COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 3 Ohio State men’s tennis team returns to the road after winning three home matches during the last week of February, with victories coming against Cleveland State, Wright State and No. 15 Louisville. The Buckeyes (14-1, 0-0) will travel to State College, Pa., Friday to begin Big Ten conference play against Penn State (6-5, 0-0). It will be just the second non-tournament regular-season road match of the year for the Scarlet and Gray. The match begins a stretch of seven-consecutive road matches, with the last six against ranked opponents.
The Buckeyes are 54-2 when they are the No. 3 ranked team in the country.
Fans can follow the action with live updates at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com. To access the updates, select the schedule tab from the men’s tennis homepage.
Recalling Last Week
The Buckeyes extended their home win streak to 121 matches with three victories at the Varsity Tennis Center Feb. 24 and 27. Ohio State swept its second doubleheader of the year, shutting out the Vikings of Cleveland State, 7-0, and downing Wright State, 6-1. By another 6-1 score, the Buckeyes beat No. 15 Louisville. The win improved Ohio State’s record vs. nationally-ranked opponents to 5-1 on the season. The Scarlet and Gray’s home win streak began in 2003.
Scouting the Nittany Lions
Penn State enters the Big Ten opener with an overall mark of 6-6 on the season. The Nittany Lions started off the season on a good note, winning six of their first eight contests, but have since lost four matches in a row, all against ranked opponents. Overall, the Lions are 1-6 vs. ranked teams on the season. During Feb. 25-27, Penn State competed in the Blue Gray Invite in Montgomery, Ala. The team suffered a 4-0 loss to No. 24 Notre Dame, as well as 4-1 losses to both No. 29 Alabama and No. 47 Boise State.
Buckeyes vs. Penn State
Ohio State is 18-5 all-time vs. the Nittany Lions. Under head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes are an undefeated 12-0 vs. Penn State. They have not suffered a loss to the Blue and White since the 1998-99 campaign.
Last season No. 3 Ohio State shut out No. 62 Penn State, 7-0, for the second-consecutive year. Devin McCarthy claimed the match for the Buckeyes at No. 6 singles, defeating Guillaume St.-Maurice 6-1, 6-3. No. 17 Chase Buchanan, No. 26 Justin Kronauge, No. 74 Dino Marcan and current captains, Matt Allare and Balazs Novak also all won their singles matches in straight sets, preserving the shutout.
Big Ten Best
Ohio State enters the conference showdown with Penn State on a 66 Big Ten match win streak. Entering the season, the Buckeyes have amassed five-consecutive Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles. Coach Tucker has also nabbed Big Ten Coach of the Year every year during the span as well. Last season, Ohio State recorded a combined Big Ten singles mark of 58-2 and a total Big Ten doubles record of 18-8. In addition to the 66-consecutive match win streak in conference play, the Buckeyes also have been a winner in 118 of its last 123 league contests, including postseason play.
After defeating No. 19 North Carolina earlier this season, 6-1, Ohio State enters the match vs. Penn State this weekend on a 48-consecutive regular season (non-tournament) road win streak. The last road loss for the Buckeyes occurred at Notre Dame during the 2005-06 season where they fell to the Fighting Irish, 5-2.
McCarthy, Novak Earn All-ITA Indoor Team Honors
Redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy and senior Balazs Novak were each named to the 2011 ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championships All-Tournament Team. McCarthy was selected at No. 5 and Novak at No. 6 for their outstanding play.
McCarthy reeled off wins in two of the first three rounds of the tournament.
He defeated No. 14 Texas Tech’s Gabriel Wanderley 6-3, 6-4 in the first round and upset No. 23 Drew Courtney of No. 1 Virginia 6-4, 7-5 in the semifinals, earning the only Buckeye point vs. the Cavaliers. The match vs. No. 93 Vasko Mladenov of No. 5 Texas went unfinished in the quarterfinals.
At No. 6, Novak earned wins in his first two matches of the tournament. The senior co-captain handed Texas Tech’s Raphael Pfister a 6-2, 6-0 setback, while also downing Daniel Whitehead of Texas 6-4, 6-3. Novak’s match vs. Justin Shane of Virginia was unfinished.
Virginia players were selected for the No. 1 through No. 4 positions.
Eight Buckeyes Ranked in Latest Poll
New Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings were released Tuesday. Eight Buckeyes were ranked in the singles poll, which is the most of any team in the country.
Senior co-captain Balazs Novak marked the biggest improvement of any Buckeye this week, entering the rankings for the first time this season all the way to 76th place, partly because of his current 13-match win streak.
Junior Chase Buchanan, who was ranked 21st in the Feb. 14 standings and 63rd in the inaugural standings, jumped seven places to No. 14. Freshman Blaz Rola moved up one spot to No. 4 after he was initially ranked seventh Jan. 4. Senior Matt Allare jumped six spots to No. 39, while redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy is 46th, improving nine places.
A trio of freshmen round out the rankings for the Scarlet and Gray. Peter Kobelt had a large gain; jumping 23 spots from 86th to 63rd. Nelson Vick broke the century barrier moving to No. 95, while Ille Van Engelen sits at No. 112.
In the doubles poll, the teams of Rola-Buchanan and Allare-Kobelt each dropped two spots in the rankings. Rola and Buchanan fell to No. 8, while Allare and Kobelt now sit at No. 12. The duo of Novak and McCarthy form the No. 76th team in the March 1 release.
1,000 Program Victories
With a 7-0 shutout of Cleveland State Feb. 24, Ohio State captured the program’s 1,000th victory. Entering conference play, the overall record currently stands at 1,002-693-10. Head coach Ty Tucker has 306 wins in his 12 years leading the Buckeyes and his predecessor John Daly earned 427 in his 28 years.
Dominant in Columbus
The Buckeyes have won a school-record 121-consecutive home matches dating back to the 2002-03 season. They won the first 11 matches to begin the season at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center; five coming against ranked teams. In the Big Ten, no other team in any sport has won as many consecutive contests at home than the Buckeyes. Ohio State was victorious in all 21 home matches last season, marking the seventh-consecutive year the team achieved perfection in Columbus. The home win streak began April 6, 2003 with a 5-2 triumph over Purdue.
100th Anniversary of Tennis
The opener against Butler and Xavier marked the 100th year of men’s tennis at Ohio State. The tennis program started in 1912 and after 99 complete seasons, the men’s tennis program has an overall record of 988-692-10 for a .585 winning percentage. Head coach Ty Tucker is the 11th coach in Ohio State men’s tennis history and with his winning percentage hovering around .850, he is the winningest coach in Buckeye tennis history. Ohio State currently has 1,002 victories in its long history.
Four Buckeyes are entering the contest Thursday boasting at least seven-match win streaks. Senior Balazs Novak leads all Buckeyes with a 13-match win streak on the season for an overall mark of 17-2. Novak defeated Cleveland State’s Chris Klepatz 6-1, 6-0 and No. 15 Louisville’s Dante Terenzio 6-1, 6-0 Feb. 24. He also won two matches Feb. 18 and 19 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, downing Raphael Pfister of No. 14 Texas Tech 6-2, 6-0 and besting No. 5 Texas’ Daniel Whitehead 6-4, 6-3. Novak is 7-0 when playing at the No. 5 position.
Redshirt-sophomore Devin McCarthy carries a win streak of 11 into the match, while redshirt-freshman Nelson Vick enters the road contest with 12 consecutive wins. McCarthy downed John Haley of Cleveland State 6-0, 6-0 before winning 7-6, 6-3 against Cardinal Andrew Carter to move to 16-2 overall and 11-0 in dual single action. McCarthy previously defeated Gabriel Wanderley of No. 14 Texas Tech 6-3, 6-4 and No. 23 Drew Courtney of No. 1 Virginia 6-4, 7-5 in the ITA semifinals. Vick’s mark of 12-straight wins pushes his season record to 16-3.
Senior Matt Allare owns a win in seven straight contests including a win at No. 1 vs. Robert Fox of Cleveland State 6-4, 6-3.
Chase Buchanan Nabs Big Ten Athlete of the Week Honors
For the second time this season, junior Chase Buchanan was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week the conference announced Feb. 21. Buchanan (15-4) won four matches during the span, including wins against No. 24 North Carolina and No. 5 Texas.
The Gahanna, Ohio, native first paired with freshman Blaz Rola to form the sixth-ranked team in the nation and defeated No. 44 Stefan Hardy and Zach Hunter of North Carolina, 8-5, Feb. 15 in Chapel Hill. Buchanan, who jumped 42 places to No. 21 in the ITA polls Feb. 18, then downed No. 30 Jose Hernandez 7-5, 6-0 at No. 1 singles to fuel the Buckeyes’ 6-1 win over the Tar Heels.
Buchanan added to his wins total at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship Feb. 18-20 in Seattle, Wash. Paired with Rola, the tandem beat Texas’ No. 2 Ed Corrie and Jean Anderson, 8-5. Buchanan then followed with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Anderson to help the Scarlet and Gray prevail, 4-1, vs. the Longhorns.
It is the eighth such honor of Buchanan’s career. He also won the award Feb. 8 after leading the Buckeyes to wins against No. 18 Mississippi and No. 11 Georgia Feb. 4 and 6, respectively.
Tucker Gets 300th Victory
The win against LSU Feb. 12 served as head coach Ty Tucker’s 300th career victory. His overall career mark as the Buckeye leader now stands at 306-52. Tucker is now the second coach in Buckeye men’s tennis history to amass 300 wins. Tucker’s predecessor, John Daly, was 427-333 in 28 seasons from 1972-1999. Tucker has averaged 26.5 wins in 11 seasons and his current .855 active winning percentage is the highest in Ohio State history.
Since his inaugural season in 1999-00, Tucker has guided Ohio State to five regular-season Big Ten Conference titles and six league tournament championships, including five-consecutive from 2006-10. Tucker’s teams have never finished below fourth in the conference regular-season standings. In fact, after tying for fourth in 2000, Tucker and the Buckeyes finished second from 2001-2005 before winning the conference the last five seasons. Since that 2000 campaign, the Scarlet and Gray have won at least 20 matches each season and at least 30 the past three campaigns.
In NCAA action, Tucker and the Buckeyes have compiled a 25-11 record, advancing to the program’s first NCAA championship final in 2009 in College Station, Texas. Tucker led Ohio State as far as the quarterfinals last season and also in 2004, ’06, ’07 and ’08. Tucker also has coached eight different singles players and seven doubles tandems in 10 NCAA championships.
Allare, Novak, Uzawa Named 2011 Team Captains
Seniors Matt Allare, Balazs Novak and Shuhei Uzawa were named 2011 team captains head coach Ty Tucker announced.
The trio has been instrumental in the Buckeyes’ 14-1 record so far in 2011. Allare, a native of Mason, Ohio, paces the group with 19 victories against three losses, including a 10-1 mark in dual competition. Meanwhile, Novak, who hails from Budapest, Hungary, is currently on a 13-match win streak. Novak is 17-2 overall and boasts a 13-0 mark in dual play. Uzawa, who grew up in Chiba, Japan, is 4-4 overall, but has only seen action in two dual meets so far as the rest of his victories came during fall tournament play.
Prior to this season, the three seniors won a combined 244 singles matches. In 2010, each player claimed at least 20 wins. Allare was 25-5 overall in singles and 23-13 in doubles last season.
When paired with Uzawa in doubles last year, the duo went 22-13 overall, which was tied for the team lead.
Novak picked up where he left off the previous two seasons in 2008 and 2009, going 37-7 in singles and 37-3 in doubles, both team highs in 2010. During the season, Novak was an important contributor in the singles lineup with a combined 31-4 record at the Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 positions.
Uzawa put together a good 2010 season. He was 20-16 in singles and 25-13 overall in doubles. In singles, Uzawa was perfect at No. 3 with a 4-0 mark and was 22-13 in doubles play when paired with Allare.
The trio also has been successful in the Big Ten, earning a 40-4 combined career Big Ten singles record.
Rola Rolls to 20 Wins
Freshman Blaz Rola, the fourth-ranked singles player nationally, was the first Buckeye to achieve 20 victories on the season. His record stands at 23-3 overall with an impressive 10-1 mark in dual action. He is 4-1 while playing at No. 1 and 6-0 at No. 2. On the year, he has faced a ranked opponent 13 times, winning 10.
Freshman Ille Van Engelen recorded his first collegiate singles victory against Chris Herron from Butler 6-2, 6-3 Jan. 26. Van Engelen, a native of the Netherlands, also collected his first doubles win as a Buckeye. Partnering with fellow freshman Blaz Rola, the duo defeated the Bulldog team of Brandon Bayliss and Lenz Theodor, 8-4. Van Engelen is 9-4 in singles and 3-1 in doubles on the season.
The Buckeyes will return to the road when they play at 7 p.m. ET March 10th as they travel to College Station, Texas, to take on the No. 18 Texas A&M Aggies.