Ohio State's Home Winning Streak at Ten Years and Counting
by Colette Lewis
, 21 June 2013
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Few would argue that a streak of any significance owes something to luck. But as the Ohio State men's tennis team looks to extend their stretch of home victories past the current number of 172, what stands out is how few close calls the Buckeyes have had in that 10-year span.
Their last home loss, on April 5, 2003, courtesy of the University of Illinois
team that went on to win the NCAA team title the following month, was hardly considered a milestone at the time, with Ty Tucker just four years into the head coaching career that would establish the Buckeyes as one of the premier programs in the nation.
A few weeks after that loss to Craig Tiley's Fighting Illini, they squeezed past Minnesota 4-3. The Buckeyes posted a 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt in 2004 and extended their home winning streak to two full seasons in 2005, edging Minnesota, Notre Dame and Penn State by 4-3 scores that year. The next 144 wins have been much less stressful however, with only one, a victory over Texas A&M on March 7, 2010, ending 4-3.
Current Ohio State assistant coach Justin Kronauge clinched that match, the team's 99th straight at home, coming from a set down to defeat Alexis Klegou and make the score 4-2, with Aggie Jeff Dadamo completing a win over Dino Marcan for the 4-3 final.
Since then, the Buckeyes haven't surrendered more than 2 points in any dual match as they approach the NCAA record for most consecutive home wins in any Division I sport, 184, set by the Stanford women from 1999-2011.
Tucker can't pinpoint the reason for his team's success at home, but he does say it's not due to a particular facility, with the Buckeyes having played in various venues over the span of the streak.
"We played at a local club when we beat the University of Kentucky in a big match," recalled Tucker. "We played at the Jesse Owens West Rec Center, the Stickney Outdoor Center and now the new indoor varsity and outdoor varsity tennis centers.
"When we started we played in a four-court little wooden hut with space heaters on both sides and to stay warm you had to listen to those things drive you crazy for three hours, and there were maybe 15 people coming out," Tucker said.
"Now we have matches with 600 people out, so in ten years, you're able to look back and say wow, we've done a couple good things."
Tucker knows the student-athletes on the courts are more important than the location of the courts themselves.
"You're not going to do it without great players, and we've been able to get players who know there are no shortcuts," Tucker said.
Volunteer assistant coach David Schilling does see some benefit in the primarily indoor nature of Ohio State tennis.
"Our guys are obviously very used to the indoor courts, and I'd say 90 percent of those matches were indoors," said Schilling, who has been with the Buckeyes since 1999.