For the ninth consecutive season, the No. 1-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team took home the Big Ten’s outright regular season title and finished the conference season unbeaten.
Playing at home in their final two regular season matches, the Buckeyes (27-3, 11-0) defeated Iowa 7-0 Friday to clinch the title, then defeated Nebraska, 6-1, Sunday to finish the conference season unscathed and give redshirt-senior Peter Kobelt a win on Senior Day.
“It was tough (at first) being the only senior on a team full of freshmen, essentially,” Kobelt said Sunday after the match, holding the Big Ten Championship trophy tightly. “To be able to go out of here with a Big Ten title and five rings for me is amazing … It has been a really unique experience and I wouldn’t do it any other way.”
OSU coach Ty Tucker was all smiles as he joined in on the celebration after the Senior Day victory.
“It’s nice. You get the hats and the shirts and the big trophy,” Tucker said. “Obviously we feel good … It’s fun.”
Sunday against the Cornhuskers, (12-14, 3-8) the match was played at the outdoor courts for the first time this season. The Buckeyes’ home advantage still held true despite the slight change in venue, with the team extending their NCAA record home winning streak to 189 matches.
Redshirt-junior Kevin Metka and freshman Herkko Pollanen were off first in doubles after defeating Nebraska sophomores Dusty Boyer and Marc Herrmann convincingly, 8-1.
Kobelt and redshirt-freshman Ralf Steinbach clinched the doubles point shortly after with an 8-5 win against Nebraska senior Brandon Videtich and sophomore Bradford Zitsch.
Redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan got the first win in singles, 6-1, 6-1, against Zitsch and redshirt-sophomore Chris Diaz was right on his heels with a 6-2, 6-0, victory against Nebraska senior Tom Blackwell to put the Buckeyes one win away from clinching the match.
Kobelt — as he so often has this season — answered the call, defeating Boyer 6-1, 6-1. It was the sixth time the senior clinched match point for the Buckeyes this season alone, and was his 250th combined win of his collegiate career.
Pollanen lost to Herrmann 6-1, 3-6, 1-0 (10-4) to give the Cornhuskers their lone win of the day, but Metka and Steinbach both won in singles to give the Buckeyes another dominant win heading into postseason play.
With the outright conference title for the taking Friday evening against the Hawkeyes (9-14, 1-10), the Buckeyes wasted little time clinching their crown.
Kobelt and Steinbach put away redshirt-senior Brian Alden and senior Michael Swank, 8-2, and Pollanen and Buckeye freshman Marko Goles-Babic beat seniors Chase Tomlins and Joey White, 8-6, to give the Buckeyes the early 1-0 advantage.
Kobelt was off first in singles play, defeating senior Jonas Dierckx 6-1, 6-2.
Goles-Babic won 6-2, 6-3, against Swank, and Callahan clinched the title after dumping sophomore Dominic Patrick 6-0, 6-2.
Pollanen and Diaz won in straight sets and Steinbach won in three to give the Buckeyes the sweep.
Next up, the Buckeyes head to East Lansing, Mich. to play in the Big Ten Tournament hosted by Michigan State University. The tournament is scheduled to take place all day April 24.