The NCAA individual tennis tournaments are a grind, but Ohio State players no doubt wish they were even more fatigued for the start of them today.
Instead of playing for the NCAA team title on Tuesday, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Mikael Torpegaard and the other Buckeyes in the singles and doubles tournaments are trying to turn the page on heartbreaking losses in the team semifinals.
Ohio State’s men lost 4-2 to Virginia, and the Buckeyes women fell 4-3 to Stanford.
Di Lorenzo and Torpegaard are the top seeds in singles. It is the second straight year that Torpegaard is the No. 1 seed. The junior from Denmark lost in straight sets in the final last year to sixth-seeded Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA.
McDonald’s seeding was misleading. He had beaten a former two-time NCAA champion and had played professionally the previous fall.
“The guy was good,” Torpegaard said. “There wasn’t much I could do. It’s not something that keeps me up at night.”
Torpegaard, who is 36-4 this season, has been the anchor for the men’s team for two years.
“There’s a lot of pressure on him to win every match,” men’s coach Ty Tucker said. “You’ve got the target on your back with everyone trying to beat you. He’s been able to make it happen.”
The same applies to Di Lorenzo. The sophomore from New Albany is 74-6 in her Buckeyes career. One of those losses came in the round of 16 in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
“I was really disappointed with how I played,” Di Lorenzo said.
Perhaps Di Lorenzo’s biggest strength is her unrelenting embrace of grinding on the practice court. It may have caught up to her a year ago.
“Someone like Francesca wants to hit all the time,” women’s coach Melissa Schaub said. “You have to figure out your body and what it can take. At that point of the season, she was struggling physically.”
Di Lorenzo has lost only one match this season and is on a 21-match winning streak.
“I think she’s the best player in the country, but there are a lot of good players,” Schaub said. “What she’s done the last two years is play with the bull’s-eye on her back. She gets every person’s best shot.”
ITA honors Schaub
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association named Schaub National Coach of the Year on Tuesday. She led the Buckeyes to a second consecutive 11-0 record in Big Ten regular-season matches and the first NCAA semifinal appearance in program history.
Women's golf loses
The Ohio State women's golf team lost 3.5-1.5 to Southern California in a match-play quarterfinal at the NCAA Championships in Sugar Grove, Illinois.