Friday May 18, 2012No. 12 Florida men's tennis comes up short against No. 5 Ohio State, 4-1, in NCAA Round of 16
In a match that was much tighter than the final score would show, the No. 12 Florida men’s tennis team came up short against the fifth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, falling 4-1 in the Round of 16 of the 2012 NCAA Tennis Championship in Athens, Ga., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
“Hats off to Ohio State and Coach Tucker,” said head coach Andy Jackson. “I think that they are one of the premier programs in the country. I think they’re very tough. He’s a great coach. They have a very good team and played a tough match today. I’m proud of my team.”
Knowing that Ohio State (34-3) was very strong in doubles and the top two singles positions, Florida (16-10) was relying on strong singles play from the No. 3-6 spots going into the match.
“The match kind of played out along the lines of what we thought it might,” said Coach Jackson. “They’re very good at three spots: doubles and one and two [singles]. I felt like we had a good chance to win three, four and five [singles] and six was a tossup. We ran out of gas at six and Ohio State goes forward.”
After the Buckeyes took the doubles point with wins on courts one and three, Florida stuck to their game plan and came out strong in singles play. UF won the first set on courts three through six and seemed to be positioned right where they wanted to be heading into the later stages of the match.
Ohio State’s Blaz Rola, ranked ninth in the country, extended the Buckeyes’ lead with a 6-4, 6-1 win over UF’s Tripper Carleton at No. 2 singles, but the Gators’ got on the board when Florent Diep defeated Devin McCarthy, 6-4, 6-2, on court five. Chase Buchanan, OSU’s No. 1 singles player and the tenth-ranked player in the nation, made it 3-1 overall with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Florida’s Bob van Overbeek.
All indications were that the match was going according to plan for the Gators, but then things turned bleak when Florida’s Michael Alford began to experience some cramping issues playing at No. 6 singles. After taking the first set, 7-5, against Connor Smith, Alford was forced to take a medical timeout trailing 4-1 in the second set. From that point on, he struggled with his movement and Smith proceeded to finish off the match, winning the final eight games and securing the victory for the Buckeyes.
In the two remaining matches on court, Nassim Slilam took the first set, 6-2, against Peter Kobelt but dropped the second, 5-7. Play was halted one game into the third set. Spencer Newman won the first set against Ille Van Engelen, 6-4, but trailed 5-2 in the second set when play was stopped.
In doubles, Ohio State’s Kobelt and Smith won 8-3 at the No. 3 position over Florida’s Alford and Diep. Buchanan and Rola, the No. 1 doubles pair in the nation, defeated UF’s Carleton and Slilam, 8-1, on court one to clinch the doubles point. Newman and van Overbeek led OSU’s McCarthy and Van Engelen, 6-5, at No. 2 doubles when their match was stopped.
Florida is scheduled to have three singles players, van Overbeek, Carleton and Slilam, and one doubles tandem, Slilam and Billy Federhofer, take part in the individual championships next week. The singles and doubles tournaments take place following the team championships, also hosted by Georgia.
#5 OHIO STATE (34-3) def. #12 FLORIDA (16-10), 4-1 - McWhorter Courts
Head Coaches: Ty Tucker (OHIO STATE) and Andy Jackson (FLORIDA)
1. #1 Chase Buchanan/Blaz Rola (OSU) def. Tripper Carleton/Nassim Slilam (UF), 8-1
2. #32 Devin McCarthy/Ille Van Engelen (OSU) vs. #64 Spencer Newman/Bob van Overbeek (UF), 5-6, DNF
3. Peter Kobelt/Connor Smith (OSU) def. Mike Alford/Florent Diep (UF), 8-3
1. #10 Chase Buchanan (OSU) def. #42 Bob van Overbeek (UF), 6-3, 6-3
2. #9 Blaz Rola (OSU) def. #48 Tripper Carleton (UF), 6-4, 6-1
3. #67 Peter Kobelt (OSU) vs. #53 Nassim Slilam (UF), 2-6, 7-5, 0-1, unfinished
4. Ille Van Engelen (OSU) vs. #66 Spencer Newman (UF), 4-6, 5-2, unfinished
5. Florent Diep (UF) def. #85 Devin McCarthy (OSU), 6-4, 6-2
6. Connor Smith (OSU) def. Mike Alford (UF), 5-7, 6-1, 6-0
Order of Finish