A share of history has been captured by the No. 2 Ohio State men’s tennis team.
With a 6-1 defeat of Michigan Friday, the Buckeyes tied the NCAA all-time home win streak with their 184th consecutive victory.
“It’s been a nerve-wracking experience going through this thing,” coach Ty Tucker said. “Every match has been counted … it’s nice that the guys go down in history.”
The Stanford women’s tennis team originally set the record by going undefeated at home from 1999-2011. The Buckeyes (19-2, 4-0) began their streak during the 2003 season and didn’t let the Wolverines (9-7, 1-1) get in their way of the record book.
The Buckeyes took the first two matches Friday in doubles to give them a quick 1-0 lead.
Redshirt-sophomore Chris Diaz and freshman Herkko Pollanen of OSU defeated Michigan juniors Alex Petrone and Michael Zhu 8-7 (7-2). It was the first time Diaz and Pollanen played together this season, showing poise to dominate the tiebreaker and win the point.
Not long after that, OSU’s senior Peter Kobelt and redshirt-junior Kevin Metka beat Michigan seniors Alex Buzzi and Barrett Franks, 8-6, to give the Buckeyes the advantage heading into singles play.
Diaz was off first, again, after beating junior Vlad Stefan 6-0, 6-2. Redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan then finished off Buzzi 6-1, 6-1. Both Diaz and Callahan jumped out to big leads en route to pushing the Buckeyes to a commanding 3-0 lead.
Although the Varsity Tennis Center was filled to capacity and history was on the line, Diaz said he was able to stay calm throughout the match.
“I’d been struggling a little bit so to get another win under my belt felt good,” Diaz said. “I just try to relax and tell myself to focus and not to think too much … sometimes I get way to into it and just have to remember it’s just a game.”
Kobelt, as he has done multiple times already this season, clinched the match and put the Buckeyes in the record book with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over Petrone. As the captain of the team and part of 68 of those home wins, Kobelt said sealing the win was something special.
“To get the final point against Michigan at home and to set the record, it’s like a storybook kind of thing,” Kobelt said. “At the end of the day, we’re just trying to get a win and win the Big Ten.”
As is custom in Big Ten play, the unfinished matches continued even after the match had already been decided.
Metka and redshirt-freshman Ralf Steinbach both won in three sets to give the Buckeyes six points. Pollanen was the only OSU player to lose, falling in a two-set marathon match to senior Shaun Bernstein 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
The Buckeyes have the opportunity to break the tie and have the most dominant home win streak in the history of the NCAA next Friday when No. 25 Northwestern comes to town.
“Hopefully we have enough magic in us to win one more home match and kick Stanford out of the equation,” Tucker said.
The match against the Wildcats is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Varsity Tennis Center.