COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 58th-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday to face Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament hosted by the University of Michigan. The Buckeyes, seeded fourth in the event, downed the fifth-seeded Badgers, 5-2, at home April 15.
The tournament semifinals are set for Saturday, with Ohio State’s half of the bracket playing at 10 a.m. The tournament final will be played at noon Sunday.
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The 2011 Big Ten Tournament The Buckeyes enter as the tournament’s No. 4 seed, the team’s highest seeding since finishing tied for second in the conference in 2004.
Michigan tops the seeding for the event, followed by Northwestern at No. 2. The Wolverines swept through Big Ten play, finishing 10-0 in conference matches while the Wildcats finished 9-1. Michigan will take on the winner of the bout between No. 8 Minnesota and No. 9 Iowa. Northwestern squares off against either No. 7 Indiana or No. 10 Penn State.
Third-seeded Purdue downed the Buckeyes, 4-3, April 24 to earn the tiebreaker after both teams finished 7-3 in conference action. The Boilermakers will face the winner of the match between No. 6 Illinois and No. 11 Michigan State.
Tournament Coverage The Big Ten Network will broadcast the tournament final at 10 a.m. on Saturday May 7 on tape delay.
Live stats from each match can be found by visiting the tournament home page at MGoBlue.com or linked from the women’s tennis schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Buckeyes in the Big Ten Tournament Ohio State has reached the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in each of the last four seasons. The Buckeyes have earned eight Big Ten tournament victories under current head coach Chuck Merzbacher.
Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Ohio State holds an 11-30 record all-time against the Badgers after defeating Wisconsin, 5-2, at home April 15. The Scarlet and Gray have never beaten Wisconsin twice in one season.
The Badgers and Buckeyes last faced off in the Big Ten tournament in 1998 when Wisconsin advanced with a 4-1 victory.
TOP OF THE CHARTS Sophomore Fidan Manashirova leads the Buckeyes in singles wins this season with 26, followed by classmates Gabby Steele and Kara Cecil, who have each racked up 21 victories. The doubles tandem of Cecil and Noelle Malley holds the team lead in doubles victories with 16. The duo of Paloma Escobedo and Cami Hubbs notched 10 doubles wins through the regular season.
Previewing the Badgers The Badgers have won their last three matches since falling to the Buckeyes April 15 in Columbus, Ohio. Wisconsin has seen a trio of players inherit the No. 1 singles spot this year. Most recently, freshman Jenny Hois has played the top position, accumulating a 5-5 record while sharing the team lead with 14 singles victories overall. Classmate Nicky Stracar has earned a 7-4 record at No. 1 while sophomore Hannah Berner is 1-0 at No. 1 singles.
The doubles tandem of Berner and Jessica Seyferth leads the team with 16 wins, 40 percent of the teams 40 doubles victories.
THE 2011 SENIOR CLASS As the senior Buckeyes wrap up their collegiate careers, here are some fun facts on the duo of Cami Hubbs and Paloma Escobedo:
Hubbs and Escobedo kicked off their collegiate careers with a bang, landing themselves at the top of the Ohio State singles and doubles wins list for freshmen. Hubbs sits atop the singles wins list with 36 victories and the doubles wins list with 28 wins. Escobedo is second on the doubles list with 27 victories. Hubbs’ 36 wins as a freshman are also the most in a season for any Buckeye.
Both have earned team Most Valuable Player honors as a Buckeye. Hubbs picked up the award following her record-breaking 2008 campaign and Escobedo earned the accolade in 2010.
With 76 career singles victories, Hubbs is eighth in the Ohio State record book. Her 81 career doubles victories put her in 10th place all-time. Escobedo, Hubbs’ doubles partner this year, has recorded 78 career doubles wins, good for 13th all-time. Escobedo’s 65 singles victories tie her with Ann Beaudoin (1979-81) for 16th.
Hubbs has competed in doubles in every Big Ten match since joining the team. Escobedo has played no lower than No. 2 singles in her collegiate career and before this season had not missed singles competition in a Big Ten match.
Escobedo and Hubbs have been a part of 65 team wins so far. That total follows only the 2003 senior class (66 wins) and the 2010 senior class (70 wins). The duo played a part in breaking multiple team records. Last year, the Buckeyes set records for most wins (20), most shutouts (10), most consecutive shutouts (four) and highest team ranking (17).
The seniors are the first class since 2005 to compete in at least three NCAA tournaments. Escobedo and Hubbs helped the Buckeyes win their first NCAA tournament game since 2004 last year when Ohio State defeated DePaul, 4-1, in the first round.
IN THE RANKINGS Four teams from the Big Ten Conference are ranked in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Polls announced April 26.
Rank School 10 Michigan 19 Northwestern 58 Ohio State 61 Purdue
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE The Buckeyes finished 10-2 at home this season and notched three shutouts while playing inside the OSU Varsity Tennis Center. OSU won those 10 matches by a combined score of 60-10.
Ohio State opened the season with consecutive 7-0 victories against Cincinnati and Cleveland State Jan. 23 before whitewashing William & Mary at home Feb. 13.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS The Buckeyes have accumulated a 49-18 (.731) record at the No. 4-6 singles positions this season, including a 17-6 ledger at No. 4.
Gabby Steele is 9-1 at No. 4 this season while Fidan Manashirova is 9-1 at No. 5. Manashirova, Cami Hubbs, Tiffany Dittmer and Noelle Malley have combined to post a 16-6 record at No. 6. Dittmer scored the first dual-match victory of her collegiate career March 20 against South Florida’s Kate Parker. Malley notched her first dual-match victory March 25 against Cassandra Escobar of Iowa in Ohio State’s 6-1 win.
LEADING THE WAY Ohio State women’s tennis seniors Paloma Escobedo and Cami Hubbs were named captains of the 2011 team, head coach Chuck Merzbacher announced. Along with the two seniors, junior Kelsey Haviland joins the group as an assistant captain.
“All three have been leaders throughout their careers and are committed to taking our program to even higher heights,” Merzbacher said. “They all represent the university, athletics department and team on and off the court with class and sportsmanship.”