Feb. 12, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 16 Ohio State men’s tennis, 5-1 this season, plays host to No. 8 Vanderbilt Friday and No. 17 Alabama Saturday at Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in Columbus, Ohio. Both matches are scheduled for 3 p.m.

The No. 8 Commodores, 5-2 this season, are under the direcion of head coach Ken Flach. Flach is in his eighth season at the helm of the Vanderbilt program and carries a 97-93 career record. The squad recently dropped a 4-1 match to Duke and suffered a 4-3 loss to Stanford at the ITA National Team Indoors. That marked the first time Vanderbilt lost two consecutive matches since April 2002. The Commodores have four players ranked in the Top 55 of the ITA Division I Singles rankings. Vanderbilt leads 7-2-1 over Ohio State in the all-time series.

The No. 17 Crimson Tide, 2-0 this season, are under the direcion of head coach Billy Pate. Pate is in his second season at the helm of the Alabama program and has a 21-10 career record. Pate assisted under Notre Dame head coach Bob Bayliss during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He was named the 2003 SEC Coach of the Year as he led his squad to a Round of 16 appearance at the NCAA Championships.

Alabama defeated Troy State and Furman in their season opener. Senior Stephen Mitchell is ranked No. 63 in the ITA Division I Singles rankings. In 2003, the Roll Tide defeated the Buckeyes in a five hour match, 4-3 in Tuscaloosa. Ohio State holds the all-time series lead, 3-2.

Ty Tucker, Ohio State head coach, is in his fifth season at the helm of the Buckeye program. Tucker has a career mark of 87-28 and is 37-10 in Big Ten play. He coached Ohio State to one of its best seasons ever in 2003, as the squad went 22-7 overall and 10-2 in conference action. The Buckeyes finished second in the Big Ten in regular season play and third at the tournament. Ohio State received its fourth-consecutive bid to the NCAA Championship where they saw action in the Round of 16. The team finished the season ranked No. 17.

The Buckeyes defeated 24th-ranked Clemson, 6-1, Feb. 7 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State took an early lead after claiming the doubles point. The OSU tandem of Scott Green and Ross Wilson defeated the No. 17 doubles pair from Clemson, 8-1, at the No. 1 position. In singles, freshmen Joey Atas, Chris Klingemann and Devin Mullings all pulled through for the Buckeyes at the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 spots after sending each of their matches into three sets.

Ohio State captured its fourth-consecutive 7-0 shutout after wins over Toledo and DePaul Jan. 30 in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes defeated Xavier and Cleveland State Jan. 23 in their season opener. The 7-0 victory over DePaul marked the first time in program history the Buckeyes opened the season with four consecutive shutouts.

The Buckeyes fell, 5-2, Feb. 1 to No. 21 Georgia in Athens, Ga. Ohio State was able to take the doubles point after the OSU tandem of Joey Atas and Dennis Mertens pulled out a 9-7 at No. 3. Atas posted Ohio State’s second and final point at the No. 3 singles spot. The loss to the Bulldogs was the first of the season for OSU.

Buckeye senior Jeremy Wurtzman received the No. 1 spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll, released Jan. 13.

Wurtzman claimed the ITA National Indoor title Nov. 9 in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Midwest Regional crown Oct. 28 in East Lansing, Mich. He defeated three of the Top 10 players in the country at the national indoors. The next individual rankings will be released Feb. 24.

Freshman Buckeye Joey Atas is 6-0 in singles and 6-0 in doubles play this season. Atas has posted four wins at the No. 2 singles postion and one each at Nos. 3 and 4. The doubles tandem of Atas and senior Jeremy Wurtzman are ranked No. 21 in the preseason and are 3-0 in dual action. Atas and Dennis Mertens hold a 3-0 mark this season in doubles.

Chris Klingemann, a native of Brandenton, Fla., joined the 2003-04 Buckeyes and began classes at Ohio State Jan. 26. He competed with the squad against Toledo and DePaul Jan. 30 and won both matches at the No. 3 spot. Klingemann is 3-1 in duals with one loss coming at the No. 2 position against Georgia Feb. 1.

Senior co-captain Brenton Contini is tied with former Buckeye Bob Wellstein (1997-01) at the No. 12 spot in all-time career doubles wins at Ohio State. He posts a 63-31 doubles mark in three years as a Buckeye. Stephen Miguel (1987-90) holds the record at OSU with 85 wins.

Ty Tucker, head coach, has never lost a season opener since his arrival in the 1999-2000 season. The Buckeyes defeated Xavier and Cleveland State by 7-0 shutouts Jan. 23 in Columbus, Ohio.

In doubles, Jeremy Wurtzman and newcomer Joey Atas are ranked No. 21. Wurtzman and Atas went 6-2 in 2003 fall tournament play and claimed the doubles consolation title Oct. 11 at the ITA All-American Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The OSU tandem of Scott Green and Ross Wilson hold the No. 38 doubles spot. Green and Wilson went 8-4 in fall tournament action and advanced to the semifinal round Oct. 26 at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships in East Lansing, Mich.

Ohio State travels to No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 in Richmond, Va. The Buckeyes hit the road again to No. 57 Virginia Tech Sunday, Feb 22 in Blacksburg, Va.