Ohio State mens tennis opens season strong shuts out Northern Kentucky Youngstown

Then-junior Kevin Metka returns the ball during a match against North Carolina Feb. 28 at the Varsity Tennis Center. OSU won, 4-1. Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternThe No. 5 Ohio State men’s tennis team started its 2015 season on a high note by shutting out both Northern Kentucky and Youngstown State at the Varsity Tennis Center on Sunday.The Buckeyes started their first home match by taking on Northern Kentucky, the redshirt-freshman team of Matt Mendez and Riley Reist lead on the doubles court defeating freshmen Jack Carney and Nick Lang, 6-1.Redshirt-senior Hunter Callahan and his doubles partner redshirt-junior Chris Diaz were also successful for the Buckeyes, defeating their opponents by the same score of 6-1.OSU also set the tone in the singles matches with Callahan leading the way with a perfect 6-0, 6-0 score. Mendez was also perfect on the match with a two-set sweep against sophomore Balint Zsidai.Redshirt-sophomore Ralf Steinbach and Reist also secured victories for the Buckeyes with Diaz coming out on top of a battle with NKU’s Mate Virag. Diaz struggled fighting off three straight break points in the second set, taking the match 6-1, 6-4.The Buckeyes remained consistent as they faced off against the Youngstown State Penguins late Sunday.Mendez and Reist gained some college exposure by winning their doubles match 6-0. Doubles teams of Diaz and Callahan along with Steinbach and sophomore Herkko Pollanen also won for the Buckeyes.In singles against the Penguins, OSU’s Callahan, Diaz and Mendez each picked up wins. Steinbach finished off the match with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) win over Hugo Morth.Redshirt-senior Kevin Metka said OSU’s main goal is to build on the success from last season, helped by two big wins to start off the year.“We’re just hoping to match what we had last year,” Metka said. “We are looking to win the season, the Big Ten and the tournament.”With those lofty goals, he added that leadership will be key for another strong season.“We need to continue the good leadership we had last year,” Metka said. “We need to fight for each other and play each match as it is instead of looking on to the next one.”With it being his final year with the Buckeyes, Metka said he wants to “cross the T’s and dot the I’s.”“I’m going to give the Buckeyes everything I have, and just take the team as far as I can,” he said.The Buckeyes are set to return to the Varsity Tennis Center on Wednesday agaisnt Butler at noon and Xavier at 6 p.m.

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