URBANA, Ill. – The No. 5 seed Ohio State men’s tennis team (35-2) will face No. 1 seed UCLA (28-1) in the NCAA Championships semifinals at 2 p.m. ET Monday at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.
The match Monday will serve as the third meeting between the Buckeyes and Bruins in the NCAA championships. The postseason series is split, 1-1. Last season, UCLA bettered Ohio State, 4-2, in the quarterfinals, while in 2009, the Scarlet and Gray handed the Bruins a 4-3 loss in the semifinals.
Live stats and video of both semifinal matches (No. 2 Virginia and No. 3 Georgia) will be available at the official NCAA Tournament Central page.
En Route to the Semifinals
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). In the round of 16, the Scarlet and Gray posted their third-consecutive shutout, a 4-0 win vs. No. 12 Texas A&M Thursday (recap), before winning, 4-3, in dramatic fashion vs. No. 4 USC in the quarterfinals Saturday evening (recap).
Buckeyes in the 2013 NCAA Team Championships
May 10, 2013 vs. Cleveland State Columbus, Ohio W, 4-0
May 11, 2013 vs. Washington Columbus, Ohio W, 4-0
May 16, 2013 vs. No. 12 Texas A&M Urbana, Ill. W, 4-0
May 18, 2013 vs. No. 4 USC Urbana, Ill. W, 4-3
UCLA enters the match vs. Ohio Stats as the No. 1 seed following a regular season in which it suffered only one loss, a 4-3 defeat at the hands of No. 4 USC in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in Seattle, Wash., Feb. 17. The Bruins own an overall record of 28-1 and were the 2013 Pac-12 regular season and tournament champions.
En Route to their match vs. the Buckeyes, the Bruins, who are on a 19-match win streak, hosted UMKC and Drake in the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Championships, defeating both squads 4-0. In the round of 16, UCLA faced No. 16 Vanderbilt and won 4-0. UCLA continued its shutout streak vs. No. 9 Duke, beating the Blue Devils, 4-0.
Although the Buckeyes are 0-10 vs. the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, Ohio State has a one match advantage in the all-time series against UCLA (3-2).
Last Time Out
Behind a pair of tiebreaker wins by redshirt junior Peter Kobelt, fifth-seeded Ohio State knocked off four-time defending champion and No. 4 seed USC, 4-3, in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA championships Saturday night at the Khan Tennis Complex in Urbana, Ill. A native of New Albany, Ohio, who is No. 8 in the latest ITA polls, Kobelt’s 7-6(3), 7-6(3) win over No. 16 Ray Sarmiento at No. 2 singles sealed the Buckeye victory and helped them advance to the semifinals for the third time in program history (2009 and 2011).
Against the Trojans, the Buckeyes won the doubles point for the 35th time this season. The No. 2 duo ofDevin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen won a dramatic 9-7 tiebreaker over No. 47 Roberto Quiroz and Emilio Gomez to clinch the match, 9-8, and the team point. After Ohio State and USC split matches at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles, respectively, all attention turned to the second position. McCarthy and Van Engelen broke Quiroz and Gomez’s serve in the 15th game to take an 8-7 lead and a chance to serve for the match. However, the Trojan tandem returned the favor and broke back to send the match into a tiebreaker. In a back-and-forth affair, the Buckeye pair held an 8-7 lead before watching the USC return sail long. Kobelt and Connor Smith, ranked 12th in the ITA polls, gave the Scarlet and Gray the early advantage when they beat Yannick Hanfmann and Sarmiento, 8-3. At No. 3 doubles, Blaz Rola and Hunter Callahan forced a tiebreaker after rallying from down a break in the ninth game to Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson. However, the Buckeye duo dropped a 7-3.
In singles action, behind a 6-3, 6-3 win by USC’s Johnson over Chris Diaz on court No. 5, the Trojans were able to tie the score at one each. The tie was short-lived however when Rola, ranked 12th, relinquished only one game to No. 7 Gomez in a 6-1, 6-0 victory at the top position. In the closely contested match, the Trojans knotted the score at two apiece on a 6-3, 6-1 win by de Vroome over Constantin Christ at six singles. After winning a first-set tie breaker, 7-1, McCarthy dominated the second set, giving up just one game in a 6-1 victory at No. 4 singles over Quiroz to lift the Scarlet and Gray to a 3-2 lead. Dropping the first set, 7-5, Smith nearly rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the second set vs. Hanfmann at three singles as he put the match on serve en route to a tie breaker he would eventually drop, 7-4. In the final match at No. 2 singles, Kobelt survived a pair of tiebreakers to pull out the Buckeye victory.
Including its wins en route to the 2013 NCAA Team Championship Semifinals, Ohio State is 36-13 (.735) all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes’ appearance among the field of 64 in 2013 is their 14th in program history. 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 head coach Ty Tucker.
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.
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 208 wins, which is good for a tie for seventh place (Ross Wilson 2003-06). Kobelt, a redshirt junior owns 188 total victories, which places him in 11th place. With 183 combined wins, McCarthy sits in 12th place.
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.
In a Nutshell
• Ohio State is 35-2 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 349-44 (.888) since 2001 as a Top 25 team. Ohio State is 113-49 (.698) since 2000 vs. Top 25 programs.
• Ohio State has posted a 12-2 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 24 of its opponents in 2013.
• Against USC May 18, the Buckeyes earned their 35th doubles victory.
• Senior Connor Smith leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 35 (35-7).
• In doubles action, the duo of Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen are a team-best 27-3 overall. The tandem has posted a 20-3 record at No. 2 doubles and a 6-0 mark at the top position.
• Smith has a team-best 33 doubles victories (33-5), including a 29-3 dual mark.
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