Jan. 25, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 11 Ohio State men’s tennis team plays hosts to Butler and Xavier in its 2005 home opener Friday at Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in Columbus. The match against the Bulldogs is slated for noon, followed by the match against the Musketeers at 6 p.m. Returning for Ohio State this season are juniors Scott Green, Dennis Mertens and Ross Wilson, sophomores Joey Atas, Chris Klingemann and Devin Mullings. Coming off a redshirt season during his freshman campaign is Dominic Ozanne. Freshman Drew Eberly will be making his first dual-match appearance for the Buckeyes, while senior Todd Wojtkowski, a transfer from Toledo, and freshman Ty Schaub will sit-out the 2005 campaign and redshirt.

Ohio State is 5-0 in home openers under sixth-year head coach Ty Tucker. Those five matches include four shutouts vs. Xavier (2004), two against Toledo (2003, 2002) and Robert Morris (2000). The Buckeyes were undefeated at home in 2004 with 14 victories and extended their home win streak to 17 matches. The streak dates back to the 2003 season starting with a 5-2 win over Purdue April 6.

Butler is 1-1 this season after the squad split a pair of matches last weekend to open its spring season. The Bulldogs topped IUPUI, 4-3, and fell to Dayton, 4-3. The Bulldogs are under the direction of eighth-year head coach Jason Suscha. In seven years, Suscha owns a 114-51 career mark and has guided Butler to the NCAA team championships the past three years. The team is without its top three players. Brandon Gill and Scott Newmark will miss the entire season, while James Low is expected to return in the next two weeks.

Xavier opened its spring season with a 4-3 win over Cleveland State. The Musketeers lost the doubles point and retaliated at the Nos. 3-6 singles spots. The team is led by head coach Jim Brockhoff, now in his 42nd season at Xavier. Brockhoff serves as both the men’s and women’s tennis head coach.

Ohio State leads in the series against Butler and Xavier. The Buckeyes are 4-0 against the Bulldogs, with shutouts in the 2003 and 2002 seasons and a 6-1 win in 2001 (all under head coach Ty Tucker). In 1986, under former head coach John Daly, Ohio State defeated Butler, 9-0.

OSU faced Xavier for the first time in program history last season and defeated the Musketeers, 7-0, in the home opener.

Head coach Ty Tucker, the 2004 Midwest Region IV Coach of the Year, guided his Buckeye squad to its finest campaign in program history in 2004. He led the team to its fifth-consecutive NCAA appearance where it advanced to the quarterfinal round and finished the season 12th in the nation. Tucker is 108-32 overall and 49-13 against Big Ten opponents during his five-year tenure with the Buckeyes. Tucker is aided by assistant coaches Marc Wurtzman, in his third year, and David Schilling, in his sixth year.

Six Buckeyes represented the team Sunday at the Rice Invitational in Houston, Texas. Sophomore Devin Mullings, the No. 4 seed of the tournament, advanced to the semifinal round in singles action. He fell, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6, in the semifinal match to Baylor’s Benjamin Becker, the 2004 NCAA Singles champion and the No. 2 seed of the tournament. In the doubles bracket, sophomores Joey Atas and Chris Klingemann advanced to the final match after knocking off opponents from Baylor and Rice. The OSU tandem was forced to withdraw from the final match because of tournament delays and travel conflicts.

The Ohio State squad is ranked No. 11 in the ITA Division I team poll released Jan. 11. This is the highest preseason ranking for the Buckeyes and ties the team’s top national ranking during a season. The Buckeyes moved into the No. 11 spot last season in the March 16 polls.

The OSU tandem of juniors Scott Green and Ross Wilson are ranked No. 1 in the ITA Division I doubles poll released Jan. 13. This is the highest ranking for a Buckeye doubles pair in program history. The duo received the No. 1 spot after a stellar fall season. Green and Wilson captured back-to-back national doubles titles at the ITA All-American Championships Oct. 10 and the ITA National Indoor Championships Nov. 7. They became the first doubles team to capture both the ITA All-American title and the National Indoors title in the same season since 1992-93, and are the third team to do so in NCAA history. Green and Wilson went undefeated in fall tournament action with a 9-0 record.

Other Buckeye doubles teams were ranked in the poll, including Wilson and freshman Drew Eberly at the No. 24 spot and sophomores Joey Atas and Chris Klingemann at No. 28.

Sophomores Devin Mullings, Joey Atas and Chris Klingemann are ranked in the Jan. 13 ITA Division I singles Poll. Mullings holds the No. 40 spot, Atas is No. 67 and Klingemann is positioned at 124.

Ohio State received an invitation to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 17-20 in Chicago. That marked the first bid to the team championships for the Buckeyes in program history. The 16-team field includes defending national champion Baylor, Big Ten foe Illinois, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Harvard, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA and Virginia (one more team from the Mountain Region will be added in two weeks).

Buckeyes Drew Eberly and Ross Wilson advanced to the doubles title match Oct. 26 at the ITA Midwest Regional Championship. The OSU tandem suffered an 8-5 loss to the No. 1 seed, Illinois’ Ryler DeHeart and G.D. Jones. Eberly and Wilson, 5-1 in tournament play, advanced to the final round after they defeated teammates Joey Atas and Chris Klingemann, 8-1, in semifinal action.

Sophomore Devin Mullings advanced to the semifinal round after four-consecutive wins in the singles main draw Oct. 25 at the ITA Midwest Regional Championships. Mullings, the No. 13 seed, fell to the No. 2 seed Illinois’ Ryler DeHeart, 7-5, 7-5.

The men’s tennis squad competed Oct. 14-17 at the Hidden Duals in Ann Arbor, Mich. The three-day event consisted of a “hidden dual” match format where teams squared off against each other but the outcome of the match was not scored as a team effort. However, each match counted toward the individual players’ records and rankings. The Ohio State team combined for a perfect 5-0 record in doubles.

The Buckeyes return to tournament action as they travel Feb. 3-6 to the Washington Invitational in Seattle. Ohio State will be back in Columbus as the squad hosts Arkansas at 3 p.m. Feb. 11 at Jesse Owens West Recreation Center.