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Ohio State men’s tennis team makes racket on road to NCAA Championship

Lindsey Fox / Lantern photographer

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The Ohio State men’s tennis team’s dream of winning a national title is still alive after the Buckeyes defeated their opponents in the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship Tournament this weekend. OSU was able to shut out Notre Dame and Ball State, 4-0, respectively in the first and second rounds of the tournament.

The team will now advance to the third round of the championship Thursday, when it will play Tulsa. Tulsa caused an upset in the bracket with a 4-3 victory against No. 13 seed Texas on Saturday.

“They take everything seriously,” OSU coach Ty Tucker said of his team.

The last four rounds of the tournament will be held at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center.

If the Buckeyes beat Tulsa in the Sweet Sixteen, they will play in their first matchup with a seeded opponent.

Depending on the outcome of the other teams’ match, the Buckeyes will face either No. 5-seeded Baylor or No. 12-seeded UCLA. The Buckeyes didn’t play either team this season.

OSU had a successful start to the tournament with home-court advantage.

However, the team will now travel to an outdoor court, something the Buckeyes haven’t had much experience with yet this season.

But the team isn’t completely unprepared.

Redshirt sophomore Devin McCarthy said Tucker had the team outdoors, practicing as much as possible in the days before the tournament began. But, McCarthy added, the team still needs to play outside more.

On Friday, the team got a little taste of what kind of weather it might meet in California when it played in humid, 80-degree weather against Ball State.

“We have to take what we can get,” redshirt freshman Peter Kobelt said of Friday’s weather. “It’s the kind of stuff we’ll deal with if we go out to California.”

Whatever weather the Buckeyes face in California, the team seems excited just to be competing.

“It’s quite an experience,” senior Matt Allare said. “I’ve never been (to Stanford). I’m excited to see what it’s like.”

“It’s a little bit different,” freshman Blaz Rola said. “You see a lot more excitement. … There’s more at stake, but to win any tournament is a big deal.”

The Buckeyes play their next round at 6 p.m. Thursday. If they win, they will continue on the road to the National Championship by playing in the fourth round at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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