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Ohio State men’s tennis rides NCAA Tournament triumphs to Sweet 16

Sarah Ignatz-hoover / Lantern photographer

The Ohio State men’s tennis team didn’t drop a single match in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16.
OSU, which hosted NCAA Tournament action for the seventh consecutive season, used the home-court advantage to their benefit and defeated East Tennessee State, 4-0, and Notre Dame, 4-0, in the first and second rounds.
OSU redshirt sophomore Peter Kobelt and junior Connor Smith won the first match of the afternoon with an 8-4 doubles match win against Notre Dame sophomore Billy Pecor and senior Sam Keeton. The Buckeye duo of Kobelt and Smith is 26-5 in the current campaign.
Senior Chase Buchanan and sophomore Blaz Rola, the nation’s top-ranked doubles duo, won their first match of the postseason and 30th of the season after in an 8-3 victory against senior Niall Fitzgerald and senior Casey Watt.
Rola also earned a team-high 32nd singles victory en route to winning the fourth point of the match and clutched the OSU win. Rola, ranked ninth nationally, beat the Fighting Irish’s sophomore Greg Andrews (No. 54) 7-5, 6-3.
Buchanan carried the doubles success to the singles competition as well.
The co-captain downed Watt, 6-3, 6-2, to push the Buckeye lead to 2-0. Buchanan, ranked 10th-nationally, is now 28-6 overall.
Sophomore Ille Van Engelen won for the 27th time this season and 16th time at the No. 4 position after beating Pecor, 6-4, 6-2.
On Day 1 of the tournament, OSU defeated East Tennessee State.
Junior Devin McCarthy and Van Engelen won the first match of the day, defeating senior Jeremy Bonnevalle and junior Juan Ramirez, 8-3. The duo, ranked 32nd nationwide, moved to 33-9 on the season.
After Kobelt and Smith earned a doubles point with an 8-4 win against freshman Rogerio Ribeiro and junior Jesus Bandres, OSU took a 1-0 lead and the Buckeye duo improved to 17-2 at the third position and 26-5 overall.
OSU’s No. 2 singles player Rola improved to 14-2 on the season Rola after his team high 31st singles win in a 6-3, 6-2 victory against ETSU senior Sander Gille.
The Buckeyes came within one point of winning after Kobelt’s 6-4, 6-2, win against Ramirez. He improved to 25-10 overall with a third-position mark at 16-7.
McCarthy won, 6-3, against Ribeiro to secure the shutout for OSU. McCarthy improved to 27-6 overall with a 17-3 mark at the fifth position for the Buckeyes.
OSU will continue NCAA Tournament play Thursday on University of Georgia’s campus in Athens, Ga.

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