Friday February 14, 2014Gators Battle, but Fall 4-1 to Ohio State in First Round of ITA Team Indoor Championship
The No. 12 Florida men’s tennis team dropped their first match of the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship to No. 5 Ohio State, 4-1, at The Downtown Club at the Met and the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club in Houston.
In doubles, Gator seniors Michael Alford and Stephane Piro, the 24th-ranked duo, kept it close in the first match, but the Buckeye’s pair of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka, ranked No. 2 nationally, proved dominant and won 6-4. Ohio State’s No. 2 doubles pair Hunter Callahan and Herkko Pollanen clinched the doubles point with a 6-3 victory over Florida’s Maxx Lipman and Gordon Watson.
The Orange and Blue battled in singles play, with Watson taking a hard-fought match from OSU’s Pollanen at No. 3 singles, 6-4, 6-5 (7-5). But, the fifth-ranked Buckeyes held strong to take matches at 1, 4 and 6 singles to stay perfect on the season and advance to the quarterfinals.
Tomorrow, Florida takes on either No. 4 Georgia or No. 10 Texas at the ITA Team Indoors. For the complete ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship draw, click here.
Head Coach Bryan Shelton Says: “In doubles, they [Ohio State] came out and played the bigger points better than we did. We had some opportunities, but they were able to close the door and hold sure on some big points and we weren’t able to do that. In a six game set, you lose serve one time and that can be a set, and that was the case today on all three courts.”
“In singles, I felt like we had a good opportunity to get some of those points today. We just did not execute in a couple of spots. Whether it was just not being aggressive enough when we needed to be or not really playing with conviction, with a plan. A couple of our guys just didn’t really execute the plan and didn’t stick with it long enough out there on the court. We were definitely good enough to win four of those matches, but you have to give Ohio State a lot of credit. They played well and they definitely played better on the critical points than we did today and that was the difference.”
“We’ve taken losses to three quality teams and our guys are a little disappointed, but we have to bounce back quickly and get fired up for tomorrow. Our guys will be ready to go.”
First Round - Feb. 14, 2014
No. 5 Ohio State 4, No. 12 Florida 1
(1) No. 2 Peter Kobelt/Kevin Metka (OSU) def. No. 24 Stephane Piro/Michael Alford (UF) 6-4
(2) Herkko Pollanen/Hunter Callahan (OSU) def. Gordon Watson/Maxx Lipman (UF) 6-3*
(3) Ralf Steinbach/Chris Diaz (OSU) vs. Diego Hidalgo/Florent Diep (UF) 5-3, unfinished
Ohio State wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 2*
(1) No. 23 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. No. 55 Stephane Piro (UF) 6-2, 6-2
(2) Chris Diaz (OSU) vs. Diego Hidalgo (UF) 5-6, 3-5, unfinished
(3) Gordon Watson (UF) def. Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 6-4, 6-5 (7-5)
(4) Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. Florent Diep (UF) 6-3, 6-2
(5) Kevin Metka (OSU) vs. Maxx Lipman (UF) 3-6, 6-4, 2-2, unfinished
(6) Hunter Callahan (OSU) def. Michael Alford (UF) 6-4, 6-4*
Order of finish: 1, 4, 3, 6*
Records: Florida 3-3, Ohio State 10-0
Nationally Ranked Gators: Two Florida singles players are ranked nationally, led by 55th-ranked senior Stephane Piro, along with 114th-ranked freshman Elliott Orkin. Orkin and sophomore Gordon Watson represent the Gators in doubles as No. 11 in the nation and senior duo Michael Alford and Piro rank 24th.
Follow the Gators: For complete coverage of the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates and news from the weekend's events. Use the hashtag #ITAIndoors for all tweets regarding the competition.