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Ohio State men’s tennis set for back-to-back with Butler, Xavier

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Then-redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan hits the ball during a match against Tulsa April 11 at the Varsity Tennis Center. OSU won, 4-3. Credit: Lantern file photo

Then-redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan hits the ball during a match against Tulsa April 11 at the Varsity Tennis Center. OSU won, 4-3.
Credit: Lantern file photo

The Ohio State men’s tennis team is looking to extend its streak to four straight home wins to start the season.

After starting their season with wins against Northern Kentucky and Youngstown State, the Buckeyes are set to host another slate of home matches against Butler University and Xavier University.

With a decade-plus long home winning streak on the line, the Buckeyes are set to face off against Butler at noon and Xavier at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Last season, OSU hosted both teams, and easily dispatched each by 7-0 margins.

OSU has a younger roster this season with only three upperclassmen returning in redshirt-senior Hunter Callahan, redshirt-senior Kevin Metka and redshirt-junior Chris Diaz.

With the goals of winning the Big Ten and the NCAA Championship on the horizon, the Buckeyes have to look to the veterans for leadership, Diaz said.

“I’m just hoping to play better and rally with the team,” Diaz said. “It’s up to us older guys to lead by example and achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves.”

That being said, the team does not want to add any pressure to its season, Diaz added.

“Sometimes we just get too tense in situations,” he said. “We have to remember to have fun and loosen up during the matches, not get too nervous, just have fun.”

The Buckeyes are currently ranked No. 5 in the country but don’t see the rankings as any added pressure, Diaz said.

“We believe we can beat anyone, no matter what number they are and we know other teams are the same way,” he said. “We just have to go out there and do our best, working as a team to rally around each other and get the wins.”

Even though the matches against Xavier and Butler are non-conference, Diaz said the Buckeyes still take them just as seriously.

“Every team we play is a good team,” he said. “We have to play every match to the best of ability and treat each match the same way.”

Diaz also stressed the importance of keeping the same mental focus throughout the season. “By keeping this mentality of treating every match the same, we improve and when the ranked teams come in, we are more prepared and less nervous because we’ve kept our routine,” he said.

OSU is set to continue a eight-match home stand against Auburn on Saturday and Tulsa and Purdue on Sunday.

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