The NCAA Ohio Buckeyes Mens tennis team is close to breaking the record for the number of consecutive home wins, a prospect which has stirred up the entire collegiate world of tennis and remains a hot topic of conversation in the run up to the match tonight. Ranked second in the NCAA, the Ohio team managed to equal the previous record for the number of consecutive home win matches, with their victory against Michigan and Michigan State. In their upcoming match today against Northwestern they will be hoping to exceed it with a very impressive 185th match win as right now they have won 184 consecutive matches in their home state.
Although the NCAA do not keep an official record of the statistics in a statement they confirmed that they did not have any knowledge of a longer home winning streak although the Stanford Women’s team managed 184 consecutive victories between the years 1999 and 2011. The Ohio Buckeyes started their run of triumphs on the 6th of April 2003 and have remained undefeated in their home venue of the Varsity Tennis Center since then – a total of 11 years, over which time 46 players have contributed to the winning record. This match will also be a 75th Ohio State win for their coach, Ty Tucker, who has racked up a tremendous 414 wins over the duration of his career. Given how many teams have been part of creating this record it is difficult to attribute their success to particular players or groups, however, the role of Tucker does seem to have been instrumental in shaping their prolonged winning rate and this will surely lend some reassurance to his players as he continues to support them through this possibly historical match.
The match is due to start at 6pm tonight and the chances seem to be statistically stacked in favor of the Ohio home team. In their record against the Northwestern Wild Cats they lead 45-43 which includes a 6-1 victory last year. Tucker’s results against the Northwestern opponents are even stronger with a 16-1 winning record as well as at one point having won ten consecutive matches in a row against Northwestern. Both Tucker and his team have attempted to dismiss the significance of this match, with the mens first team player (and Ohio States number one state singles player), Peter Kobelt saying that they will attempt to approach it like any other game and try not to let the pressure become a factor. Tucker expanded on his players words claiming that the hype surrounding their winning streak had not been very apparent up until their last five or six matches. However, having the prospect of gaining the NCAA record for a home win results streak is now too close to home to ignore. Tucker and the team have both said that they are keen to change the history books on this occasion, but the presence of nerves and playing not to lose, rather than going for the aggressive win, is an issue they have had to contend with.
Once they have played Northwestern, the Ohio team will then face the more difficult task presented in the form of the number ten ranked Illinois tennis team. However, being so close to an NCAA record home win result must make it incredibly difficult for the Ohio mens tennis team to focus on anything but their impending games. As long as nerves do not prevail, there seems to be little reason why the Ohio Buckeyes will not be successful in their record-breaking bid. . .
Commentary by Rhona Scullion