The No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team saw its incredible season come to a close in a 4-1 loss to No. 9 North Carolina in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship at the USTA National Campus on May 16.
The Scarlet and Gray entered the match with a 32-2 record and the No. 1 overall seed, coming off a victory against No. 16 Columbia in the NCAA Super Regional. North Carolina took on Ohio State following an impressive win against No. 8 USC.
The Buckeyes started doubles play off on the right foot, leading or tying for the lead on all three courts through four games. No. 23 JJ Wolf and Martin Joyce dominated on court one, taking the first doubles match, 6-1, after a hot start.
However the Tar Heels took control on courts two and three, winning both matches, 6-2. Ohio State lost the doubles point for just the third time on the season and the duo of John McNally and Hunter Tubert dropped their first match as a tandem on the year (20-1).
The intensity amped up when singles play commenced, but the Buckeyes quickly found themselves in a hole, trailing UNC, 3-0.
Kyle Seelig rose to the occasion for Ohio State, defeating Josh Peck (not that Josh Peck, I wish), 6-3, 6-4. Still trailing 3-1, the Buckeyes turned to the nation’s top player, Wolf, who defeated William Bloomberg, 7-5, 6-4, after trailing in the first set.
With UNC leading, 3-2, Ohio State had just McNally and Tubert remaining. McNally and Benjamin Sigouin battled back and forth in a hard-fought match on court two. Meanwhile, Tubert and Simon Soendergaard duked it out on court six.
The Buckeyes’ comeback effort came up short when McNally fell to Sigouin, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6. At the time, Tubert and Soendergaard were entrenched in a 6-4, 4-6, 5-6 battle, but did not finish once McNally’s loss signaled the end.
The third loss of the season for the Buckeyes eliminated them from the NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals. Despite the disappointing ending, the Scarlet and Gray concluded the season as ITA Indoor national champions, Big Ten champions and Big Ten tournament champions.
Ohio State’s season is over as a team, but some of its team members will compete in singles or doubles at next week’s NCAA Championships. Wolf, McNally and Seelig will compete in singles while Joyce and Tubert will compete in doubles.
BSB will follow the progress of Ohio State’s men’s tennis players and recap how they fare in our weekly Olympic Sports Recap. Wolf, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, holds the nation’s No. 1 ranking, and is one of the favorites in the individual tournament.