Ohio State avenges regular-season loss with sweep of Texas A&M
URBANA, Ill. -- No. 5-seed Ohio State advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA championships for the ninth time in program history following a 4-0 win versus No. 12-seed Texas A&M in the Round of 16 on Thursday at the Khan Tennis Complex. The Buckeyes will face four-time defending champion USC on Saturday. The fourth-seed Trojans handed No. 13-seed Baylor a 4-1 loss Thursday.
“A&M is very good,” head coach Ty Tucker said. “They do a great job developing their talent. With those two freshmen at No. 3 and No. 4, they’ve jumped up a level since we played them in February. Connor Smith was very, very good. He owned the doubles court at No. 1 doubles and came through.”
In the match versus the Aggies, Ohio State won the doubles point for the 34th time in 2013. The Buckeye duo of Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen dropped to 26-3 on the season after suffering an 8-5 setback against No. 29 Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant on court No. 2. However, Ohio State rallied to win the next two doubles matches and the team point. First, No. 12 Peter Kobelt and Smith posted an 8-4 victory against eighth-ranked Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow at the No. 1 position. Then the doubles point was decided on court No. 3 when Blaz Rola and Hunter Callahan defeated Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo 8-6.
Moving on to singles play, the Buckeyes won three consecutive matches to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals and avenge one of two losses they suffered during the regular season. (Ohio State dropped its first match of the season 4-3 on Feb. 10 at College Station.)
First off the courts for the Scarlet and Gray was Chris Diaz. He improved to 32-4 on the season with a 6-1, 7-5 win on court No. 6 against Withrow. Kobelt lifted Ohio State to a 3-0 advantage with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win versus Ore at second singles. Clinching the match for the Buckeyes for the ninth time this season, Smith improved to a team best 35-6 with a three-set victory against Adams 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
“As soon as we saw the draw, we saw we might have another chance at A&M,” Smith said. “We were all just hungry for that. All down the line, A&M fights hard. Steve Denton does a great job getting his players ready in singles and doubles. There were no easy matches, but that’s the NCAAs. You don’t get here because every match is easy.”