No. 8 Texas (14-4) has preached its eagerness to take on the best teams in the country since day one.
That chance presents itself Wednesday when the Longhorns host No. 2 Ohio State (16-1) at Caswell Tennis Center.
Texas is fresh off one of its biggest wins of the season after the Longhorns edged out No. 13 California, 4-3 in the Bay Area. Sophomore Leonardo Telles prevailed in a dramatic 6-7, 7-5, 6-2 comeback over Cal’s T.J. Nishimura to give his team the win.
But Ohio State presents an entirely different challenge for the Longhorns. The Buckeyes boast the second spot in the nation, led by No. 1 singles player Mikael Torpegaard and No. 3 singles player Hugo Di Feo.
“Our guys have a lot of respect for Ohio State,” head coach Michael Center said. “We'll have to come out and compete at all nine spots if we're going to have a chance against them.”
The Longhorns have had their struggles with Ohio State in the past. Texas got blown out of the stadium last year in a 4-0 road loss.
The team got a second shot at the Buckeyes in the third round of the NCAA Championship, but the Longhorns came up just short in a 4-3 heartbreaker that ended their season.
“We’ve had some great matches with Ohio State the last few years,” Center said. “We enjoy competing against them, but you have to bring your best or they’ll get all over you.”
The match also marks the first outdoor home stand for Texas after the previous two matches scheduled to be played at Caswell were relocated due to unfit weather conditions.
The forecast is calling for nothing but sunny skies in Austin come Wednesday, so expect the burnt orange home crowd to be out in full effect – rooting on its Longhorns.
“It's hard to believe we haven't played an outdoor match at home this season,” Center said. “I know the guys would love for everybody to come out, have some lunch and enjoy the great weather and fantastic tennis.”
The first serve for Texas’ match against Ohio State is scheduled for 1 p.m.