After a season that ended with a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina in the NCAA quarterfinals, Ohio State lost one of the best players in collegiate tennis. J.J. Wolf turned pro last July, leaving a team that swept through the Big Ten but ultimately fell short of its final goal.
Ohio State, even without its star last year, was undoubtedly one of the best teams in the nation. But Wolf was the athlete that was able to bring the Buckeyes to the top. Without him, a true run for another championship this year seemed unlikely.
And then the season started.
It was never really fair to write off the Buckeyes. Ohio State returned John McNally and Kyle Seelig, both of which ended the season ranked in the top-75 a year ago. Also, the Bucks signed Cannon Kingsley, the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2019 recruiting cycle.
Ohio State is undefeated and has beaten four top-10 teams this season, including Texas and USC when both were ranked No. 1, as well as Texas A&M and Wake Forest. The Buckeyes' win over the Demon Deacons last night secured them a spot in the final four of the ITA Indoor Championship, a tournament Ohio State won a year ago.
Individually, Ohio State has four of the top-75 collegiate singles players (McNally, Kingsley, Seelig, Trotter) and the best doubles team (Cash/McNally) in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, making it one of the deepest rosters in the country. Kingsley has already beaten the nation's top player and won National Player of the Week honors last week.
The Buckeyes also feature a legendary coach, Ty Tucker, who has been the head coach at Ohio State since 2000 and won 14 straight Big Ten Championships. Tucker's win yesterday was the 600th of his career.
In case you missed it last night, the thrilling 4-3 win over Wake Forest was the 600th of Ty Tucker's career.— Ohio State M Tennis (@OhioStateMTEN) February 16, 2020
He is 600-87 (.873) in his 21st season. pic.twitter.com/ce8p0dyJp4
The Buckeyes will be competing in the ITA Indoor semifinals later today, and, if they win, will be competing for their second indoor national championship in as many years on Monday. Ohio State's depth has pushed it to 10 wins already this season and over the next two days, we'll see if it can propel the Buckeyes to a national championship.