Top-seeded Ohio State shuts out Michigan, advances to championship final
April 29, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS - The No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes took their quest for the 2006 Big Ten Championship crown one step further on Saturday with a 4-0 win over No. 41 Michigan to advance to the title match for the third straight year.
In a rematch of last year's semifinal battle between Michigan and Ohio State, the top-seeded Buckeyes exacted another shut-out victory over the fourth-seeded Wolverines. Ohio State kicked off the match with all squads firing in doubles, giving up no more than three games in each eight-game proset match. OSU's No. 2 doubles team of Bryan Koniecko and Drew Eberly sailed to a 8-2 victory over Michigan's Ryan Heller and Andrew Mazlin to give the Buckeyes an early advantage.
The Buckeyes' top-ranked duo of Scott Green and Ross Wilson expected a point-for-point battle with 10th-ranked Matko Maravic and Brian Hung after a regular season meeting that was decided in a hard-fought tiebreaker, but the nation's best team did not waste any time closing out its 23rd win of the season in an 8-3 decision. Green and Wilson found themselves trailing 2-0 before Green held serve on back-to-back aces to level the match at 3-all. The Buckeyes overpowered and out-finessed the Wolverines' top pair at the net and broke serve three times to take the win and clinch the doubles point for the Buckeyes. With the win, the tandem improved to 23-1 on the season, while the Buckeyes have won the doubles point in each of their 25 dual matches this year.
In the No. 1 singles match, Koniecko earned the first point in singles play when No. 39 Matko Maravic was forced to retire in the second set. The conference Freshman of the Year overcame a 4-1 deficit to take the first set 6-4, and he led 3-0 in the second when the match was called. No. 103 Steven Moneke stretched the Buckeyes' lead to three with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Mazlin. Devin Mullings' straight-set victory over Brian Hung in No. 3 singles sealed the Buckeyes' victory. The 118th-ranked Mullings improved to 10-2 in Big Ten play.
Ohio State (24-1) advances to the Big Ten Championship final match, and will face the winner of the second semifinal match between second-seeded Illinois and sixth-seeded Penn State on Sunday at noon.
Ohio State (1) def. Michigan (4), 4-0