No. 1 Buckeyes Edged at No. 16 Georgia, 4-3
March 12, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Despite rallying to take a 3-2 lead in singles, the No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team dropped a close 4-3 match at No. 16 Georgia Wednesday evening in Athens, Ga. Down 2-0, the Buckeyes (17-2) battled back to take three-consecutive singles matches before the Bulldogs (8-5) claimed wins on the final two courts to earn the victory in a non-conference rollercoaster battle that lasted five hours and 30 minutes.
High winds in the area forced the Top 25 match inside to Georgia’s four-court indoor facility with competition starting just around 4 p.m. ET.
Tied at 3-3, match point came down to the closest singles match of the night at court No. 6. Redshirt junior Hunter Callahan battled hard in a tough road environment, but lost two set tiebreakers against Hernus Pieters, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6) to clinch the home win for the Bulldogs. The Buckeyes are now 8-2 vs. Top 25 teams in 2014 with five wins over Top 10 opponents.
In doubles, the freshman duo of Marko Goles-Babic and Herkko Pollanen were paired for the first time in their collegiate careers and fell, 8-4, against Garrett Brasseaux and Nathan Pasha on court No. 3. Callahan and redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach also paired for the first time on court No. 2, and won, 8-4, against Eric Diaz and Austin Smith, breaking the Bulldogs twice in the match. The doubles point came down to No. 1 where the fourth-ranked duo of senior Peter Kobelt and redshirt junior Kevin Metka were broken in the 10th game and could not recover, falling, 8-6, vs. No. 21 Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland.
In singles, the Bulldogs then took a 2-0 lead after Pollanen fell to No. 13 Smith, who had the most wins in the fall for Georgia, in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. However, the Buckeyes rebounded quickly to make it 2-1 when ninth-ranked Kobelt battled a first set tiebreaker to win 8-6 and went on to finish the straight set victory vs. No. 25 Pasha 7-6, 6-2. The ITA Indoor Team Tournament MVP, Kobelt now has 10 wins over ranked opponents in 2014 with an 11-1 record at No. 1 singles.
The next two matches were decided in third sets with redshirt sopohmore Chris Diaz facing No. 87 Ben Wagland at No. 3 singles, while Metka matched up vs. No. 79 Garrett Brasseaux at No. 4 singles, respectively. After winning his first set 6-0, Diaz rallied to earn the victory, wining 6-0, 2-6, 6-3 vs. Wagland. Metka then followed shortly after with the Buckeyes’ third-consecutive win to give the team the 3-2 lead, winning 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 vs. Brasseaux.
The momentum of the match seemed to switch over to the Scarlet and Gray, however, the Bulldogs then tied it, 3-3, when Nick Wood rallied to defeat Steinbach, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on court No. 5.
Ohio State will now have nine days off to prepare for a big home conference match vs. Michigan at 6 p.m. ET March 21 at the Varsity Tennis Center. A win over the Wolverines would tie the NCAA all-time home win streak record in any varsity sport of 184-consecutive victories.
Tennis Match Results