Chris Scullin / Lantern photographer
The No. 3 Ohio State men’s tennis team, six-time defending Big Ten Champions, served up two wins in a doubleheader against Iowa and Youngstown State.
With the victories, the Buckeyes have won 143 consecutive matches at home, including 84-consecutive wins in the Big Ten Conference.
The match against Iowa was highlighted by redshirt sophomore Nelson Vick, providing the winning match that guaranteed Ohio State’s 14th-consecutive win against the Hawkeyes.
Against Youngstown State, senior Steven Williams produced a shutout in his first match of the season against Youngstown’s junior Felipe Rosa. Williams won the match, 6-0.
The Buckeyes are playing the best tennis in the country, Williams said.
“That’s definitely the goal every match, is to be able to play our best in hopes it will pay dividends down the road, and that’s what we try to stress,” Williams said.
The team’s record moved to 23-2, 5-0 in the Big Ten, with its only losses coming to No. 1-ranked University of Southern California and No. 4 University of Georgia earlier in the season.
“We know what we need to do to get better to have a chance to beat one of those two teams come time for the NCAAs,” said coach Ty Tucker.
Both of those matches were split at 3-3 and could have gone either way, Tucker said. The Buckeyes lost each match, 4-3.
“You always learn more from the losses for sure,” Tucker said. “But the wins are what you play for.”
Along with the team milestones, there have been some personal achievements produced this season.
Sophomore BlaÅ¾ Rola, a native from Slovenia, won his sixth Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Week award. This is Rola’s seventh career Athlete of the Week award, with six coming this season. Rola’s teammate, senior Chase Buchanan, has won five.
Former player and current assistant coach, Justin Kronauge, admired Rola’s ability to transfer his game from the clay courts in Europe to the hard courts in the United States.
“He is very easy to coach,” Kronauge said. “He is probably one of the hardest workers on the team. He is a very well-rounded student-athlete.”
The Buckeyes have six matches remaining on the regular season schedule, including a highly anticipated matchup against the No. 18-ranked Illinois, ending their season with the University of Michigan on April 22.