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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 33rd-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team took No. 27 SMU to the edge Monday afternoon, but ultimately fell 4-3 to the Mustangs (4-1) in a four-hour marathon match at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Knoxville, Tenn.

With the score knotted at 3-3, junior Buckeye Kelsey Haviland, ranked 125th in the nation in singles, battled Edyta Cieplucha for the match win on court two, but came up short in a 7-5 third set, falling 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-5.

The Buckeyes (2-2) took the doubles point for the third time out of four matches this season. Kara Cecil and Noelle Malley dispatched Ashley Turpin and Shahzoda Hatamova on court three, 8-3, before SMU’s twosome of Heather Steinbauer and Edyta Cieplucha responded with an 8-5 victory against the 50th-ranked duo of Kelsey Haviland and Gabby Steele on court two.

Paloma Escobedo and Cami Hubbs, ranked as the No. 64 tandem in the nation, held on in an 8-6 decision against Marta Lesniak and Aleks Malyarchikova to take the first point for the Buckeyes.

Malyarchikova avenged the doubles loss with a straight sets victory against Malley, 6-1, 6-1, to tie the score at one a piece. From there the match would go back and forth between the Mustangs and the Buckeyes.

Hubbs, a co-captain for the Buckeyes, wrapped up her own 6-1, 6-1 win on court six against Turpin. Ohio State now holds a 4-0 at the No. 6 position this season.

On court one, Lesniak, the No. 2 singles player in the nation, downed Escobedo, 6-4, 6-2, to tie the match once again.

The match hung in the balance as the final three matches on court (Nos. 2-4) extended into a third set. Cecil’s match on court three was the first to finish. The sophomore battled to a 7-5 tiebreaker win in the second set, but Steinbauer pulled away in the third to take the match, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2.

With a win on court four, Steele kept the Buckeyes in contention for the win with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory against Hatamova.

The Buckeyes travel next to Lexington, Ky., to face the University of Kentucky Feb. 9 before returning home to host Penn State Feb. 11 on Campus Kids’ Day and William & Mary Feb. 13.

Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs SMU
Jan 31, 2011 at Knoxville, Tenn.
(Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center)

#27 SMU 4, Ohio State 3
Singles competition
1. #2 Marta Lesniak (SMU) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 6-4, 6-2
2. Edyta Cieplucha (SMU) def. #125 Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 7-5
3. Heather Steinbauer (SMU) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2
4. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Shahzoda Hatamova (SMU) 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
5. Aleks Malyarchikova (SMU) def. Noelle Malley (OSU) 6-1, 6-1
6. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Ashley Turpin (SMU) 6-1, 6-1

Doubles competition
1. #64 Paloma Escobedo/Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Marta Lesniak/Aleks Malyarchikova (SMU) 8-6
2. Heather Steinbauer/Edyta Cieplucha (SMU) def. #50 Gabby Steele/Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 8-5
3. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU) def. Ashley Turpin/Shahzoda Hatamova (SMU) 8-3

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (5,6,1,3,4,2)