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Ohio State men’s tennis wins 200th in a row at home, shuts out South Florida

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As one streak ended for Ohio State’s men’s tennis team, the Buckeyes fought Sunday afternoon to keep another alive. One week after its first loss of the season — to Texas A&M — OSU won its 200th consecutive home match Sunday against University of South Florida, 4-0.

“To have something that might live forever, I mean, who knows if that streak ever gets broken … And to be able to say, ‘You know what? We’ve got the longest win streak in the history of any sport,’” OSU coach Ty Tucker said. “They could be 80 years old and still be able to say (that).”

Tucker has been there from one to 200. He started as the coach at OSU in 1999, and the Buckeyes’ last loss at home came against Illinois in 2003. Tucker said he gives most of the credit for the streak to players throughout the years.

“It’s pretty impressive, 200 home wins in a row … 35, 40 good athletes through that streak,” Tucker said. “They made it happen and I get a little bit of the credit.”

As if there was not enough pressure coming off of their first loss of the season, Tucker said guys from 10 years ago had been reaching out to the current Buckeyes all week “putting a little added pressure on them.”

Redshirt-senior Kevin Metka said it wasn’t talked about that much this week among the team though, because the team was “mostly trying to regroup from a tough loss last week.”

Tucker said that it’s nice to have win No. 200 out of the way, but in some of the seniors’ minds, there is still more to prove.

“We’re still going to have lots of home matches that are tough the rest of the year that we want to continue to win,” Metka said.

Redshirt-senior Hunter Callahan agreed, pointing out that they still need to win seven more home matches for the seniors to leave without losing a match at home.

The 200th win was not handed to the Buckeyes, as No. 25 USF put up a fight on all courts.

Redshirt-sophomore Ralf Steinbach and Metka dropped their doubles match, 6-4, as the other two Buckeye pairs went into tiebreakers.

“You can’t prepare for that. Nothing that we do in practice is anything close to that intensity,” Callahan said.

Callahan and redshirt-junior Chris Diaz came out on top 7-6 (7-4), followed by a win from freshman Mikael Torpegaard and sophomore Herkko Pollanen 7-6 (7-3).

With the doubles point in hand, the Buckeyes headed to singles court. Callahan wrapped up a win first, 6-3, 6-2. Torpegaard stamped his win next, defeating sophomore Sasha Gozun, 7-5, 6-3. The final victory to preserve the streak came from Metka, who came out on top, 6-3, 7-5.

The Buckeyes have little time to celebrate this occasion with the NCAA Indoor Championship coming up this weekend in Chicago, but Metka said win 200 helped get the team ready.

“It was a good preparation for going to national indoors this week,” he said.

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