April 2, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio- The No. 6 Ohio State men’s tennis team defeated No. 5 Illinois 5-2 Sunday at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus. The win was the Buckeyes’ first against the Illini since Ohio State beat Illinois in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament Title match. With the win, Ohio State extends its home win streak to 38 matches. The streak dates back to the 2003 season.

The Illini loss was their first regular season conference loss since the 1997 season. The streak lasted 86 matches and included eight regular season Big Ten titles. Their only loss to a conference opponent during that streak was to Ohio State in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament Title Match.

The Buckeyes started the match Sunday by winning the doubles point, a feat they have done in every match this season. Ohio State seniors Ross Wilson (Toledo, Ohio/Toledo St. Francis de Sales) and Scott Green (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover), the nation’s No. 2-ranked doubles team, defeated Illinois’ Ryler DeHeart and Ruben Gonzalez 8-3 at the No. 1 doubles spot. The OSU duo’s record improves to 21-2 overall on the year and 15-1 in dual competition. Ohio State clinched the doubles point when junior’s Devin Mullings (Freeport, Bahamas/Ft. Lauderdale Prepatory) and Chris Klingemann (Bradenton, Fla./Texas Tech Independent) beat GD Jones and Ryan Rowe 8-4 at the No. 3 doubles spot.

Klingemann won his fifth-consecutive match at the No. 1 singles spot for the Buckeyes to improve his season record to 17-5. Klingemann downed Jones 6-3, 6-4 to clinch the match for OSU. The two seniors who anchored the lineup both secured straight set victories. Ross Wilson downed Marc Spicijaric 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 6 singles spot while Dennis Mertens (Braaschaat, Belgium/Koninkiljk) beat Ruben Gonzales 6-2, 6-3 at No. 5 singles to give the Buckeyes their third point on the day.

Wilson felt this win was a long time coming.

“We have been really close to beating them numerous times,” Wilson said. “I remember a few years ago we were winning at their place 3-1. We ended up losing 4-3. They were ranked No. 1 in the nation at that time and we came so close to beating them. They have said it’s not really a rivalry because one team wins all the time. We wanted to change the face of this rivalry.”

Ohio State men’s tennis head coach Ty Tucker was pleased with the way his team played on the day, but refused to look too far into the future.

“We can enjoy this one for a little bit, but Indiana will be looking to knock us off Friday,” Tucker said. “We have gotten this high ranking because we don’t look past teams. We take each team seriously because we know on any given day a team can knock you off. It is nice to maintain this home win streak though.”

Ohio State travels to Indiana and Penn State April 7 and 9. The next Buckeye home match is April 22 against Northwestern. All home matches are played at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus.

No. 6 Ohio State 5, No. 5 Illinois 2
Singles Results
1. Chris Klingemann (OSU/17-5) def. No. 41 GD Jones (ILL) 6-3, 6-4
2. No. 3 Ryler DeHeart (ILL) def. No. 76 Devin Mullings (OSU/18-9) 6-4, 6-1
3. No. 75 Bryan Koniecko (OSU/16-10) def. No. 17 Kevin Anderson (ILL) 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
4. Ryan Rowe (ILL) def. Steven Moneke (OSU/13-5) 6-7, 6-2, 1-1 (OSU default/inj.)
5. Dennis Mertens (OSU/19-5) def. Ruben Gonzales (ILL) 6-2, 6-3
6. Ross Wilson (OSU/17-5) def. Marc Spicijaric (ILL) 6-3, 6-3
Order of Finish 2, 6, 5, 1, 3
Doubles Results
1. No. 2 Green/Wilson (OSU/21-2) def. DeHeart/Gonzales (ILL) 8-3
2. Anderson/Dabir (ILL) def. Eberly/Koniecko (OSU/12-3) 8-5
3. Mullings/Klingemann (OSU/15-1) def. Jones/Rowe (ILL) 8-4
Order of Finish 1, 3, 2