May 14, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - For the second time this season, the Ohio State men's tennis team will face Florida, this time in the 2014 NCAA Division I Championships Round of 16. The No. 3 seed Buckeyes (32-3) and No. 14 seed Gators (17-9) will play at 7 p.m. ET Friday in the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
A complete breakdown of the tournament schedule, live stats and live video links, as well as ticket prices and directions to the facilities can be found at the official Tournament Central website.
EN ROUTE TO THE ROUND OF 16
The Buckeyes won their 190th and 191st-consecutive home matches in Columbus after winning their first and second round matches of the NCAA Championships May 9 and May 10 at the Varsity Tennis Center. In the first round, Ohio State shut out Bryant, 4-0 (recap), before defeating Wake Forest by the same score (recap). It is the ninth-consecutive season Ohio State has advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. The Scarlet and Gray improved to 1-0 vs. the Bulldogs and 5-2 vs. the Demon Deacons. The Buckeyes will play Florida for the second time in postseason play Friday.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
- Ohio State is 32-3 overall, including an 11-0 record in Big Ten play and a 19-0 ledger in Columbus.
- The Buckeyes won their ninth-consecutive Big Ten regular season crown, winning 93-consecutive league matches since the 2005 campaign.
- Ohio State won its eighth Big Ten Tournament title in nine years with a 4-2 win over Illinois in the tournament final April 27 in East Lansing, Mich., to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
- The Buckeyes have won a NCAA-record 191-consecuitve home matches. The Buckeyes' last loss in Columbus was a 5-2 setback vs. Illinois April 5, 2003.
- Ohio State is 10-3 vs. Top 25 opponents this year.
- The Buckeyes own a 381-48 (.888) record as a Top 25 team since 2001.
- Redshirt Hunter Callahan leads the team with 33 wins in singles followed by classmate Kevin Metka (31) and senior Peter Kobelt (28).
- In dual matches, Callahan is 29-3, while Metka is 27-4 followed by redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach with a 26-4 mark this year.
- Kobelt has the top dual record at No. 1 singles (21-5), claiming wins over 13 nationally-ranked opponents.
- In doubles, Kobelt and Metka are 27-6 overall with a 9-3 mark vs. nationally-ranked pairs.
- Ohio State ranks No. 3 in the latest ITA Team Rankings announced May 1. The team was ranked No. 1 in seven polls in 2014 (program record).
OHIO STATE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
In NCAA action, under 15th-year head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes have compiled a 38-14 (.720) record. Ohio State has advanced to the championship final once (2009), while reaching the quarterfinals nine times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and the semifinals three times (2009, 2011, 2013). All of Ohio State's NCAA appearances have come under Tucker (15-consecutive appearances).
LAST TIME VS. THE GATORS
Earlier this season, Florida was the first team to fall to the Buckeyes during their title run at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Ohio State defeated the Gators, 4-1, Feb. 14 in Houston, Texas. Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka were the first win in doubles, defeating Stephane Piro and Michael Alford, 6-4, on court No. 1. Hunter Callahan and Herkko Pollanen clinched the doubles point with a 6-3 win on court No. 1 over Gordon Watson and Maxx Lipman.
In singles play, the Buckeyes and Gators each took three first sets, but Kobelt was first to finish, downing Piro on court No. 1, 6-2, 6-2. Steinbach was next to finish, defeating Diep 6-3, 6-2 on court No. 4 to put the Buckeyes ahead, 3-0. At singles No. 6, Callahan sealed the Buckeye victory with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Alford for his second-consecutive clinch and third overall of the season. Pollanen fell just before the match point to Gordon Watson, 6-4, 6-5 (7-5), on No. 3.
Ohio State is 3-3 all-time vs. the Gators after defeating Florida, 4-1, two years ago in the NCAA Round of 16 in Athens.
A LOOK AT FLORIDA
Serving as one of 16 hosts of the first and second rounds of the NCAA championships, Florida served up a 4-0 win vs. St. Johns before shutting out USF, 4-0, on May 11 in Gainesville, Fla. Owning a 19-6 overall record, the Gators are led in singles wins by 2014 Southeast Senior of the Year Florent Diep who boasts a 27-15 record. Diep ranks No. 51 in the latest ITA poll followed by: No. 93 Spencer Newman, No. 98 Elliott Orkin and No. 108 Gordon Watson.
In doubles, Diep and Watson are No. 20, while Watson and Orkin are No. 22 in the country. Watson and Orkin lead the Gators with a 16-10 overall record in 2014.
Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka were selected to compete in the field of 64 singles players and 32 doubles tandems at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships the NCAA selection committee announced April 30. Kobelt was an at-large selection, while Kobelt and Meta were the Big Ten Conference's automatic doubles qualifier. The two Buckeyes will begin competition May 21, following the NCAA team championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga, on the campus of the University of Georgia.
KOBELT, KRONAUGE EARN ITA REGIONAL HONORS
Peter Kobelt was named ITA Midwest Senior Player of the Year, while associate head coach Justin Kronauge was named ITA Midwest Assistant Coach of the Year, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Tuesday.
The lone senior on the 2014 Buckeyes, No. 11 Kobelt is 28-9 overall in singles and 21-5 at No. 1 singles, collecting 13 wins against nationally-ranked opponents. In doubles, Kobelt is ranked in the Top 25 on two OSU duos, posting a 27-6 record with Kevin Metka for the No. 3 ranking in the country and an 11-1 mark with Ralf Steinbach for the No. 24 doubles team in the nation.
Kronauge collects his second regional assistant coach of the year honor in the last two years, winning the award for the first time in 2012. Kronauge, who holds the Ohio State program record for career singles victories (147) and combined career wins (280), has been a part of the Buckeye coaching staff for the past four years, being promoted to associate head coach this past offseason.
BIG TEN ACCOLADES AND TOURNAMENT RECAP
Peter Kobelt and Herkko Pollanen were named First Team All-Big Ten at the annual Big Ten tournament banquet April 24. Kevin Metka, Ralf Steinbach and Hunter Callahan earned second team laurels. Buckeye head coach Ty Tucker was recognized as Big Ten Coach of the Year for the ninth-consecutive year and 10th overall.
Additionally, Ohio State claimed its eighth tournament title in nine years after defeating No. 2 seed Illinois, 4-2. Against the Fighting Illini, the Buckeyes won the doubles point for the 24th time in 2014. Buckeyes won both matches on Nos. 2 and 1, respectively, by four games apiece. Pollanen and Metka defeated Jared Hiltzik and Alex Jesse, 8-4, while No. 57 Peter Kobelt and Ralf Steinbach upset fourth-ranked Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon, 8-4. Ohio State won four first sets in singles vs. the Illini. Metka put the Scarlet and Gray within one point of the title when he won his second-set tiebreaker to claim a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) match over Jesse on court No. 6. Callahan claimed match point for the Buckeyes, winning 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 against Ross Guignon on court No. 5. With the memorable win, he extends his singles win streak to 11-consectutive matches.
BUCKEYES IN ITA RANKINGS
Five Buckeyes are ranked in the ITA individual standings released May 1. Peter Kobelt paces the Buckeyes with a No. 11 ranking, while Ralf Steinbach and Herkko Pollanen are Nos. 101 and 109, respectively. In doubles, Kobelt and Kevin Metka are ranked at No. 3. The pair of Kobelt and Ralf Steinbach is No. 24.
HOME, STREAK, HOME
The Ohio State men's tennis program had a historic weekend March 28-30 when the squad broke the NCAA home winning streak record in Columbus. The Buckeyes won their 185th-consecutive home match with a 4-3 win over No. 28 Northwestern March 28, passing the Stanford women's program, who held the record for 12 years with 184-consecutive home wins.
In singles play, Kevin Metka, Ralf Steinbach and Peter Kobelt clinched straight-set victories to seal the record for the Buckeyes. On March 30, Ohio State battled No. 10 Illinois in a Top 10 clash to claim sole ownership of the Big Ten standings. Using new doubles pairings, Callahan and redshirt sophomore Chris Diaz and Metka and freshman Marko Goles Babic claimed the doubles points for the Buckeyes. In singles, Steinbach and Metka earned straight-set wins and Callahan provided the clinch in a three-set affair and extend the streak to 186-consecutive home wins. Freshman Herkko Pollanen ended the day with the biggest win of his young collegiate career, winning a three-set battle over No. 9 Jared Hiltzik.
The streak currently stands at 189-consecutive wins as the Buckeyes are a perfect 17-0 in 2014.
KOBELT RISES IN OSU RECORD BOOK
Senior Peter Kobelt currently is in the Top 10 in multiple OSU career wins lists. Kobelt, the 2014 National Indoor Most Outstanding Player, is first on the OSU all-time doubles wins list with 137 victories and recently passed former Buckeye and current associate head coach Justin Kronauge (2007-10) for the program record with an 8-6 win in the B1G semifinal victory over Northwestern April 26.
In singles, Kobelt has notched 120 career wins and passed former Buckeyes Devin Mullings (2003-07) and Matt Allare (2008-11) for seventh on the singles list. On the combined career wins list, Kobelt sits at 255 victories, which is currently second-most all time. He passed former Buckeye Bryan Koniecko (2006-10) for second with a doubles victory over the Illini in the conference tournament final.
Guided by director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes defeated four Top 25 teams, including two Top 5 programs en route to the national title to put Ohio State at its best start to a season in program history. The Buckeyes downed No. 12 Florida in the first round, 4-1, Feb. 14 with Hunter Callahan clinching and No. 13 Texas, 4-2, Feb. 15 in the quarterfinals. Redshirt junior Kevin Metka clinched the match to send the Buckeyes to a semifinal against No. 1 Virginia.
The semifinal proved to be a 4-3 classic with Metka pulling off the upset with a 6-5 (7-5), 5-6 (5-7), 6-5 (12-10) victory, saving two match points Feb. 16. No. 3 USC was next, with Ohio State earning the doubles points and claimed the title with a 4-1 win over the Trojans Feb. 17. Redshirt freshman Ralf Steinbach clinched the championship for Ohio State with a 6-5 (7-4), 6-4 win over Connor Farren on court No. 4.
KOBELT NAMED MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
Peter Kobelt was named was named Most Outstanding Player at the ITA Indoor Team Championships Feb. 21. Kobelt is the first Buckeye to receive the honor, which he achieved after winning seven of his eight matches in leading Ohio State to its first national indoor title. The senior went 3-1 at first singles during the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship. In doubles, paired with Kevin Metka, the duo went 4-0 over the weekend.
Joining Kobelt were three additional Buckeyes, including Ralf Steinbach, Kevin Metka and Hunter Callahan at singles No. 4-6, respectively. Kobelt and Metka were named to the doubles all-tournament team at No. 1.
In addition to Ohio State's official athletics web site, OhioStateBuckeyes.com, fans can follow all the action via Twitter. The men's tennis team's official handle @OhioState_MTEN provides the latest news and notes as they happen.