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 If the match is moved indoors because of weather, live video will be available via 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 and click on the tennis links.

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