Hawkeyes Win Final Two Singles Matches Against No. 5 Ohio State

March 25, 2011

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IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa men’s tennis team fell to fifth-ranked Ohio State on Friday at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center by a 5-2 margin. The match did end on a positive note for the No. 66 Hawkeyes (6-6 overall, 0-2 in conference), who won the final two singles matches in tie-breakers against the Buckeyes (16-2, 2-0).

The Buckeyes, who currently sit first in conference standings, jumped out to a 5-0 lead after doubles and the first four singles matches. Junior Will Vasos and Sophomore Garret Dunn stepped in from there to give Iowa some momentum heading into Sunday’s match with Penn State after upsetting nationally ranked opponents.

“Ohio State has as good of a chance as anybody to win the national championship,” said head coach Steve Houghton. “Given that, I thought we played a very competitive match with them. I’m pleased with the effort, not the outcome.”

Facing No. 116 Balazs Novak, Vasos claimed the first set by a 7-5 margin in No. 3 singles to jump in front. Novak had a strong second set, however, winning it 6-1. Since Ohio State already had secured the team victory at that point, the match went into a tie-breaker to determine the winner instead of a third set. Vasos and Novak traded points in the tie-breaker until eventually Vasos won it 10-6, clinching the match. Vasos holds a 9-3 singles record now.

Dunn shared a similar fate in No. 6 singles, going into a tie-breaker to determine the winner after splitting the first two sets. Dunn came up short 2-6 in the first set to No. 98 Nelson Vick, but claimed the second set in extras 7-6 to even things up. Dunn rolled through the tie-breaker in dominating fashion, winning 10-2 to finish off the upset. It was the seventh singles win of the season for Dunn.

“Any wins against Ohio State players are good wins, and those certainly were,” said Houghton. “They both came through pretty strong in the end.”

Ohio State, who leads the nation with seven players ranked nationally in singles, won the first four singles matches. Five of Iowa’s six team losses have come to ranked opponents this season, and the Hawkeyes have now already played the two top-ranked teams in the Big Ten with a near upset of No. 10 Illinois earlier and a competitive match against the Buckeyes.

Senior Austen Kauss gave a valiant effort in No. 4 singles against 43rd-ranked Matt Allare, but fell 6-3, 6-4. No. 5 Blaz Rola defeated Iowa’s Marc Bruche in No. 1 singles by a 6-1, 6-4 margin. No. 19 Chase Buchanan also defeated Iowa’s Nikita Zotov 6-1, 6-1. No. 46 Devin McCarthy topped freshman Jonas Dierckx 6-0, 6-3.

Despite winning the doubles point in five of the past six matches, Iowa wasn’t able to take the advantage as Ohio State claimed all three matches.

Iowa’s Zotov and Dunn put up the strongest fight, trading points with Rola and Novak down to the wire in No. 3 doubles. Zotov and Dunn took an early 3-2 lead, but the Buckeyes scored the next two points and stayed in front from there, winning 8-6.

In No. 1 doubles, Ohio State’s tandem of Peter Kobelt and Allare, ranked 14th in the nation, topped Iowa’s Bruche and Vasos. Kobelt and Allare claimed the match by an 8-5 margin, handing Iowa’s duo just their third loss of the season.

Kauss and Dierckx fell to Ohio State’s Buchanan and Shuhei Uzawa in No. 2 doubles by an 8-1 margin.

The Hawkeyes will also be at home for their next action this Sunday, facing Penn State (10-8). Start time is 10 a.m. inside the HTRC.

No. 5 Ohio State 5,No. 66 Iowa 2

Singles No. 5 Blaz Rola (OSU) def. Marc Bruche (IOWA) 6-1, 6-4 No. 19 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. Nikita Zotov (IOWA) 6-1, 6-1 Will Vasos (IOWA) def. No. 116 Balazs Novak (OSU) 7-5, 1-6, (10-6) No. 43 Matt Allare (OSU) def. Austen Kauss (IOWA) 6-3, 6-4 No. 46 Devin McCarthy (OSU) def. Jonas Dierckx (IOWA) 6-0, 6-3 Garret Dunn (IOWA) def. No. 98 Nelson Vick (OSU) 2-6, 7-6, (10-2)

Doubles Peter Kobelt/Allare (OSU) def. Bruche/Vasos (IOWA) 8-5 Buchanan/Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) def. Kauss/Dierckx (IOWA) 8-1 Novak/Rola (OSU) def. Zotov/Dunn (IOWA) 8-6