Ille Van Engelen
April 19, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The third-ranked Ohio State men's tennis team (28-2, 10-0 Big Ten) will face No. 21 Michigan at 12 p.m. Sunday at the outdoor Varsity Tennis Courts in its final regular-season match.
The Buckeyes will look to extend their Big Ten win streak to 90 consecutive matches (regular season and Big Ten tournament) against the Wolverines. The last time Ohio State lost a conference match was in the 2004-05 Big Ten tournament final vs. Illinois.
Big Ten Dominance
With its 7-0 win vs. Purdue Wednesday, the Buckeyes clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship for their seventh-consecutive title. A win vs. Michigan would give Ohio State the outright title or a loss by Michigan Friday at Penn State. The seven consecutive titles are the most by any team in Ohio State history. Football (2005-10), women's basketball (2005-10) and men's golf (1982-87) are the other Ohio State sports that had previously won six consecutive titles.
The 2012 Ohio State men's tennis senior class, represented by co-captains Buchanan and Williams, will conclude its time in Columbus as one of the most successful in program history. After their win vs. Purdue, they have now accumulated 133 team wins, which currently is the third most victories by a senior class, to just nine losses during their four years donning the Scarlet and Gray,. The pair has never lost a home match, going an impressive 74-0 record in Columbus, the most of any class in Buckeye history.
- Ohio State has won 145 consecutive home matches in Columbus (18-0 in 2012).
- Since 2001, Ohio State is 273-38 when ranked in the ITA Top 25. That percentage improves to 226-15 from the 2005-06 season onward.
- Ohio State has won 89 consecutive Big Ten matches (regular season and Big Ten tournament) and 141 of its previous 146.
- As the No. 3 team nationally, Ohio State is 77-3.
- Ohio State has won 70 of its last 72 regular-season (non-tournament) road contests dating back to 2006.
- The Buckeyes have won 27 out of 29 doubles points this season.
- The Buckeyes have been victorious in 45 of their previous 48 matches.
- The Buckeyes have been ranked in the ITA Top 10 for 192 consecutive matches (beginning March 7, 2006).
- The Scarlet and Gray are 10-2 vs. teams ranked in the ITA Top 25 and 20-2 vs. teams in the Top 75.
- Blaz Rola leads the team with 29 singles wins, while Chase Buchanan leads with 35 doubles wins.
In the Hall
Head coach Ty Tucker will officially be inducted into the Zanesville City Schools Hall of Fame May 12 at Zanesville High School. A 1988 graduate of ZHS, Tucker was a high school All-American, nine-time National Junior Champion and remains the only freshman at ZHS to win an Ohio High School State Championship title.
Head coach Ty Tucker has been nothing short of successful during his tenure at Ohio State. Tucker, who replaced John Daly as coach prior to the 1999-2000 season, has an overall record of 354-56 (.863) as the Buckeye mentor, including a 151-17 mark vs. Big Ten competition. He has posted 12 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins and is on pace to reach his sixth-consecutive campaign with 30 or more victories.
Besides his first season as coach in which the Buckeyes finished fourth in the Big Ten, Tucker's teams have never finished below second in the final conference standings. Under his tutelage, Ohio State has won the Big Ten regular season seven consecutive seasons and the conference tournament championship six consecutive seasons, earning him Big Ten Coach of the Year honors each of those six years. Tucker was named National Coach of the Year in 1999.
Last Time Out - vs. Purdue
The Buckeyes moved to 10-0 in conference play with a 7-0 shutout of Purdue April 18. The win improved Ohio State's road Big Ten win streak to 36 and its conference victory streak to 89. For the complete recap click HERE.
Michigan is ranked 21st and currently boasts an 8-1 record in Big Ten play, matching its most conference wins since 1999. Entering the weekend, the Wolverines have won six consecutive matches and 11 of their last 12. They are 6-2 on the road. Michigan is led by All-American Evan King who is ranked No. 8 nationally. King and sophomore Shaun Bernstein are the Wolverines, top doubles pair at No. 22.
Ohio State vs. Michigan
Ohio State is 29-73-2 overall vs. Michigan. However, the Buckeyes have claimed the last 11 meetings, winning the previous match 6-1 last year in Columbus.
In the Rankings
After returning to No. 2 April 10, Ohio State dropped one spot to No. 3 in the April 17 edition of the ITA team rankings. They almost have an identical average with No. 2 Virginia. The Cavaliers own a 75.53 average, while the Buckeyes have 75.42 average. The Buckeyes began the season as the No. 3 team, before becoming No. 2 Feb. 25. They are 77-3 all-time as the third-ranked team nationally. They have faced six of the Top 10 teams in the country including those ranked No. 1, No. 2 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 17. 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 29 singles wins, is the highest ranked Buckeye, moving up one spot to No. 6. Chase Buchanan, a 2011 All-American and two-time defending Big Ten Athlete of the Year, is No. 12 in the poll.
Buchanan and Rola continue to hold firm as the No. 1 doubles tandem in the nation, while Buchanan and Kobelt dropped to No. 44 in doubles, having rarely competed together in the spring. McCarthy and Van Engelen are now in the 34th position. Rola and Smith moved up 19 spots the double rankings and currently are No. 64 in the country.
Blaz Rola currently leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 29 between courts one and two. The sophomore, who is currently ranked seventh nationally, is 9-1 at No. 1 singles and 12-1 at No. 2. Rola has won 15 of his previous 16 singles matches and has an impressive 12-3 record vs. ranked competition. Rola, when teamed with partner Chase Buchanan, are 27-3 as a tandem, having won 12 of their last 13 matches. They form the top-ranked pair in the country and own an 11-1 record against ranked opponents. For the season, Rola has accumulated 34 doubles victories with four different partners, while Buchanan leads the team with 35 doubles wins.
Big Ten Awards
For the 13th time this season, an Ohio State student-athlete was awarded Big Ten Athlete of the Week. Chase Buchanan earned his sixth weekly award of the season and 16th of his career Tuesday as he helped the Buckeyes beat No. 23 Illinois, 7-0, and No. 46 Northwestern, 5-2 April 13 and 15, respectively. For complete weekend recaps, click HERE.
Up next, Ohio State will attempt to win its seventh-consecutive Big Ten tournament championship when it travels to Evanston, Ill., April 26-29. Northwestern is serving as hosts.
PREVIEW: Ohio State at NCAA Championship
Buckeyes Haul in the ITA Regional Awards