than their seeding shows. Entering the weekend at 19-3 overall, and an unblemished conference record of 7-0.
The Buckeyes started doubles play on the right foot, leading on two of three courts after the first couple sets. Big performances from JJ Wolf, Martin Joyce, John McNallly and Hunter Tubert propelled the Buckeyes in front, but once doubles scores were final, it was clear Ohio State has kept their doubles form. Ohio State has now won 32 of 34 doubles points in 2019. Alex Kobelt and Kyle Seelig would trail early, but eventually rally to make it 5-5 before courts one and two sealed the deal.
Similiar to doubles play, Ohio State for the most part dominated singles play to begin, with a few battles in between. No. 25 John McNally trailed early but would mount a tremendous first set comeback, feeding off the crowd roars. No. 2 JJ Wolf went through a battle with Columbia’s No. 37 Victor Pham. Wolf dropped the first set 4-6, but would crank up the heat in the second set, winning 6-0. Much like No. 60 Kyle Seelig played his way to an early 7-6 win in the first set, setting up for what would be a competitive match on court three with No. 107 Ambrozy. Ohio State took the first set in fourth of six courts to start. While Ohio State was in control, the magnitude of the Super Regional made you feel as if it never truly over.
Hunter Tubert was the first to put the Buckeyes on the board in singles, defeating Austen Huang 6-1, 6-4. Hunter has been great this season for the Buckeyes, posting a singles record of 21-7, including a 17-5 record on court six. Shortly after, Timothy Wang would put the Lions on the board with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Alex Kobelt on court five. John McNally’s battle with Lin on court two was one to watch. McNally, trailing 2-4 in the second set, would come back to make it 6-3, 5-4. After winning his first set 6-2, Martin Joyce would play to a 6-6 second set tiebreaker, but fall.
JJ Wolf would put the Buckeyes up 3-1 with back to back 6-1 sets in the second and third, defeating Victor Pham. Shortly after the crowd began to rise as the match intensity kicked in. John McNally, up 6-3, 5-4 was on the brink of clinching the win. After some battling back and forth, bringing it to 6-3, 6-5, McNally sealed the deal and won, clinching match victory for the Buckeyes and sending them to Orlando.
With their win over Columbia, the Buckeyes advance to 32-2 and are on to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Matches from here on out will be held in Orlando, Fla. at the USTA Tennis Campus. Ohio State advances to 327-6 at home since 2000, and pick up their 177th ranked win.
Ohio State will play the winner of #8 USC and #9 UNC on Thursday in Orlando.
1. #2 JJ Wolf (OSU) def. #37 Victor Pham (CU) 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
2. #26 John McNally (OSU) def. #22 Jack Lin (CU) 6-3, 7-5
3. #60 Kyle Seelig (OSU) vs. #107 Adam Ambrozy (CU) 7-5, 3-6, 0-1, unfinished
4. #111 Martin Joyce (OSU) vs. #117 Rian Pandole (CU) 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 1-2, unfinished
5. Timothy Wang (CU) def. Alex Kobelt (OSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Hunter Tubert (OSU) def. Austen Huang (CU) 6-1, 6-4
1. #23 JJ Wolf/Martin Joyce (OSU) def. #30 Jack Lin/William Matheson (CU) 6-2
2. #51 Alex Kobelt/Kyle Seelig (OSU) vs. Rian Pandole/Victor Pham (CU) 5-5, unfinished
3. Hunter Tubert/John McNally (OSU) def. Adam Ambrozy/Jason Lui (CU) 6-3
Columbia 19-4; National ranking #16
Ohio State 32-2; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,5,1,2)
Official: Steve Menoff T-2:40 A-670