The Buckeyes’ men’s tennis team has been hard pressed to find another school that can beat them this season. They have been extremely impressive, racking up many awards and accomplishments, and are now working their way to the end of the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio State finished 24-3 during the regular season and earned a perfect 7-0 conference record. This resulted in it being the Big Ten regular season champions for the 15th consecutive season. 15th!
Six different Buckeyes earned conference honors, plus two of the major individual awards given out. The Big Ten Athlete of the Year is Cannon Kingsley. This is the second second season in a row he has won this distinction. He is the fourth Buckeye to claim the award multiple times, and he also earned first team honors for the third consecutive year.
Kingsley is definitely one of the leaders of this team. In the fall, he only played in four collegiate matches because he was playing in professional events, where he reached the semi-finals in four different tournaments and the finals in one. This spring, he has a record of 15-3, including 11-2 at the No. 1 spot, and has nine wins over ranked opponents. In doubles, he has a record of 15-1.
Ty Tucker was named B1G Coach of the Year, his 15th time receiving the award. Graduates Matej Vocel and Jake Van Emburgh as well as junior James Trotter and sophomore JJ Tracy joined Kingsley on the First Team All-Big Ten, while Robert Cash earned Second Team honors.
Vocel has been perhaps the most consistent player this season. The Buckeyes were the No. 1 team in the country for a few weeks, and he was a huge reason why. He has been ranked in the Top 10 of the singles rankings and No. 1 in doubles rankings all season. He has only suffered one loss in singles and three in doubles, good for a 57-9 overall record.
Tracy, who was last year’s conference Freshman of the Year, has been literally unbeatable in singles this season, earning himself a 16-0 record. Combined with doubles, he has a team best 31-4 record.
While the team fell during the Big Ten Tournament to No. 2 seed Michigan, they received the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes swept Youngstown State in the first round, 4-0, then did the same thing to Columbia in the next round.
They proceeded to defeat No. 13 USC in the Super Regionals, advancing to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal round for the 14th time. Three of Ohio State’s singles’ courts won and two doubles’ courts won, as two other matches were left unfinished because the Bucks earned the victory.
Now, the Buckeyes are looking ahead to Thursday, where they will rematch No. 5 TTUN at either 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. in Champaign, Illinois, where all of the final three rounds of this year’s NCAA Tournament will be held next weekend. The rivalry match is poised to be even more intense than usual, as the Buckeyes are seeking revenge for their loss against Michigan that kept them away from a conference tournament title.