COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 17th-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team returns home to face Oregon (5-5) and California University (Pa.) (6-1) in a Sunday doubleheader inside the OSU Varsity Tennis Center (880 West Henderson Road). The Buckeyes take on the Ducks at 11 a.m. and the Vulcans at 6 p.m EST.
Ohio State is 2-1 all-time against Oregon. The last meeting came in Eugene, Ore., last season. The Scarlet and Gray took a 5-2 victory over the Ducks.
Emaunelle Cor owns the team lead in singles victories in the dual season with seven. Julia Metzger and Sabine Fuchs hold the team-high in doubles wins with seven through dual play.
Metzger, a freshman from Perrysburg, Ohio, has split time this season with Pavlina Smatova at the No. 1 singles position. Metzger has played at No. 1 the past three matches and holds a 3-3 record at the spot this year.
The key to Oregon’s success is found in doubles action. The Ducks are 5-0 this season when taking the doubles point.
A GLANCE AT THE VULCANS
This is the first contest between the Buckeyes and the Vulcans. California U. (Pa.) is the only Division II team the Buckeyes have faced this season. The squad began the season ranked 13th in the Division II rankings.
Galina Visknikina and Anastassiya Zherdeva lead the team with six singles wins each in dual match play. The two also pair to provide the team’s best in doubles victories with six.
The Vulcans own an unblemished 7-0 record at both the fourth and fifth singles positions.
Cal. U. finished 23-3 last season, advancing to the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. The Vulcans earned a NCAA quarterfinal berth before falling to Armstrong Atlantic State, 5-0. The team earned its fifth-consecutive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West title as well as a third-straight PSAC Team Championship. Head coach Pablo Montana garnered PSAC West Coach of the Year honors.
BUCKEYES RANKED NO. 17, BREAK PROGRAM RECORD
The Ohio State women’s tennis team climbed to new heights in the most recent Campbell’s/Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, earning a No. 17 ranking.
The Buckeyes moved up four spots from No. 21 last week to become the highest ranked squad in program history. The previous best of No. 19 was set during the 2000-01 season.
“This is the highest ranking in program history and I am very proud of this team,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said. “We have a challenging schedule ahead of us with many ranked teams on it, so we understand we’ll be in for many battles.”
Ohio State is one of 14 schools with both men’s and women’s teams ranked in the Top 25. The Scarlet and Gray men’s team is ranked No. 3 nationally.
LEADING THE PACK
Freshman Gabby Steele leads the Buckeyes in singles wins with 16, including a team-leading 10 in dual match play. The duo of Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs owns the team-high doubles wins with 10. Steele and classmate Fidan Manashirova are tied with Christina Keesey and Paloma Escobedo with 6 doubles wins during dual season.
THE DOUBLE TAKE
The Buckeyes are 4-0 in doubleheaders this year, all shutout victories. The squad shut out Xavier and Cleveland State in the season-opening doubleheader at home before traveling to Columbia, Mo., to take 6-0 and 7-0 victories over Memphis and Missouri, respectively.
In those four contests, the Buckeyes dropped only one match.
ODDS AND ENDS
Ohio State is 4-1 at home and 7-0 against teams outside of the Top 25 this season. The Scarlet and Gray are 2-3 against Top 25 opponents.
ROUNDING OUT THE ROTATION
The No. 5 and 6 spots have been perfect in the nine wins for the Buckeyes this season. Junior Cami Hubbs and freshman Kara Cecil began the trend at 5 and 6, respectively, in the season opening doubleheader against Xavier and Cleveland State. Since then, Gabby Steele and Fidan Manashirova have carried on the streak. Steele owns an unblemished 7-0 record in the seven other wins while Manashirova is 6-0 with one unfinished match against Memphis.
The Buckeyes own a combined 19-4 record at the fifth and sixth positions. They are 8-1 when the team earns points at both spots.
BUCKEYES FALL TO NOTRE DAME
The No. 17 Ohio State women’s tennis team (9-3) fell to No. 7 Notre Dame (8-1), 7-0, Wednesday afternoon in South Bend, Ind. The shutout was the first for the Buckeyes since May of last year in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky. The match was the second consecutive against a Top 10 opponent and the fifth of the season against a Top 25 team.
The Scarlet and Gray came into the match with their highest ranking in program history, but couldn’t pull off the upset of the highly ranked Irish who upset then-No. 1 ranked Northwestern last week. Notre Dame took the doubles point to jump out to a 1-0 lead after sweeping all three doubles matches. The freshman duo of Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele lost in doubles for the first time in dual match season, falling to Cosmina Ciobanu and Colleen Rielley of Notre Dame, 8-4, at No. 3.
The first and second OSU doubles teams fared no better. On the second court, the Irish tandem of Shannon Mathews and Chrissie McGaffigan downed Paloma Escobedo and Christina Keesey, 8-5. The Buckeyes’ top pair of Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs fought back from an early deficit, but ultimately fell to the eighth-ranked twosome of Kristy Frilling and Kali Krisik, 8-6.
The Irish flexed their might in singles as well, starting at the top matchup between No. 23 Kristy Frilling and No. 67 Kirsten Flower. Frilling took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Notre Dame’s Kristen Rafael then defeated Manashirova, 6-0, 6-3, on court six to move the Irish within one point of match victory. Mathews promptly provided the clinching point for Notre Dame, downing Escobedo on court two, 6-2, 6-0.
No. 114 Krisik continued the shutout with a straight sets victory over Haviland at the fourth spot, 6-4, 6-2. Keesey pushed her match against McGaffigan to a third set, but fell in the super-tiebreaker, 6-1, 4-6, 1-0. Court five’s matchup of Steele and Ciobanu was the last to finish, with Ciobanu finding herself on the winning side of a 6-4, 6-4 score to secure the shutout victory for the Irish and end Steele’s five match win streak.