Men’s tennis looks to upset No. 5 Ohio State in NCAA Tournament

Friday, May 11, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 11, 2012) – Looking for its third first-round victory over the past six years, the ETSU men’s tennis team will attempt to upset No. 5 seed Ohio State on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament.

First serve between ETSU (14-8, 9-0 A-Sun) and Ohio State (31-3, 11-0 Big Ten) is scheduled for 1 p.m. at OSU’s Varsity Tennis Courts. The first match of the Columbus, Ohio regional kicks off at 10 a.m. between Notre Dame (20-8) and Vanderbilt (8-15).

ETSU enters the 2012 NCAA Tournament on a 14-match winning streak. The nationally ranked No. 69 Buccaneers began the year at 0-8, but have won every match since defeating Appalachian State on Feb. 25 at the Bristol Racquet Club. The Bucs’ run to their sixth-consecutive Atlantic Sun Championship title was also completed in Bristol, Tenn., with a 4-1 victory against then-No. 62 North Florida in the final.

When the Bucs take to the courts in Columbus next weekend, they will be looking for their first NCAA win since defeating Alabama 4-2 in 2010. ETSU is 2-3 overall through its past five NCAA Tournament first-round appearances, with its other win coming in 2008 against Notre Dame. In last year’s tournament, the Buccaneers were dealt a heartbreaking 4-3 loss at the hands of the Fighting Irish. ETSU led the match 3-2, but dropped the two remaining points at No. 3 and No. 4 singles.

Senior Sander Gille (Kuringen, Belgium) and freshman Rogerio Ribeiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) are ETSU’s two 20-match winners this year. Gille went 20-9 overall, and led the team in dual victories with a 14-6 mark. The First Team All-Atlantic Sun member also held a perfect 8-0 record at No. 2 singles. Ribeiro enters the NCAA Tournament with the team’s longest active winning streak, having won his last 12 singles matches. The Second Team All-Conference and All-Freshman selection posted a 21-8 overall record through the fall and spring, going 12-1 in dual action.

Ohio State will be looking to bounce back from its loss in the Big Ten Championship final to Illinois. The defeat ended the Buckeyes’ 12-match winning streak, and also snapped OSU’s run of six-consecutive Big Ten Tournament titles.

Blaz Rola leads the Buckeyes with a 30-6 overall singles record through the 2011-12 campaign. OSU’s typical No. 1 or No. 2 starter went 22-4 in dual action, and holds a 13-5 record against ITA-ranked singles opponents. Connor Smith was second in wins, boasting a 28-7 overall mark with a 24-5 dual record. Chase Buchanan – the Buckeyes’ other No. 1 starter – went 27-6 overall with a 20-3 dual record including a 12-2 mark at the No. 1.

The Buccaneers and Buckeyes have played on four other occasions in the all-time series, with Ohio State coming out victorious in each meeting. The last contest between the two sides came in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and resulted in a 4-0 OSU victory.

Live stats will be provided courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com. If the match is moved indoors because of weather, live video will be available via StreamingTennis.com. Tickets for each day are $6 for adults and $4 for children. All children under two years of age enter for free.

For more information on ETSU tennis, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the tennis links.

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