Feb. 12, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's tennis team hits the road for the first time this year, traveling to Houston, Texas, to compete at the 2014 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship. The Buckeyes (9-0) are the fifth seed in the tournament and will meet Florida, the No. 12 seed, at 9 a.m. CST (10 a.m. EST) Friday in the first round at the Downtown Club in the Met and the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club. Texas A&M University will host the national event, which runs through Feb. 17.
Texas A&M University will serve as hosts of the 2014 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship. Live scores, live video as well as updated brackets and times, can be found above.
Ohio State and Florida square off for the sixth time. It is the first meeting between the programs since the 2012 NCAA Tournament when the Buckeyes defeated the Gators, 4-1, in the round of 16 in Athens, Ga. Senior Peter Kobelt is No. 23 in the nation in singles, holding a 4-0 mark in dual play this year, while the No. 2 Buckeye duo of redshirt junior Kevin Metka and Kobelt are 16-3 overall, including a 2-1 mark at No. 1 doubles.
No. 12 Florida boasts two singles players and two doubles pairs ranked in the latest ITA polls. Stephane Piro is No. 55, while Elliott Orkin is No. 114. In doubles, Gordon Watson and Orkin are 11th in the country, while Michael Alford and Piro are No. 24.
The Buckeyes' appearance in the 2014 championship marks their eighth-consecutive. Ohio State has finished as runner-up three times, including its 2012 loss to USC, the eventual NCAA Champion. The other years, the Buckeyes finished second were in 2007, when the Scarlet and Gray lost to eventual national champion Georgia and 2008, with a finals loss to Virginia. From 2005 to 2006, Ohio State advanced to the semifinals and in 2009 to the quarterfinals. Last season, Ohio State fell to Virginia in the semifinals, 4-3.
The ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship is the ITA's longest running national championship, which dates back to 1973. Stanford has won the most titles with 12 and is followed by UCLA with seven. The team that has reached the final has gone on to win the NCAA crown 17 times since 1973.
THE REST OF THE FIELD
The fifteen other teams in the Team Indoors (in order of ranking): No.1 Virginia, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Baylor, No. 7 Oklahoma, No. 8 California, No. 9 Mississippi State, No. 10 Illinois, No. 11 Texas A&M (host), No. 13 Texas, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 15 Duke and No. 16 Notre Dame. The Buckeyes play four teams later this season (Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Georgia and Illinois).
Ohio State defeated No. 8 Texas A&M 4-3 Feb. 9 to extend its home win streak to 181-consecutive matches, the current active record within all Division I sports. The Stanford women's tennis team holds the all-time record at 184-consecutive matches, spanning from 1999-2011. The Buckeyes' record began with a win over Purdue on April 6, 2003.
LEADING THE BUCKEYES
Redshirt juniors Hunter Callahan and Kevin Metka and redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach lead Ohio State with 13 total wins this season. Callahan holds a 7-0 and 6-0 records in singles and doubles, respectively, while Metka has gone 9-0 in singles and 4-1 in doubles and Steinbach going 7-1 in singles and 6-2 in doubles, respectively.
After the ITA Indoors, the Buckeyes will travel to Indiana to face Notre Dame on Feb. 22, followed by a meeting with No. 57 Indiana on Feb. 24. Ohio State will then host No. 28 North Carolina at the Varsity Tennis Center Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. As always, admission is free.