Host Buckeyes Begin NCAA Tournament vs. Cleveland State

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May 8, 2013




COLUMBUS, Ohio– Earning the No. 5 seed, the Ohio State men’s tennis team (31-2) will host one of 16 first and second rounds sites of the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Team Championships starting Friday. In addition to the Buckeyes, Cleveland State, Notre Dame and Washington will look to advance from the Varsity Tennis Courts on The Ohio State University campus to the University of Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex and Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.

Play begins at 10 a.m. Friday as Notre Dame takes on Washington, followed by Ohio State vs. Cleveland State at 1 p.m. The winners of the opening-round matches will meet at noon Saturday. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for senior citizens, children and students with a valid student ID. Live stats will be available through the Tournament Central Page.

All matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at the Outdoor Varsity Tennis Courts, but in the case of inclement weather, matches will be moved indoors to the Ohio State University Varsity Tennis Center located at 880 W. Henderson Rd. For outdoor matches, fans are encouraged to exit at Ackerman Road, from state route 315, turn left onto Argyll Road and park in the lot just north of the Fawcett Center. ADA parking will be available at Woody Hayes Athletic Center. PARKING MAP

Buckeyes in NCAA D1 Singles and Doubles Championships
Peter Kobelt, Blaz Rola and Connor Smith were selected to compete in the field of 64 singles players and 32 doubles tandems at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships the NCAA committee announced May 1. Kobelt was the Big Ten Conference’s automatic singles qualifier, while Rola was an at-large selection. Kobelt and Smith will pair up in the doubles bracket as the league’s automatic qualifier. All three Buckeyes will begin competition May 22, following the NCAA team championship at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex and Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill., on the University of Illinois campus.

In a Nutshell
• Ohio State is 31-2 overall, including an 11-0 record in Big Ten Conference play and a 17-0 ledger in Columbus.
• Ohio State was the Big Ten regular-season and Big Ten Tournament champion in 2013.
• The Buckeyes are 345-44 (.887) since 2001 as a Top 25 team. Ohio State is 111-49 (.694) since 2000 vs. Top 25 programs.
• Ohio State has posted a 19-2 record vs. ranked competition in 2013.
• Following their win vs. Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament Championship match, the Scarlet and Gray won their 170th-consecutive match in Columbus. The Buckeyes’ last loss in Columbus was a 5-2 setback vs. Illinois April 5, 2003.
• Ohio State has shut out 21 of its opponents in 2013.
• Against Michigan April 28, the Buckeyes earned their 31st doubles victory.
• Senior Connor Smith leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 33. Redshirt junior Peter Kobelt and freshman Chris Diaz are tied for second on the team with 31. The trio’s overall records are 33-6, 31-7 and 31-4, respectively.
• In doubles action, the duo of Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen are a team-best 25-2 overall. The tandem has posted an 18-2 record at No. 2 doubles and a 6-0 mark at the top position. Blaz Rola and Kevin Metka remain perfect on the season with a 20-0 overall ledger. All 20 wins by Rola and Metka have come at No. 3 doubles.
• Metka, a redshirt sophomore, has posted an Ohio State best 30-2 overall record in doubles, which includes a 27-1 ledger in dual play. Metka is 25-0 at No. 3 doubles.

B1G Accolades and Tournament Recap
Peter Kobelt, Devin McCarthy, Blaz Rola and Connor Smith were named First Team All-Big Ten at the annual Big Ten tournament banquet April 25. Chris Diaz earned second-team laurels. Buckeye head coach Ty Tucker was recognized as Big Ten Coach of the Year for the eighth consecutive year and ninth time overall.

Additionally, Ohio State, serving as hosts, recaptured the title of Big Ten Tournament champions, its seventh in eight years, with three consecutive shutouts. After a first round bye, the Buckeyes opened up tournament play with a 4-0 victory over Purdue April 26. Clinching the match for the Scarlet and Gray, junior Blaz Rola improved to 22-1 overall with a win against Mark Kovacs 6-1, 6-3 on court No. 2.

With the win, the Buckeyes earned the right to face the fourth seeded Fighting Illini, in a rematch of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament Championship match. Ohio State won 4-0 with redshirt freshman Chris Diaz securing the match-winning point. Playing at sixth singles, Diaz beat Alex Jesse 7-5, 6-1.

In the Big Ten Tournament championship match, the Scarlet and Gray secured another 4-0 shutout, this time defeating third seeded Michigan. Against the Wolverines, the Buckeyes won the doubles point for the 31st time in 2013. Kobelt and Smith followed by Rola and Kevin Metka earned wins on court Nos. 1 and 3, respectively. In singles, Ohio State picked up victories in quick succession on courts five, six and three. Smith beat Franks 6-3, 6-3 on court three and was instantly swarmed by teammates to join in celebration of the title of 2013 Big Ten Tournament Champions.

Winning on All Courts
The Buckeyes are earning impressive victories in singles on all six courts. Six members of the team have won 20-plus matches this season, including at least one 10 match winner on each court. Additionally five of the six are ranked in the ITA singles poll. No. 12 Blaz Rola, 23-1 overall, has a 15-1 record on court No. 1. Playing at second singles, No. 8 Peter Kobelt is 10-3 and 31-7 overall. At 15-2, the third singles spot has been owned by 73rd-ranked Devin McCarthy (24-2 overall). No. 71 Connor Smith has a team high 33 wins, including a 12-2 record at fourth singles. Holding their own at court Nos. 5 and 6, is a pair of freshmen. Redshirting in 2012, 104th-ranked Chris Diaz is 16-1 playing at fifth singles in 2013 and 31-4 overall, while Constantin Christ, in his first season as a Buckeye, is a perfect 15-0 in the sixth position (20-3 overall).

Ohio State has been equally as impressive in doubles play. The Scarlet and Gray have three ranked doubles teams, each of which has 20 or more wins overall. Additionally each tandem has at least 18 wins on court Nos. 1, 2 or 3. With an 18-2 record at first doubles Kobelt and Smith have posted a 22-3 overall record, and are ranked 12th. No. 90 McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen comprise the second position doubles team with an 18-2 record on court No. 2 and 25-2 ledger overall. The 50th-ranked doubles team in the country, Rola and Kevin Metka are a perfect 20-0 on the season. All of the duo’s victories have come on court No. 3.

Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament
In NCAA action, under 14th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have compiled a 32-13 (.711) record. Ohio State has advanced to the championship final once (2009), while reaching the quarterfinals eight times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and the semifinals twice (2009, 2011). All of Ohio State’s NCAA appearances have come under head coach Ty Tucker (14 consecutive appearances).

Previous Matchups
The Scarlet and Gray dealt Cleveland State a 4-0 loss at the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus earlier this season. The Buckeyes also faced the Fighting Irish in 2013, defeating them, 7-0, on the scarlet and gray courts. In NCAA team tournament action, Ohio State is 1-0 vs. Cleveland State and 2-0 vs. Notre Dame. The Buckeyes and Huskies have never met in the postseason.

Vikings Synopsis
The 2013 Horizon League Tournament Champions, Cleveland State earned its fifth trip to the NCAA tournament in the past six seasons. The Vikings enter NCAA play with a 12-11 record and have won six consecutive matches heading into the first round.

Notre Dame Notes
For the fifth time in six years, Notre Dame will begin its NCAA championship in Columbus. Winning the 2013 Big East Tournament, the Fighting Irish are 19-7 entering their 22nd NCAA championship under ITA Hall of Fame head coach and 2013 Big East Coach of the Year Bobby Bayliss, who is retiring at the end of the season. Greg Andrews paces the Fighting Irish with a ranking of No. 80 in the ITA singles poll.

Reviewing the Huskies
Washington, which is 17-11 overall, will appear in its 19th-consecutive NCAA tournament, all under head coach Matt Anger. Playing at first singles, No. 17 Kyle McMorrow leads the Huskies with 23 singles victories including a 21-3 mark in dual play.

Stay Connected
In addition to Ohio State's official athletics web site,, fans can follow all Buckeye men’s tennis action via Twitter. The men's tennis team's official handle @OhioState_MTEN provides the latest news and notes as they happen, including any changes in location of play.