Ohio State junior John McNally, a first-team All-Big Ten for the past two seasons, waits to return a serve. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics

Ohio State men’s tennis continued its unblemished start to the season with its most impressive performance yet Saturday.

The No. 6 Buckeyes (8-0) knocked off No. 1 Texas (4-1) — the defending NCAA Outdoor champion — with a 4-1 statement win at home.

Ohio State earned an early advantage when its captured the doubles point in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center. The effort was led by 6-4 victories from doubles teams junior John McNally and freshman Robert Cash, as well as freshman Cannon Kingsley and redshirt senior Kyle Seelig.

“The doubles point is one of the biggest points in college tennis,” Cash said. “But then again, you have to know that if you win the doubles point, the match isn’t over, and you have to come out firing in singles.”

In singles, Ohio State was able to secure the three points needed to win the match, highlighted by a dominating performance from Seelig, who took both sets in a 6-0, 6-2 win against freshman Siem Woldeab of the Longhorns.

“As the only senior, I felt I had to step up and win my doubles match and singles match early,” Seelig said.

Sophomore James Trotter was also a leading factor in Saturday’s win, closing out a 6-4, 6-3 win against redshirt freshman Cleeve Harper minutes before the Buckeyes clinched the game-winning point on court six.

It was the Longhorns’ first loss since April 21, 2019, and Ohio State got revenge for a 4-1 loss a season ago when the teams last met.

Although spirits were high as the team cheered Cash to a match-clinching win against Texas sophomore Chih Chi Huang, Seelig said the team knew it needed to shift focus to its next opponent.

“This is a big win, but it doesn’t mean very much,” Seelig said. “We’re going to play six top 10 teams in the next two weeks. We need to come out with the same energy that we had today for every single one of those.”

With the win Saturday, Ohio State extended its home winning streak to 88 matches.

Ohio State will try to continue its unbeaten start at 6p.m.  Thursday when it hosts Arizona State.