Ohio State freshman men’s tennis player Robert Cash returns a serve during a match. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics

It’s been smooth sailing for Ohio State men’s tennis through seven matches this season, but rougher waters are rapidly approaching.

No. 6 Ohio State (7-0) hosts No. 1 Texas (4-0) Saturday at home, where the Buckeyes will try to stay undefeated against their toughest opponent to date –– the top team in the nation.

“One step at a time; a win this weekend is huge, and we’ll know that we can beat anyone in the country,” Ohio State freshman Cannon Kingsley said.

Coming off wins against Purdue and Tulsa during the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kickoff Weekend, Ohio State’s focus has shifted to the challenge of facing the defending NCAA Outdoor champion Texas.

Ohio State head coach Ty Tucker said practices leading up to this weekend have been centered around building skills and discussing gameplans for Texas. When the teams met a season ago in Austin, Texas, the Buckeyes fell 4-1.

Now, the Buckeyes seek revenge against a Longhorn team that hasn’t lost a game since April 21, 2019.

“Tuesdays, we go really hard with drills and test their endurance, and then Wednesdays, we go hard in the morning and get into what we think Texas is going to do against us,” Tucker said.

Tucker said he wants players to focus on every point with every matchup this weekend.

“You’ve got to have the team ready, if you get your chance against Texas, to win that point,” Tucker said. “Because you might not get another chance against Texas.”

Kingsley, the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2019, said the Buckeyes’ quick start to the season and his experience in International Tennis Federation Grand Slam competitions have prepared him for big-time matchups like this one –– despite being in his first season.

“I’m just ready for anything,” Kingsley said. “I could play guys 23-years-old; I could play guys 18-years-old as a freshman.”

Texas is coming into town fresh off of wins against No. 22 Florida State and Indiana during the kickoff weekend. Ohio State is looking to add the first loss to Texas’ spotless resume.

The Buckeyes plan to play the home court to their advantage.

“Hopefully we all feed off of the crowd energy. We always play good matches when there’s lots of people here,” senior Kyle Seelig said.

The match begins noon Saturday at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center.