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Feb. 8, 2005

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Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team (2-2, 0-0 Big Ten) returns from a one-week hiatus to battle a pair of ranked non-conference opponents. The Buckeyes begin the weekend with a match against No. 26 William and Mary at 4 p.m. Saturday, then face No. 31 Georgia Tech at noon Sunday. Both matches will be played at the Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Scouting William and Mary
William and Mary (3-0, 0-0 CAA) is coached by Kevin Epley. The No. 26 Tribe has out-scored its three opponents 20-1 this season and is led by a trio of ranked singles players: No. 33 Megan Moulton-Levy, No. 36 Megan Muth and No. 110 Lena Sherbakov. Moulton-Levy, a freshman, leads the team with 14 wins overall.

In doubles, Muth and Amy Wei form the No. 10 duo in the nation as they have compiled a record of 12-7. No. 22 Candice Fuchs and Moulton-Levy also possess 12 wins as a team this season.

Last season, the Buckeyes went on the road to knock off the then-No. 16-ranked Tribe, 4-3, in the only previous meeting between the schools.

Scouting Georgia Tech
Brian Shelton coaches the No. 31-ranked Yellow Jackets (2-0, 0-0 ACC). Georgia Tech boasts a pair of ranked singles players – No. 18 Kristi Miller (25-3) and No. 79 Kelly Anderson (13-5).

In doubles, Anderson and Lyndsay Shosho are ranked No. 58 in the country with a record of 6-4.

Georgia Tech is 2-0 all-time against Ohio State, including a 7-0 win last season in Atlanta.

Last Time Out
Sophomores Sonia Ruzimovsky (Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Tech) and Kristin Messmer (So., Lutherville, Md./McDonogh) both posted 2-0 singles records over the weekend as Ohio State split a pair of matches Jan. 29. In the Buckeyes’ loss to Western Michigan, Messmer swept Rheedhina Parekh, 6-3, 6-4, at the No. 4 position while Ruzimovsky beat Saruta, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 6. Later in the day, Messmer shut out Gina Peretti, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 4, and Ruzimovsky improved to 3-0 on the spring season with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Nicole Muzechuk at the No. 5 position as Ohio State shut out Youngstown State, 7-0.

Early Leaders
After four spring season matches, sophomore Sonia Ruzimovsky is 3-0. She continues to lead the team in singles victories with a career-high 13.

In doubles, Lindsey Adams (Sr., Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) is Ohio State’s individual leader with nine wins. Kristin Messmer and Ruzimovsky are the top Buckeye duo with a record of 5-2.

Winning Trend
Ohio State’s best production this season has come from the bottom half of the singles lineup. While the Nos. 1-3 postions are an even 6-6 through four dual matches, the Buckeyes playing at Nos. 4-6 have compiled a record of 9-3.

Sophomores Sonia Ruzimovsky and Kristin Messmer have both contributed two wins to that total, playing at No. 6 and No. 4, respectively.

Merzbacher Reaches 250 Wins
Ohio State’s win over Cleveland State marked a milestone for head coach Chuck Merzbacher.

The 7-0 victory was Merzbacher’s 250th in his now 16-plus years as a college head coach.

Since beginning his career at 1989-90 at Northern Illinois, Merzbacher is 251-155.

Home Cooking
With 14 home matches this season, Ohio State will hope to continue its recent dominance in Columbus, where the team has won at a .750 percentage during the last two seasons and is 2-2 this season.

In only nine home matches a year ago, the Buckeyes posted a 7-2 record, with both losses coming at the hands of teams ranked in the Top 20.

Freshmen Get It Going
A trio of Ohio State freshmen earned their first collegiate singles wins during the fall season.

Caitlin O’Keefe (Fr., Troy, Mich./Troy) earned a three-set victory over Emily Vest of Middle Tennessee State, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, for her first win Sept. 17 in Knoxville, Tenn., in the first round of the University of Tennessee/St. Mary’s Fall Classic.

The following weekend at the Kentucky Fall Classic in Lexington, Ky., Silvia Prajescu (Fr., Dollard-Des-Orneaux, Quebec/Des-Sources) beat Alex de Guzman of William and Mary, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, for her first victory.

On Oct. 10 at the Eck Classic in South Bend, Ind., it was Nidhi Shah’s (Fr., Mumbai, India/Mithibai College) turn to break into the win column, topping Virginia’s Dora Bechliwanis in an eight-game pro set, 8-6.

Auburn Match On the Move
The Feb. 19 match with Auburn, originally schedule to be played at 6 p.m. off-campus because of a conflict with the Ohio State men’s tennis team, has been moved back to campus. The match now is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Stickney Tennis Center (outdoor) or the Jesse Owens West Recreation Center (indoor).

Recruiting News
The Buckeyes have signed two student-athletes, Julie Blackmore, a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Julie Voss, a senior from San Angelo, Texas, who attends St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, to NCAA National Letters of Intent to attend Ohio State and join the Buckeyes tennis team beginning in Fall 2005.

Blackmore is ranked No. 47 in the nation and No. 11 in Florida in the Girls’ Under-18 USTA rankings. She is a three-time state champion in singles and doubles in Division 2A and reached the Round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles at the National Clay Courts meet in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this year. Blackmore, whose father, Bob, is an Ohio State alumnus, also is on the honor roll.

Voss, who plays for St. Stephen’s Tennis Academy, has been ranked in the Top 10 in Texas since age 10 and is ranked No. 9 in the state in the Girls’ Under-18 age group. She has been ranked as high as No. 14 nationally and recently advanced to the round of 16 of the International Tennis Federation tournament in El Paso, Texas. Voss also is a top student and a talented musician.

Adams, O’Keefe, Ruzimovsky Succeed At ITA Midwest Regional
Three Buckeyes stood out Oct. 21-23 at the ITA Midwest Regional tournament in Minneapolis, Minn.

In singles, Sonia Ruzimovsky won three matches, over Mallory Stemle of IUPUI (6-1, 6-1), Pavlina Akritas of Illinois (6-2, 6-2) and Reedhina Parekh of Western Michigan (6-2, 5-7, 6-4), to qualify for the 64-player main draw.

In doubles, senior Lindsey Adams and freshman Caitlin O’Keefe teamed up to advance to the Round of 16 with victories over Minnesota’s Jane Anderson and Nischela Reddy, 8-3, in round one before beating Michelle Cunningham and Mallory Stemle of IUPU by an 8-4 margin in round two. O’Keefe and Adams were knocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals after dropping a close 9-7 decision to Lindsay Martin and Katie McGaffigan of Wisconsin.

Messmer and Ruzimovsky Lead Way at Eck Classic
Sonia Ruzimovsky led the Buckeyes last weekend at the Eck Classic in South Bend, Ind., by winning seven total matches. Sunday, Ruzimovsky and Kristin Messmer combined to beat Virginia’s Lauren Brech and Rachel Del Priore, 8-2, to close out a perfect 4-0 doubles weekend that also included wins over Notre Dame’s Liz Donohoe and Bailey Louderback, 8-1, Michigan State’s Pascale Schnitzer and Karen Gustafson, 8-2, and Kansas’ Luiza Loureiro and Stephanie Smith, 8-3.

In singles, Ruzimovsky beat Loureiro in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, Friday, Schnitzer in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, Saturday and Bruch,2-6, 7-6, 1-0(3), on Sunday.

Kentucky Fall Tournament Recap
The Buckeyes faced stiff competition Oct. 1-3 at the Kentucky Fall Classic in Lexington, Ky. Competing on the Wildcats’ home courts, Ohio State was led by the senior tandem of Lindsay Bryan and Meredith Vincent, who claimed the title in the green flight. In the flight championship match, Bryan and Vincent (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Virginia Tech) beat host Kentucky’s Foster and Sober, 9-7. The Buckeye duo reached the final with a pair of 8-6 victories over Marshall and White of Louisville and Yan and de Guzman of William and Mary.

Silvia Prajescu and Kristin Messmer led the Buckeyes in singles, both posting three victories against just one defeat.

Youngsters Lead Singles at Tennessee
Competing for the first time since losing four seniors from the 2003-04 squad to graduation, the Buckeyes were led by a pair of underclassmen who both earned a pair of victories at the University of Tennessee/St. Mary’s Fall Classic Sept. 17-19 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Sophomore Sonia Ruzimovsky and freshman Caitlin O’Keefe earned third place finishes with Day Three victories in their flights. Competing in Flight Six, Ruzimovsky swept Bonnie Baird of Furman, 7-6, 6-1, for her second victory of the weekend while O’Keefe earned her second win by topping fellow-Buckeye Lindsay Bryan, 6-5, 6-4, in Flight Three. Ruzimovsky also dispatched Alisha Talbot of Wake Forest and O’Keefe beat Emily Vest of Middle Tennessee State in first round action.

Returnees See Doubles Success
In contrast to singles action at Tennessee, Ohio State’s doubles play was dominated by upperclassmen. The senior doubles team of Emily DeCamilla and Lindsey Adams picked up two wins, a number matched by another upperclassmen duo, Emily Howard and Meredith Vincent.

DeCamilla and Adams beat Marti Morris and Mary Neill Hagood of Furman, 9-7, on Day Two to earn fifth place in Flight One. They also topped Barbara Orlay and Julia Roach of North Carolina State previously.

Vincent and Howard defeated Emily Vest and Claudia Szabo of Middle Tennessee State, 8-4, in Round One of Flight Three and teammates Silvia Prajescu and Lindsay Bryan in a third place match.

Next Up
After facing the Tribe and the Yellow Jackets, Ohio State will close out its season-opening seven-match homestand by facing Auburn at 4 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in Columbus, Ohio.