No. 5 Ohio State Blanks Denver, 4-0
Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach
Jan. 25, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 5 Ohio State men’s tennis team continued its home dominance with its third shutout of the season, defeating the Denver Pioneers, 4-0, in the opening match of the 2014 ITA Kick-Off at the Varsity Tennis Center. With the win, they advance to the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Championship at 1 p.m. Sunday and play the winner of Middle Tennessee State/Louisville for a berth in ITA National Team Indoor, to be hosted by Texas A&M University Feb. 14-17 in Houston. The Buckeyes (3-0) now improve their home win streak to 175-consecutive matches.
In doubles action, redshirt junior Hunter Callahan (Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania) and freshman Herkko Pollanen (Helsinki, Finland) were first to get on the board with a 6-2 win on court No. 2 over Alex Gasson and Yannik James. Redshirt sophomore Chris Diaz (Columbus, Ohio) and redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach (Halle, Germany) then clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 victory on court No. 3 over Fabio Biasion and Eric Marbach. The No. 7 duo of senior Peter Kobelt (New Albany, Ohio) and redshirt junior Kevin Metka (Worthington, Ohio) led Henry Craig and Diogo Rocha 5-3 when play was called.
In singles play, the Buckeyes won the first set on all six courts and Steinbach was first to finish, downing Alex Clinkenbeard 6-0, 6-1 on court No. 4. It’s the third-consecutive match where Steinbach has only dropped one game. Metka was next to finish, defeating James 6-1, 6-3 on court No. 5 to put the Buckeyes ahead, 3-0. At singles No. 6, Hunter Callahan sealed the Buckeye victory with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Marbach and play was suspended on the top three courts. Kobelt, the No. 37 player in the country, was leading 3-2 in a second set tiebreaker with Craig when play was called. Diaz was up a break in the second set and Pollanen was on serve in his second set when play finished.
The Buckeyes now turn to a doubleheader tomorrow, facing the MTSU/Louisville winner at 1 p.m. and then facing Toledo at 6 p.m. MTSU defeated the Buckeyes in their only previous meeting in 1976 and Ohio State leads Louisville 11-1, including a 6-1 victory last season. The Buckeyes hold a 29-3 record against Toledo, which includes last year’s 4-0 shutout after the ITA Kick-Off. As always, admission is free.
1. #31 Peter Kobelt (OSU) vs. Henry Craig (DU) 6-3, 5-5, unfinished
2. Chris Diaz (OSU) vs. Alex Gasson (DU) 6-4, 3-2, unfinished
3. Herkko Pollanen (OSU) vs. Diogo Rocha (DU) 6-4, 1-2, unfinished
4. Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. Alex Clinkenbeard (DU) 6-0, 6-1
5. Kevin Metka (OSU) def. Yannik James (DU) 6-1, 6-3
6. Hunter Callahan (OSU) def. Eric Marbach (DU) 6-3, 6-1
1. #7 Peter Kobelt/Kevin Metka (OSU) vs. Henry Craig/Diogo Rocha (DU) 5-3, unfinished
2. Hunter Callahan/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) def. Alex Gasson/Yannik James (DU) 6-2
3. Chris Diaz/Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. Fabio Biasion/Eric Marbach (DU) 6-4
Denver 0-1; National ranking #57
Ohio State 3-0; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,5,6)
Official: Vince Solomon T-1:50 A-120
Buckeyes Battle to Sweep Longhorns