COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 5 seed Ohio State improved to 34-3 on the season after beating No. 12 Florida 4-1 Friday in an NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship Round of 16 match in Athens, Ga.
After dropping the first set 7-5, junior Connor Smith relinquished just one game in the final two sets to rally for the 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 victory and lift the Scarlet and Gray to their 32nd NCAA championship win under head coach Ty Tucker. Smith, who played at No. 6 singles, improves to 29-7 overall, including a 17-5 mark at the sixth position.
For the 34th time this season, Ohio State won the doubles point to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Redshirt sophomore Peter Kobelt and Smith recorded their 28th win of the season courtesy of an 8-3 triumph vs. Mike Alford and Florent Diep at No. 3 doubles. The No. 1 duo in the nation, senior Chase Buchanan and sophomore Blaz Rola, defeated the Gators’ Tripper Carleton and Nassim Slilam 8-1 at the top spot to record their 31st win of the season and effectively score the first team point for Ohio State.
Moving on to singles action, Rola was the first Buckeye to conclude his match after handing Carleton a 6-4, 6-1 loss at the No. 2 position. With the win, Rola now has a team-leading 33 wins in 2011-12. For the season, Rola is 16-2 at No. 2.
The Gators cut the Ohio State lead in half (2-1) when Diep beat redshirt junior Devin McCarthy 6-4, 6-2 at No. 5 singles. However, the Buckeyes extended their lead to two once again (3-1) after Buchanan’s 6-3, 6-3 win vs. Bob van Overbeek at No. 1 singles. The win served as Buchanan’s 14th (14-2) at No. 1.