No. 2 Buckeyes Welcome No. 23 Illinois, No. 46 Northwestern

Go Buckeyes! Peter Kobelt
Go Buckeyes!
Peter Kobelt
Go Buckeyes!

April 11, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 2 Ohio State men’s tennis team (25-2, 7-0 Big Ten) will return home after being on the road its previous two matches. The Buckeyes welcome No. 23 Illinois for a 6 p.m. match Friday and Northwestern for a noon contest on Sunday. The Illini match is scheduled to take place at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center, while the tilt with the Wildcats is set to occur at the new outdoor Varsity Tennis Courts.

The Buckeyes, who are seeking their eighth and ninth conference wins of the season, will try to extend numerous streaks vs. both Big Ten teams this weekend, including their 143 consecutive match win streak at home. Ohio State has also won nine consecutive matches vs. the Illini and eight in a row against the Wildcats. The Scarlet and Gray will also look to extend their 86-match win streak vs. Big Ten opponents to 88 this weekend.

Break Points:

  • As the No. 2 team nationally, Ohio State is 68-5.
  • Ohio State has won 67 of its last 69 regular-season (non-tournament) road contests dating back to 2006.
  • The Buckeyes have won 25 doubles points out of a possible 26 this season.
  • The Buckeyes have been victorious in 42 of their previous 45 matches.
  • Ohio State has won 143 consecutive home matches in Columbus (16-0 in 2012).
  • Since 2001, Ohio State is 270-38 when ranked in the ITA Top 25. That percentage improves to 223-15 from the 2005-06 season onward.
  • The Buckeyes have been ranked in the ITA Top 10 for 189 consecutive matches (beginning March 7, 2006).
  • Ohio State has won 86 consecutive Big Ten Conference matches.
  • Blaz Rola leads the team with 26 singles wins, while Chase Buchanan leads with 33 doubles wins.
  • The Scarlet and Gray are 9-2 vs. teams ranked in the ITA Top 25.



Last Time Out
The Buckeyes won a pair of Big Ten matches on the road last weekend. Ohio State shut out Wisconsin 7-0 April 6 and downed No. 47 Minnesota 6-1 April 8. The two wins extended the Ohio State’s Big Ten win streak to 86.

Devin McCarthy earned the match-winning fourth point with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Quinton Vega. McCarthy, the 69th-ranked player nationally, moved to 21-6 overall with the win and 5-1 at the fourth position.

Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith were the first Buckeye pair to finish in doubles with an 8-1 win over Alex Robles and Vega. The pair improved to 19-4 overall and 12-1 at the third position.

Ohio State claimed the doubles point after Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola won their 24th match together with an 8-0 shutout at No. 1 over Alexander Kostonov and Petr Satral.

Against Minnesota, the Buckeyes were guaranteed the conference win after Peter Kobelt, ranked 54th-nationally, defeated Phillip Arndt 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. The redshirt-sophomore’s 19th win of the season was the match-clinching fourth point for the Buckeyes.

The top ranked doubles tandem in the nation, Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola claimed the doubles point for Ohio State, winning their 10th-consecutive contest with an 8-5 triumph on court one vs. Rok Bonin and Julian Dehn, the No. 22 team in the nation. The Buckeye duo moved to 25-2 when paired together, including 16-2 at the top position, 10-1 vs. ranked opponents and 4-0 in league play.

Illinois Watch
The Illini are 12-4 overall entering the match with Ohio State, having won seven of their last eight matches. They have non-conference victories over Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Illinois is currently 6-1 in conference play, with its only loss occurring at home last weekend to Michigan. The Wolverines squeaked out a 4-3 victory vs. the Illini for its lone Big Ten loss. They have beat Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan State. All four losses for the Illini have been vs. ranked teams.

Ohio State vs. the Illini
Ohio State trails Illinois 54-39-1 in the overall series between the two Big Ten teams. But the Buckeyes have won nine consecutive matches against Illinois, dating back to the 1999-00 season. Ohio State is 14-9 vs. the Illini since Ty Tucker became head coach in 1999. The Buckeyes and Illinois have met in the previous eight Big Ten tournaments following the regular season, with Ohio State holding on to a 6-2 advantage.

Noting Northwestern
Northwestern is 12-7 overall for the season which places them at No. 46 in the latest ITA team standings. The Wildcats have won six of their last seven contests, all in the Big Ten. Their lone two conference losses have been against Michigan and Illinois. They have beaten Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan State. Non-conference wins include Ball State, Alabama, New Mexico and Western Michigan.

Ohio State vs. the Wildcats
The Buckeyes and Northwestern are 43-43 in the series. However, Ohio State has won 14 of its last 15 vs. the Wildcats, all under the direction of Ty Tucker. The Scarlet and Gray have won eight consecutive in the series, including six straight shutouts.

Buckeye Ties
Current Northwestern assistant coach Chris Klingemann is a graduate of Ohio State and was a vital part of the Buckeyes successful tennis teams from 2003-07. Klingemann, in his first year coaching the Wildcats, is tied for 15th in career singles wins at Ohio State with 89. His 61 career doubles wins places him 24th in the record book. During his senior season donning the Scarlet and Gray, Klingemann earned All-Big Ten honors as well as achieving academic All-Big Ten. The ex-Buckeye is a native of Seattle, Wash., and spent two-and-a-half years playing on the ATP circuit after graduation before joining Northwestern.

Big Ten Best
Ohio State has won 86 consecutive matches in the Big Ten Conference after defeating Wisconsin 7-0 April 6 and No. 47 Minnesota 6-1 April 8 on the road. The Buckeyes defeated Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana earlier in the season.

Entering the 2012 season, the Buckeyes have collected six consecutive Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles. Head coach Ty Tucker also has nabbed Big Ten Coach of the Year every year during the span as well.

In the Rankings
After dropping to No. 3 last week, Ohio State returned to No. 2 in the latest ITA team rankings released April 10. The Buckeyes jumped Virginia, who they previously beat 4-1 in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship semifinal, Feb. 19 in Charlottesville, Va. Ohio State was ranked No. 2 for consecutive weeks before dropping to No. 3 last week.

The Buckeyes began the season as the No. 3 team, before becoming No. 2 Feb. 25. They are 68-5 all-time as the second-ranked team nationally. They have faced six of the Top 10 teams in the country including those ranked No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4. Against those opponents, Ohio State is 4-2.

All Ranked Up
The latest individual Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings were released April 10. It served as the fourth computerized rankings of the season. The Buckeyes have six players ranked in the singles poll, tied for most in the nation with Kentucky.

Currently sophomore Blaz Rola, who owns the team lead with 26 singles wins, is the highest ranked Buckeye, dropping two spots to No. 7. Chase Buchanan, a 2011 All-American and two-time defending Big Ten Athlete of the Year, is No. 13 in the poll. Rola and Buchanan also remain the top-ranked doubles pair nationally.

Peter Kobelt moved from No. 54 to 58 in the new poll, while Devin McCarthy fell to No. 79 and Nelson Vick is the last ranked player at No. 125. Connor Smith re-entered the standings at No. 118.  

Buchanan and Rola continue to hold firm as the No. 1 doubles tandem in the nation, while Buchanan and Kobelt dropped to No. 40 in doubles, having rarely competed together in the spring. McCarthy and Van Engelen jumped 16 spots to the 23rd position. Rola and Smith re-entered the double ranks and currently are No. 83 in the country.

Rola-ing Along
Blaz Rola currently leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 26 between courts one and two. The sophomore, who is currently ranked seventh nationally, is 7-1 at No. 1 singles and 11-1 at No. 2. Rola has won 12 of his previous 13 singles matches and has an impressive 11-3 record vs. ranked competition. Rola and doubles partner Chase Buchanan are 25-2 as a tandem, having won their last 10 matches. They form the top-ranked pair in the country and own a 10-1 record against ranked opponents. For the season, Rola has accumulated 32 doubles victories with four different partners, while Buchanan leads the team with 32 doubles wins.

Big Ten Awards
Ohio State has been part of a streak of success when it pertains to the Big Ten’s Athlete of the Week honor. The Buckeyes have won the award six times during the previous nine weeks and have won the award 10 of the 25 weeks the Big Ten has presented the honor, including both the fall and spring seasons.

Blaz Rola earned the distinction March 27 for the seventh time in his career and sixth time this season. During the Buckeyes’ stretch of three road matches in a span of seven days, Rola, then-ranked sixth in the nation in singles, recorded three wins at No. 1 singles and doubles combined and a victory at No. 2 singles for a 4-0 record.

At Georgia March 21, Rola defeated No. 8 Will Spencer 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles before teaming with senior Chase Buchanan to down No. 31 Ignacio Toboada and Hernus Pieters 8-3 on court one.  The No. 1- ranked Buckeye tandem followed that impressive performance with an 8-6 victory at Indiana vs. Jeremy Langer and Isade Juneau at No. 1 doubles March 25. After his doubles victory in Bloomington, Rola played No. 2 singles and beat Josh MacTaggart 6-1, 6-2.

Rola also was awarded the weekly honor Feb. 21 and 29.

Chase Buchanan was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week for the second-consecutive week March 13 after posting a 2-0 record vs. No. 17 Texas A&M March 9. It was the fifth time this season and 15th time in his career he earned the award.

Buchanan also nabbed the award March 6 and Feb. 13.

Ille Van Engelen earned the first weekly laurel of his career Jan. 24.

Dominant in Columbus
The Buckeyes have won a school-record 143 consecutive home matches, including a 15-0 start this season. The streak dates back to the 2002-03 season. So far this season, Ohio State is 8-0 vs. ITA Top 75 teams (No. 44 Cornell, No. 16 Mississippi State, No. 29 Indiana, No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 7 Kentucky, No. 17 North Carolina, No. 17 Texas A&M and No. 70 Nebraska). In the Big Ten, no other team in any sport has won as many consecutive contests at home than the Buckeyes.

Strong Schedule
Ohio State has endured a demanding schedule in the spring, both in non-conference and conference play. The Scarlet and Gray played 12 consecutive matches earlier this season against teams ranked in the initial ITA Top 75 poll that started with Mississippi State (No. 16) and Pepperdine (12). It continued at home Feb. 25 and 26 against No. 7 Kentucky and No. 17 North Carolina, respectively. The Buckeyes met four Top 14 ranked opponents at the ITA National Indoors Championship in Charlottesville, Va., including the Top 2 teams in the country in No. 1 USC and No. 2 Virginia. The Buckeyes also faced two ranked SEC schools in No. 27 LSU and No. 4 Georgia.

The Buckeyes will add to the list this weekend as the play host to the third highest ranked Big Ten team in No. 23 Illinois and also No. 46 Northwestern, who is 5-2 in the league.

In total, 20 of Ohio State’s 25 spring opponents finished ranked in the ITA Top 75 last season, including 13 in the Top 35. Georgia, Kentucky and Texas A&M all finished in the Top 10. All nine road opponents concluded the 2010-11 campaign with a spot in the ITA standings.

Up Next
Ohio State will hit the road for its last regular season match away from Columbus when it meets Purdue at 3 p.m. March 18 in West Lafayette.