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Men’s Tennis: No. 4 Buckeyes defeat Columbia 4-0 in second round, advance to Super Regional against USC

The Lantern
Ohio State junior Justin Boulais forehands a return during his singles match against Tennessee freshman Shunsuke Mitsui at the Ty Tucker Tennis Center Feb. 5. Ohio State won 4-0. Credit: Casey Smith | Lantern TV Sports Producer

Ohio State women’s tennis clinched a dominant NCAA Tournament victory , and just three hours later, the men’s team punched its ticket to the Super Regional round.

The No. 4-seed Buckeyes (26-3, 7-0 Big Ten) swept Columbia (15-9, 4-3 Ivy League) 4-0 Saturday on the outdoor courts at the Auer Tennis Complex, earning their fifth-consecutive shutout win..

Ohio State won the doubles point, but didn’t even need a win from the No. 2-ranked doubles team in the country in the form of graduate Matej Vocel and junior Robert Cash.

Instead, the Buckeyes got simultaneous 6-3 victories on courts 2 and 3.

Junior Justin Boulais and redshirt junior Andrew Lutschaunig clinched their match over Columbia junior Roey Tabet and freshman Max Westphal. While applause from the home crowd still roared, it erupted louder for sophomore JJ Tracy and junior Cannon Kingsley, who gave Ohio State the 1-0 lead with their win over sophomores Roko Horvat and Alex Kotzen.

Boulais followed up with his second win of the day, giving the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead with his 6-2, 6-2 singles win on court 6 against Horvat.

Ohio State No. 122 graduate Jake Van Emburgh extended his singles win streak to five, as he was the second Buckeye to win in straight sets. Van Emburgh ran up to the net, fired back a few returns before gently dropping a shot in play to finish off his 6-4, 6-3 win against sophomore Henry Ruger.

No. 13 Vocel trailed 5-1 in the first set against Columbia freshman Hugo Hashimoto. He closed the gap to 5-3 before Hashimoto won the set-deciding sixth game.

From that point on, though, Vocel won 12 of the next 15 sets to secure the 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory on senior day. He has now won 11 of his last 12 singles matches.

No. 19 Tracy was just two sets away from victory when the match was stopped, leading Westphal 3-6, 6-3, 4-1.

No. 46 Trotter and Lions senior Austen Huang were tied 2-2 in the third set.

On court 1, No. 9 Kingsley and Columbia No. 22 Kotzen had perhaps the most eventful of the unfinished matches. Kotzen battled through an ankle injury he suffered in the first set, and the two had no shortage of trash talk for one another throughout the match.

Kingsley led 40-15 in the 11th game of set 2 after winning the first set 6-3.

Ohio State will face USC in the Super Regional round at noon May 14 at the Auer Tennis Complex.

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