The No. 4-seeded Ohio State men’s tennis team had a season goal to win the team’s first-ever national title. That dream fell short, however, as the Buckeyes lost to No. 1-seeded Virginia, 4-2, in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship Tournament on Monday.
OSU started strong with a 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point early in the match.
Doubles pairs senior Shuhei Uzawa and junior Chase Buchanan, along with senior Balazs Novak and Blaz Rola, helped clinch the doubles win for their team.
Rola and Novak defeated Virginia’s Alex Domijan and Sanam Singh, 8-6, and were followed close behind by Buchanan and Uzawa, who defeated Jarmere Jenkins and Julen Uriguen, 8-6, as well.
OSU doubles pair senior Matt Allare and redshirt freshman Peter Kobelt didn’t get a chance to finish their match, but left it with an 8-8 tie against Virginia’s Drew Courtney and Michael Shabaz.
“The doubles point is huge,” redshirt sophomore Devin McCarthy said after OSU’s win against Baylor in the quarterfinals Saturday. “It gives everyone a little bit of leeway.”
The Buckeyes might have won in doubles, but they fell short in singles, giving up four points to Virginia.
While OSU struggled more in singles than in doubles, the singles matches all were very close. Four of the six went into third-game tie-breakers.
Virginia scored its first point of the match when OSU’s Buchanan fell, 6-2, 6-2, to Domijan. The Cavaliers then earned a second point when Rola lost to Shabaz, 6-4, 6-4.
After giving up two points to Virginia, OSU answered when McCarthy beat Virginia’s Justin Shane, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, earning OSU its second point.
The Cavaliers then earned their final two points of the match, giving them the best of seven points and the match win.
Virginia will advance to the finals against USC, the two-time national champion and team that beat OSU in the quarterfinals last year.
Coming into the tournament, the team knew Virginia would be one of its biggest challenges on the road to a national title.
“Virginia hasn’t been beaten at all,” Allare said before the tournament.
Novak agreed, noting that Virginia was on OSU’s side of the draw, which ultimately gave the team trouble.
The team made it to the semifinals after beating Ball State, Notre Dame and Tulsa, each 4-0, and then defeating Baylor, 4-2, on Saturday.
The Buckeyes end their 2010–11 season with a 34-3 record.
Despite the loss, four of its members — Rola, Buchanan, Allare and Kobelt — return to Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship May 25–30.