Around the Oval is Eleven Warriors' weekly love letter to Ohio State sports that don't get the coverage they should.
In a week that promised to be incredibly exciting for Buckeye fans with the men's tennis, men's lacrosse and baseball teams all competing in important matchups, it was the Ohio State rowing team that made the biggest splash, winning the Big Ten Championship for the fourth time.
Five heats of the seven heats were won by the Buckeyes, who compiled 160 points to better second-placed Michigan's total of 135. The first novice eight secured Ohio State's first victory in the second race, beating Wisconsin by two seconds. They were followed by another win from the third varsity four, six seconds ahead of Michigan.
Two wins out of the first four races is a pretty decent return, but it was the Scarlet & Gray's sweep of the final three that really handed them the conference title. The first varsity four and the second varsity eight won their heats by a combined 16 seconds, giving them a seven-point lead going into the last race of the day, the first varsity eight. Once again, the Buckeyes were too much for their opponents, and they won the heat by 10 seconds and the Big Ten with it.
After the competition, Ohio State's Claire-Louise Bode, Allison Elber, and Eelkje Miedema were named First Team All-Big Ten, while Corinne Meinert and Holly Norton made the second team. Next weekend the team finishes their season by competing in the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.
A brilliant run ends...
Saturday the Ohio State men's tennis team take on USC in the NCAA quarter-final. The Trojans, who had won the past four National Championships, gave the Buckeyes the toughest fight they'd seen in over a month. In the doubles, the Trojans made the Bucks as they split the first two matchups before Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen pulled out a victory to give OSU the point. USC started their comeback in singles competition, with Connor Smith, Chris Diaz and Constantin Christ coming up short. Luckily, McCarthy, Blaz Rola and finally Peter Kobelt all found a way to overcome their opponents and give Ohio State the terrific 4-3 win.
Then it was onto the semis to face the number one team in nation, the UCLA Bruins. For most of the season, Ohio State's opponents didn't have a chance when it came to the doubles competition, but UCLA showed just why they were ranked No. 1, winning the first two matches and taking the doubles point in no time at all.
From there the Bruins won the first singles match to take a 2-0 lead, but Ohio State got their first point when McCarthy won his match. Another Bruin victory followed, but behind Kobelt and Rola the Buckeyes made sure things went to the final pairing. It came down to Kobeltto help Ohio State advance for the second straight round, but this time he couldn't conjure up the same heroics. He fell to Marcos Giron, and Ohio State's incredible season ended with a 4-3 loss.
The defeat still doesn't do any harm to the outstanding milestones this team achieved over the course of the year, which included extending their home winning streak to ten years, and winning both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. Hats off to all the boys on an unforgettable year.
Three of those boys still had some tennis left to play after the semi-final loss. Peter Kobelt, Blaz Rola and Connor Smith dusted themselves off and began competing in the NCAA Individual Championships this week. The duo of Kobelt and Smith lost their first matchup, but both Kobelt and Rola advanced to the last 16 of the singles competition and will compete today.
...And so does another
Like the tennis team, the men's lacrosse squad were in the midst of their own NCAA tournament run. After a first round win against Towson, they faced Cornell in the quarter-final.
Before the Buckeyes even realized they were in the last eight they found themselves down a goal, Cornell's Steven Mock opening the scoring in no time at all. Two minutes later David Planning scored his 17th of the year and it seemed like Ohio State were back in it after being caught off guard so early. Unfortunately, Cornell's quick goal was no fluke: The Big Red scored five unanswered, including three more from Mock, and led 6-1 at the end of the first quarter.
Even though Turner Evans scored the first goal of the second quarter in the Buckeyes' favor, the deficit was too much to overcome. Five goals in both the second and third periods put the contest beyond all doubt as Cornell moved on to the final four with a 16-6 victory.
A final record of 13-4 illustrates a huge success for Ohio State's lacrosse program, especially after having won only eight games each of the past two years. Their win against Towson was the first time the program had ever hosted an NCAA tournament game and it was their first tournament win of any kind since 2008. Well done to the entire squad, and especially to the seniors, who leave after securing the program's first ECAC title.
Nice to see you again
Last week the Ohio State baseball team needed just one win from their final two regular season games to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title. They hosted Indiana on Friday and Saturday, and after beating the Hoosiers on Thursday night it seemed as if the conference crown was very much within their reach.
Friday's game seemed to go according to plan; a two RBI singles in the fourth inning had put the Buckeyes ahead 2-0 heading into the ninth with the dominant Trace Dempsey returning to the mound. Somehow, the Hoosiers found a way through him and two hits later they were tied. In the bottom of the ninth the Buckeyes could only go three up, three down. The 10th saw Greg Greve take the hill for Ohio State, and he was roughed even more than Dempsey. A Nick Ramos grand slam did most of the damage as the Hoosiers scored five runs and clinched at least a share of the conference title with a 7-2 win.
Another crack at it then on Sunday, but this game was over much sooner than the night before. Indiana scored six in the first three innings to blow the game open and clinch their first outright Big Ten title since 1932 with an 8-1 win.
With the two losses, the Buckeyes received the number two seed in this week's Big Ten tournament, so they traveled to Target Field in Minneapolis to compete in their first-round game against Nebraska yesterday. Zach Ratcliff singled in second inning to give Ohio State the lead. Jacob Bosiokovic doubled in the sixth to restore their lead after Nebraska had tied it. But in the ninth it was déjà vu for Ohio State as Trace Dempsey blew another save after an RBI single by Bryan Peters tied the game. Luckily, Nebraska pitcher Dylan Vogt's location was nowhere to be found. After giving up a single, he walked two batters to load the bases. Troy Kuhn stepped up to the plate to try and win the game for the Scarlet & Gray, but even he must've been shocked at how simply the walk-off win came to be: Kuhn was walked on four straight pitches, and Vogt's nightmare was complete. The Buckeyes escaped with a 3-2 victory.
The win sets up a rematch against Indiana, with the winner moving onto the tournament final. The loser would have to win another game before they could get there, so in reality these two teams could wind up playing each other yet again. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The game against Indiana is tonight at 8:05 and will be brought to you live on BTN.