No. 5 Ohio State Defeats No. 8 Texas A&M in 4-3 Thriller
Hunter Callahan sealed match point for the Buckeyes
Feb. 9, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In its biggest non-conference home match of the season, the No. 5 Ohio State men’s tennis team battled to a 4-3 win over No. 8 Texas A&M Sunday at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus. The Buckeyes (9-0) bounced back after losing the doubles point for the first time this season by claiming four singles victories. Ohio State now improves its home win streak to 181-consecutive matches – just three wins shy of the NCAA Division I record (Stanford women’s tennis – 184 wins).
“When two Top eight teams play each other, the match is going to come down to tiebreakers,” director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker said. “We lost a tiebreaker in doubles, but rallied back with some big tiebreaker victories from Ralf and Hunter in singles that helped us push through for the win. Texas A&M is a great team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are in contention for a title in the next couple of years.”
In doubles play, redshirt sophomore Chris Diaz (Columbus, Ohio) and redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach (Halle, Germany) dropped their set to No. 20 Jeremy Efferfing and Jordan Szabo, 6-1 on court No. 3. Redshirt sophomore Hunter Callahan (Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania) and freshman Herkko Pollanen (Helsinki, Finland) were first to get on the board for the Buckeyes with a 6-3 win on court No. 2 over Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant. The doubles point came down to court No. 1 and the No. 7 duo of senior Peter Kobelt (New Albany, Ohio) and redshirt junior Kevin Metka (Worthington, Ohio) battled tough against No. 6 Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow before falling in a tiebreaker 6-5 (7-5).
“With the new rule format, there are going to be big points and high drama. We were very fortunate to come out on the winning end and I think this will give our guys confidence heading into the indoor championships next week.”
In singles action, the Buckeyes won the first set on four of the six courts and No. 31 Kobelt was first to finish, upsetting No. 19 Adams 6-4, 6-3 on court 1. It was the highest-ranked singles win of the season for Kobelt. Metka was next to finish, defeating Withrow 6-4, 6-3 on court No. 5 to put the Buckeyes ahead, 2-1. Pollanen dropped his first match of the season, falling to No. 38 Vinsant 6-2, 6-4 on court No. 2. No. 13 Efferding put the Aggies up 3-2 with a tight 6-1, 6-5 (8-6) decision against Diaz, while on court No 3. Steinbach tied the match up at 3-3 with a close 6-5(13-11), 6-4 win over Ore on court 4 to bring the match down to court No. 6.
Callahan stormed back from 2-5 down in the first set en route to defeating Max Lunkin 6-5(7-3), 6-3 to seal the victory for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes now turn to their first road trip of the season, traveling to compete in the ITA Feb. 14-17 in Houston, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M University. At last year’s championships in Seattle, Ohio State fell to the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers in the semifinals in a 4-3 battle. Blaz Rola was named to the ITA All-Tournament team at No.1 singles, while Rola and Metka were named to the team at No. 3 doubles. The next home match is Feb. 28 against No. 28 North Carolina at 6 p.m. As always, admission is free.
1. #31 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. #19 Harrison Adams (TAMU) 6-4, 6-3
2. #38 Shane Vinsant (TAMU) def. Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 6-2, 6-4
3. #13 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU) def. Chris Diaz (OSU) 6-1, 6-5 (8-6)
4. Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. Junior Ore (TAMU) 6-5 (13-11), 6-4
5. Kevin Metka (OSU) def. Jackson Withrow (TAMU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Hunter Callahan (OSU) def. Max Lunkin (TAMU) 6-5 (7-3), 6-3
1. #6 Junior Ore/Jackson Withrow (TAMU) def. #7 Peter Kobelt/Kevin Metka (OSU) 6-5 (7-5)
2. Hunter Callahan/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) def. Harrison Adams/Shane Vinsant (TAMU) 6-3
3. #20 Jeremy Efferding/Jordan Szabo (TAMU) def. Chris Diaz/Ralf Steinbach (OSU) 6-1
Texas A&M 6-2; National ranking #8 Ohio State 9-0; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (1,5,2,3,4,6)