No. 3 Buckeyes Fall to Illinois 4-3 in Big Ten Tournament Final
April 29, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The top-seeded Ohio State men’s tennis team (31-3, 11-0 B1G) fell to No. 3 seed Illinois (17-7, 8-3) 4-3 in the final of the 2012 Big Ten Tennis Tournament Sunday at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill.
The third-ranked Buckeyes had won the previous six conference tournaments, with Illinois and Ohio State meeting in six of the last seven. Ohio State is now 5-1 in those contests.
After Illinois came back from a 3-1 deficit to even the match at 3-3, all eyes turned to the No. 2 singles match between Blaz Rola and Roy Kalmanovich with the Big Ten Tournament title on the line. Kalmanovich won the first set 6-4 before Rola returned the favor with a 6-3 win of his own in the second set. Kalmanovich took a 3-1 lead in the third set before Rola broke back to even it at 3-3. However, Kalmanovich broke again Rola and rode the momentum to a 6-3 third-set victory.
Ohio State will find out its overall seed and where it will play the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament (May 10-13)Tuesday during the 2012 NCAA Men’s Tennis Selection Show, which will air online at 5:30 p.m.
After dropping the doubles point to Indiana in the semifinals, Ohio State rebounded with wins on courts two and three to take a 1-0 lead vs. the Fighting Illini.
Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen, ranked 31st nationally, were the first pair done, finishing with an 8-4 win over Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon at No. 2 doubles. They improve to 32-9 overall on the season with the victory.
Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith gave Ohio State the early lead after an 8-3 win on court three vs. Stephen Hoh and Farris Gosea. The win improved the Ohio State duo’s record at the third position to 16-2 on the season and 25-5 overall.
Chase Buchanan lifted the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead after defeating No. 8 Dennis Nevolo 6-2, 6-2 at the top position. Buchanan, ranked 11th, is 27-6 on the season, including marks of 12-2 on court one and 11-4 vs. ranked completion. He will enter NCAA tournament play on a 12-match win streak. Buchanan also defeated Nevolo 6-4, 6-4 when the two met April 13 in Columbus.
Illinois rebounded and cut the Ohio State lead in half after Kopinski downed Van Engelen 6-3, 6-1 at No. 4 singles. The loss ended Van Engelen’s eight-match win streak and moved his overall record to 26-7.
Ohio State increased its lead to 3-1 after Kobelt, ranked 67th, beat Bruno Abdelnour 6-4, 6-2.
Hoh snapped McCarthy’s 13-match win streak to move the Illini within one for the second time during the championship. It wasn’t easy but Hoh left as a 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 winner on court five.
Illinois evened the match at 3-3 after Guignon upended Smith 7-6, 6-4 on court six giving the Illini the momentum in the final contest between Rola and Kalmanovich.
The Scarlet and Gray are 40-55-1 all-time vs. the Illini, having won 10 of the last 11, all under the direction of head coach Ty Tucker.
Tennis Match Results