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Men’s tennis: Ohio State wins at least share of Big Ten title with win over Wisconsin

Ohio State senior Herkko Pollanen defeated Wisconsin’s Daniel Soyfer on April 16 at the Varsity Tennis Center. Credit: Walt Middleton | Courtesy of OSU Athletics

The Ohio State men’s tennis team kept the momentum going with a 6-1 victory against Wisconsin at the Varsity Tennis Center on Easter Sunday, marking the team’s ninth consecutive win.

With a 9-0 record in the conference, the Buckeyes are guaranteed at least a share of the Big Ten Championship title, a record they have held for 12 straight years. OSU holds a 24-3 overall record for the season, while Wisconsin falls to 14-5 for the season and 5-3 in the conference.

“It’s a pretty unbelievable feeling,” senior Herkko Pollanen said. “It’s Senior Day and we got a good win out there. It’s pretty emotional. It’s been a long four years and to end it like this and get the championship, obviously it feels great.”

The Buckeyes had no trouble gaining the first point during the doubles matches. Sophomore Martin Joyce and junior Hugo Di Feo swept Lamar Remy and Daniel Soyfer from Wisconsin with the first win by a 6-0 total. Joyce and Di Feo hold a successful 13-1 record for the season on Court Two.

Sophomore Hunter Tubert and freshman JJ Wolf snagged the second win and doubles point for OSU to defeat John Zordani and Osgar O’Hoisin in a 6-2 tally. Junior Mikael Torpegaard and Pollanen held a 5-3 score over Chema Carranza and Josef Dodridge when the point was called.

The Buckeyes moved on to the singles matches where Torpegaard took the first win on the first court over Remy with a 6-3, 6-0 score. In the first set, Torpegaard got two breaks but then lost two breaks of his own to even the score at 3. Torpegaard then came back with three consecutive points to take the first set. He dominated the second set for a 6-0 shutdown over Remy. Still undefeated for the season, Torpegaard holds a dual match record of 23-0.

Pollanen then came out strong on Court Five gaining a break initially off the bat. He controlled the game to defeat Soyfer and pull a 6-1, 6-4 total to gain his 13th win of the season in dual play. Pollanen’s point put the Buckeyes at 3-0 over the Badgers. The remaining matches were much closer competitions.

Di Feo clinched the fourth point for OSU in a tight match tallying 6-4, 6-4 wins over Carranza. The first set was an even back-and-forth in points between the two. Going into the second set though, Di Feo was down from an early break, but managed to come back after Carranza had four games on the board. Despite being down 15-40 in the final game, Di Feo came back and win the match and give the Buckeyes their fourth point.

“The assistant coach, Justin (Kronauge), just told me to stick with the game plan, try to move my feet a little bit because I was a little bit slow out there,” Di Feo said. “So that’s what I did. I focused on every point, and at the end, I got it done, and I’m extremely happy.”

The three remaining matches were played out in three sets. Wisconsin’s O’Hoisin gained the Badgers their first and only point of the match over redshirt freshman Kyle Seelig with a final post of 0-6, 6-2, 6-3. Seelig made a clean sweep in the first set over O’Hoisin, but then lost the momentum after being broken multiple times in the remaining two sets.

Courts Two and Four held the crowd with super tiebreakers in their third sets. Both Wolf and Joyce lost their first two sets, Wolf at 4-6 against Dodridge and Joyce against John Zordani with a 6-7 (6-8) score.

Wolf was the first of the two to clasp the win with a final score of 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7). In a nail-biter match with the whole team watching courtside, Joyce took the sixth and final point for the Buckeyes to finish a 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, 1-0 (13-11) post.

“It’s nice to get a win at home again and finish out strong,” Di Feo said. “And it was a little bit special at the end knowing that this is possibly my last match here.”

In their final two matches of the season, the Buckeyes will travel next weekend for conference matchups against Northwestern and Illinois, two teams that hold 6-2 records in the Big Ten.

“I have a lot of confidence in my guys,” Pollanen said. “I think that we’re working hard every day. We just need to get better because the coming teams are good and there’s no easy way out.”

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