May 15, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - For the second time this season, the Ohio State men's tennis team will face Texas A&M, this time in the 2013 NCAA Division I Championships Round of 16. The No. 5 seed Buckeyes (33-2) and No. 12 seed Aggies (19-12) will play at 5 p.m. ET Thursday at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.
A complete breakdown of the tournament schedule and 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 Round of 16
The Buckeyes won their 171st and 172nd-consecutive matches in Columbus after winning their first and second round matches of the NCAA championships May 10 and May 11 at the Varsity Tennis Center and Varsity Tennis Courts. In the first round, Ohio State shut out Cleveland State, 4-0, (recap) before defeating Washington by the same score (recap). It is the eighth-consecutive season Ohio State has advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. The Scarlet and Gray improved to 2-0 vs. the Vikings in postseason play and 1-0 vs. the Huskies. Ohio State will play the Aggies for the first time in postseason play Thursday.
Earlier this season, Ohio State lost a close 4-3 contest at Texas A&M. In their first outdoor match of the season Feb. 10, the Scarlet and Gray dropped the doubles point before junior Blaz Rola tied the score at 1 a piece on a straight-set 6-4, 6-2 victory vs. Junior Ore at No. 1 singles. The Aggies jumped out to a 3-1 lead behind back-to-back wins by Shane Vinsant and Jackson Withrow at No. 4 and No. 5 singles, respectively. Vinsant handed Chris Diaz a 6-1, 6-4 loss, while Withrow beat Connor Smith, 6-3, 6-4. However, a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory by Hunter Callahan over Jordan Szabo at six singles pulled Ohio State to within one (3-2) and with Peter Kobelt's 6-4, 7-6 (1) win at No. 2 singles vs. Jeremy Efferding, the Buckeyes evened the match at 3-all. In a three-set thriller on court No. 3, Devin McCarthy pulled out a 6-3 win in the first set before dropping consecutive sets, 6-4, 7-5, to Harry Adams.
A Look at Texas A&M
Serving as one of 16 hosts of the first and second rounds of the NCAA championships, Texas A&M served up a 4-0 win vs. Marist in the opening round before holding on for a 4-3 victory vs. Texas. Owning a 19-12 overall record, the Aggies are led in singles wins by No. 76 Shane Vinsant who boasts a 26-12 record. Jeremy Efferding is polled in the Top 20 at No. 18 and currently owns a 22-11 overall mark.
In doubles, the Aggie pair of Harrison Adams and Vinsant paces the squad with a 27-13 ledger. The duo is ranked 29th in the ITA polls, while Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow are No. 8 in the country with a 15-8 record.
In a Nutshell
• Ohio State is 33-2 overall. The Buckeyes finished the Big Ten season 11-0 and 22-0 in Columbus. Five of Ohio State's wins in Columbus included three consecutive victories in the Big Ten Tournament and first and second rounds of the NCAA championships.
• Ohio State was the 2013 Big Ten regular-season and Big Ten Tournament champion.
• The Buckeyes are 347-44 (.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 10-2 record vs. ranked competition in 2013.
• With back-to-back 4-0 shutout victories vs. Cleveland State and Washington in the first and second rounds of the NCAA championships, respectively, Ohio State posted its 171st and 172nd-consecutive wins in Columbus. The Buckeyes' last loss in Columbus was a 5-2 setback vs. Illinois April 5, 2003.
• Ohio State has shut out 23 of its opponents in 2013.
• Against Washington May 11, the Buckeyes earned their 33rd doubles victory.
• Senior Connor Smith leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 34.
• In doubles action, the duo of Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen are a team-best 26-2 overall. The tandem has posted a 19-2 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 21-0 overall ledger. All 21 wins by Rola and Metka have come at No. 3 doubles.
• Smith has a team-best 31 doubles victories (31-5), including a 27-3 dual mark.
Including its 2013 NCAA First and Second-round wins, Ohio State is 34-13 (.723) in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes' appearance among the field of 64 is their 14th in program history. 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.
Climbing the Charts
A trio of Buckeyes in Blaz Rola, Peter Kobelt and Devin McCarthy is climbing the Ohio State combined career wins list. Rola, who is just a junior, has a career total of 206 wins, which is good for eighth place. Kobelt, a redshirt junior owns 184 total victories, which places him in 10th place. With 181 combined wins, McCarthy sits just outside the Top 10 at 13th place.
Ohio State boasts 13 All-Americans, including recent recipients Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola. Rola was a singles All-American in 2011 and earned All-America honors in both singles and doubles in 2012 as a NCAA Doubles Champion a season ago with Buchanan. Head coach Ty Tucker and assistant coach Justin Kronauge earned All-America honors as student-athletes at Ohio State. Tucker, a Buckeye letterwinner from 1989-91, was a singles All-American in 1990 and 1991. Lettering for Ohio State from 2007-10, Kronauge was a 2008 All-American in singles and doubles.
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.
Big Ten Honors
Chris Diaz and Connor Smith became the 35th and 36th Buckeyes to earn All-Big Ten honors during the Big Ten Tournament annual banquet April 25. Diaz was a second-team honoree, while Smith was a first-team recipient. Smith joined Devin McCarthy, Peter Kobelt and Blaz Rola as First Team All-Big Ten award winners.
Head coach Ty Tucker was recognized as the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the eighth-consecutive year and ninth time overall.
Big Ten Dominance
Ohio State, serving as hosts of the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, 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 final. 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. Peter Kobelt and Connor 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.
In the Rankings
In the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings released May 2, Ohio State is polled fifth. Individually, Peter Kobelt and Blaz Rola are ranked in the singles Top 20. Kobelt holds down the No. 8 position and Rola is 12th. In doubles, Kobelt and Connor Smith are No. 12.
Hitting the Books
In The Ohio State University's first year on a semester schedule, seven Buckeyes were named Ohio State Scholar-Athletes. Hunter Callahan, Constantin Christ, Chris Diaz, Peter Kobelt, Devin McCarthy, Kevin Metka and Blaz Rola were recognized among the total 511 honorees April 1 at the 46th annual banquet in the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom at the Ohio Union on campus. McCarthy, a senior history major, was a finalist for the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor and was the recipient of The Woody and Anne Hayes Scholarship Fund. (Full list of honorees).