More than 700 people were on hand when the Ohio State men’s tennis team saw its 200-match home winning streak snapped by No. 1 Oklahoma.
But despite the loss, coach Ty Tucker said he’d expect those fans to be back to watch the man who fell just short in the final match Friday night at the Varsity Tennis Center.
“If you’re a Buckeye fan, it doesn’t matter if you’re basketball, football, baseball, whatever your taste in sports is,” Tucker said. “If you watched that match tonight, you’ll be back to watch Kevin Metka.”
Metka is a redshirt-senior from Worthington, Ohio, who Tucker said carries a 3.7 GPA in mechanical engineering. Before he lost, 7-5, in a third-set tiebreaker, Metka had staved off multiple match points against Oklahoma sophomore Florin Bragusi.
By the third set, Metka had a few match-point chances of his own and fought through cramps just to keep playing. But in the end, just as he did in OSU’s first loss of the season against Texas A&M, Metka came up just short.
“Kevin Metka is what Ohio State wants in their athletes,” Tucker said. “He started to cramp out there and he fought through the cramps.”
Now with the streak — an NCAA record for consecutive home wins in any sport — behind them, Tucker stressed that it’s important for the Buckeyes to move forward.
“We never even thought about it until year eight or nine when someone brought it up,” he said. “And then you don’t think about it and all of a sudden you hit some milestones with 100, 150 or 200 wins or 10 years and you talk about it. But everybody in the world knew that the streak would end at some point.”
The loss, which was OSU’s first in Columbus since April 2003, moves the No. 8 Buckeyes to 12-4 this season ahead of a four-match road trip set to begin Tuesday against Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
Despite those four losses and the end of the streak, Tucker said he’s hopeful his team can continue to improve and contend going forward, even though the talent on the roster might not be what it was in years past.
“(We’re) a little down maybe this year compared to the last couple years with some horses, but guys are getting better, and as a coach if every match you’re getting better and guys are coming to fight and compete, what else can you ask for?” Tucker said.
After the Buckeyes take on Florida, they’re scheduled to travel to Tulsa, Okla., Texas and Michigan before returning to Columbus on March 22 with an opportunity to start a whole new streak when they play Michigan State.