COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In front of a packed house at the Varsity Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon, the Buckeyes were the first team in the field of 64 to punch its ticket to Athens, Georgia, next week.
Ohio State defeated Wake Forest 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Team Championships and will play the winner between Florida (16-9) and South Florida (19-6) at 7 p.m. ET May 16 in the Round of 16 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Under director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes (32-3) have now advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 nine consecutive years and 11 times overall.
“The guys were pumped up [Saturday] and I thought the coaching staff did a great job to prepare for our match versus Wake Forest,” Tucker said. “Chris Diaz did a great job of crashing the net [Saturday] and Ralf Steinbach followed his game plan well. It was nice to be at home and play in front of a good crowd. We’re hoping we are a team that will make an impact in Athens this year and we will be ready to go next Friday.”
Senior Peter Kobelt, a native of New Albany, Ohio, played in his final match in front of his hometown crowd and finished his five years at home with an astonishing 100-0 record since joining the squad during the 2010 campaign. With the victory of the Demon Deacons, the team’s NCAA-record home win streak extends to 191 consecutive matches. The Buckeyes went 19-0 on its home courts in 2014.
“It’s such a sigh of relief to leave Ohio State with the record still going,” Kobelt said. “We didn’t know what to expect coming into this year and we couldn’t have done it without the great coaching of Ty, Justin and coach Schilling and the confidence they give us in each practice and on match days.”
Play was moved indoors for the second consecutive day due to rain in the Columbus area. The Buckeyes won the doubles point for the 26th time this year. No. 24 Kobelt and Ralf Steinbach were the first to finish with an 8-5 victory against No. 50 Pedro Dumont and Jon Ho on court No. 1. The Buckeye duo has won eight consecutive matches heading into the Round of 16. Hunter Callahan and Chris Diaz clinched the opening point following an 8-4 win versus Anthony Declore and Adam Lee on court No. 3. Callahan and Diaz improve to 11-4 overall in 2014.
In singles, the Buckeyes won first sets on all six courts against Wake Forest. Once again, Metka cruised in his singles match on court No. 6, winning 6-1, 6-3 against Dumont, while Callahan won in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 versus Aws Laaribi on court No. 5 to put the Buckeyes within one point of the win.
For the second consecutive day, Steinbach clinched match point for the Buckeyes with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Maksim Kan on court No. 4 to improve to 26-4 overall this year.