Blaz Rola has earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors nine times in his three years at Ohio State.
April 11, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The fifth-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team will compete in two of its final four regular season matches Friday and Sunday. The Buckeyes face two Big Ten opponents in No. 29 Illinois at 4 p.m. Friday and No. 34 Northwestern at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Buckeyes hit the road again after three shutout victories in Columbus. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 7-0 April 5, No. 37 Minnesota fell to the Buckeyes by a score of 7-0 April 7 and Wright State lost by a 4-0 margin April 7.
In a Nutshell
• Ohio State is 24-2 overall and 7-0 in Big Ten Conference play. The Buckeyes are 16-0 in Columbus.
• The Buckeyes improved to 338-44 (.885) since 2001 as a Top 25 team. Ohio State is 110-49 (.692) since 2000 vs. Top 25 programs.
• Following their win vs. Wright State, the Scarlet and Gray extended their home win streak to 166 matches. The Buckeyes’ last loss at home was a 5-2 setback vs. Illinois April 5, 2003.
• Ohio State has shut out 17 of their opponents in 2013.
• Against Wright State April 7, the Buckeyes earned their 25th doubles victory.
• With the Big Ten regular season in full swing, Ohio State is in first place with a 7-0 conference record and overall mark of 24-2.
• Redshirt junior Peter Kobelt leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 29. With a 29-6 overall record that includes a 15-3 mark in dual play, Kobelt is 6-1 and 9-2 at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively.
• Junior Blaz Rola is 19-0 overall with a 14-0 record at No. 1 singles and 5-0 mark at the No. 2 position.
• The Buckeyes are earning impressive victories at No. 5 and No. 6 singles from Chris Diaz and Constantin Christ. Diaz, a redshirt freshman, is 12-1 at No. 5 singles. True freshman Christ is 13-0 on court No. 6.
• In doubles action, the duo of Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen are a team-best 21-1 overall. The tandem has posted a 15-1 record at No. 2 doubles and a 5-0 mark at the top position. Blaz Rola and Kevin Metka remain perfect on the season with a 15-0 overall ledger. All 15 wins by Rola and Metka have come at No. 3 doubles.
• Redshirt sophomore Kevin Metka has posted an Ohio State best 24-2 overall record in doubles, which includes a 21-1 ledger in dual play. Metka is 19-0 at No. 3 doubles.
Focusing on Fighting Illini
The Fighting Illini are currently ranked No. 29 in the ITA standings and tied for third in the Big Ten with a record of 5-2 in league play and a 12-8 ledger overall. Illinois is paced by the play of Jared Hiltzik, who is ranked 36th in the ITA singles poll. Hiltzik, a freshman, leads the Illini in singles victories with a record of 22-9. In doubles play the Illini rely on Tim Kopinski and partner Ross Guignon, who are ranked 19th. Kopinski is also ranked No. 76 when paired with Farris Gosea.
The Fighting Illini are the last Big Ten opponent to defeat the Buckeyes. Ohio State fell 4-3 to Illinois in the championship match of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. The loss ended a Buckeye streak of consecutive conference tournament championships that started in 2006. Illinois leads the all-time series by a margin of 40-51-1.
Northwestern is 3-4 in Big Ten play and is ranked 34th in the ITA poll, with a 17-7 overall record. The No. 68 ranked doubles team of Spencer Wolf and Alex Pasreanu (1-0) rocketed into the ITA rankings with a victory over the then 12th-ranked Michigan duo of Evan King and Shaun Bernstein 8-6.
The all-time record between the two universities gives an edge to Northwestern at 47-39. However, since Ty Tucker was named head coach of Ohio State in 1999, the Buckeyes have managed a dominating 16-1 record vs. the Wildcats.
Five Buckeyes are ranked in the Top 100 of the ITA individual standings released April 9. Leading the way for Ohio State is No. 6 Peter Kobelt, closely followed by Blaz Rola at ninth. It is the first time this season Rola has cracked the Top 10. Chris Diaz is ranked 61st, while Connor Smith is polled 63rd. Devin McCarthy rounds out the ranked group at the No. 84 spot.
In doubles, the three Ohio State teams are ranked in the Top 40. Kobelt and Smith fell three spots to No. 16. The pair of McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen is No. 33, while Rola and Kevin Metka are right behind them, ranked 34th.
B1G Athlete of the Week
For the fourth time this season, a member of the Ohio State men’s tennis team earned Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors. Blaz Rola, a junior from Ptuj, Slovenia, collected his second conference accolade of the season and ninth of his career.
On the season, Rola boasts an impressive 40-0 combined record for singles and doubles play. The junior is 19-0 in singles, including a 14-0 mark at the No. 1 position. Rola has been equally impressive in doubles play as well; with a 21-0 overall record including 15-0 on court No. 3.
Buckeyes Host B1G Tournament
Ohio State will host the 2013 Big Ten Tournament April 25-28 at the Varsity Tennis Courts. The Buckeyes have won the conference tournament eight times – 1991, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The Scarlet and Gray return to Columbus for their final home match of the regular season and Senior Day when they take on Michigan State at 3 p.m. April 19.