Feb. 26, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The fourth ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team (12-2) will face another ranked opponent on the road, this time No. 22 North Carolina (7-2) before opening Big Ten play against Penn State (4-5). The Buckeyes will take on the Tar Heels at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Chapel Hill, N.C., and then the Scarlet and Gray will match up against the Nittany Lions at noon Sunday in University Park, Pa.

In a Nutshell

  • Ohio State is 12-2 overall, including a 10-0 mark at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus.
  • The Buckeyes improve to 326-44 (.881) as a Top 25 team since 2001. Ohio State moves to 108-49 (.688) vs. Top 25 programs since 2000.
  • Following their wins vs. No. 25 Notre Dame Feb. 23 and LSU Feb. 24, the Scarlet and Gray extended their home win streak to 160 matches. The Buckeyes’ last loss at home was a 5-2 setback vs. Illinois April 5, 2003.
  • Redshirt junior Peter Kobelt leads the team in wins with 22, while senior Connor Smith has 19 victories for second best. In dual competition, Smith has collected 11 wins and a trio of Buckeyes in Hunter Callahan, Chris Diaz and Blaz Rola has nine dual victories.
  • Rola and Constantin Christ currently own the longest win streaks for the Buckeyes. Rola has won nine consecutive matches for a 9-0 record (7-0 at No. 1 singles; 2-0 at No. 2 singles). Christ, who has seen action at No. 6 singles, is 6-0 at that position for a perfect dual record.
  • In doubles play, Ille Van Engelen and Devin McCarthy have 10 wins to their credit, which serves as a team best. All 10 victories have come during the dual season with the tandem going 4-0 at No. 1 doubles and 6-1 at No. 2 doubles. Overall, Kevin Metka leads all Buckeyes in doubles victories with 15 (12-0 in dual competition), including 11 wins at No. 3 doubles.         

No. 4 Buckeyes vs. No. 22 Tar Heels

Ohio State and North Carolina have met seven times and seven times the Buckeyes have come away with a victory. Between the two teams, the eighth matchup will showcase seven ranked singles players and one ranked doubles team. The Scarlet and Gray will feature a quartet of ranked singles players in No. 2 Peter Kobelt, No. 30 Connor Smith, No. 37 Chris Diaz, No. 62 Blaz Rola and the lone ranked doubles team of No. 35 Kobelt and Smith. The Tar Heels will contribute the other three ranked singles players to the matchup – No. 20 Esben Hess-Olesen, No. 77 Brett Clark and No. 80 Nelson Vick. Vick, who is a transfer from Ohio State, will face his former team for the first time. As a Buckeye, Vick achieved a ranking as high as No. 66 and earned Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors in 2012.

Against ranked competition this season, the Buckeyes are 7-2 and each of those victories has been by a shutout, while the two losses have been by a score of 4-3. The Buckeyes beat No. 71* ETSU, No. 65* Miami, No. 6* Georgia, No. 13* California and No. 5* Pepperdine, while the only missteps were at No. 15* Texas A&M and against No. 1 Virginia (*Reflects rankings at time of the match, not current ITA rankings).

Big Ten Play Begins
The Buckeyes open up Big Ten play at Penn State. The familiar foes will meet for the 29th time Sunday, with Ohio State leading the all-time series 22-6. It is also the third-consecutive year the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions have started the Big Ten Season against each other, with Ohio State winning 7-0 in 2011 and 2012.

The Buckeyes look to begin Big Ten Play with a victory and extend their reign as Big Ten regular-season champions to an eighth-consecutive season. Additionally Ohio State has not dropped a Big Ten regular season match in seven years, owning a 71-0 record since 2006.

2012 Big Ten Season Review
The 2012 campaign for Ohio State was marked by success. The Buckeyes finished first in the conference, with an unblemished record of 11-0. The Buckeyes stumbled in the Big Ten Tournament Championship match, falling 4-3 to Illinois. Five members of the 2012 team earned All-Big Ten honors, including four current Buckeyes. Peter Kobelt and Blaz Rola earned First Team honors, while Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen were named to the Second Team. Chase Buchanan, a Buckeye letterwinner from 2009-12, also was named First Team All-Big Ten in his senior season. The Scarlet and Gray had a tennis player named Big Ten Athlete of the Week eight times in the 2012 spring season. Finally, head coach Ty Tucker was named 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his impressive coaching career.

Last Time Out
Ohio State beat a pair of Top 25 teams in No. 25 Notre Dame and No. 24 LSU by 7-0 scores Feb. 23 and 24 in the Varsity Tennis Center to extend its home win streak to 160 matches, which serve as an NCAA record for all active sports. For the weekend, the Buckeyes dropped only two sets in the singles lineup (vs. Notre Dame) and outlasted tough LSU doubles squads. 

Up Next
The Buckeyes will be in action again when they take on No. 7 Pepperdine at 4 p.m. ET March 12 in Malibu, Calif. It will be the second meeting between the two teams in less than a month. The Buckeyes defeated the Waves 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship Feb. 16.