Jan. 25, 2018
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 14-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team plays host to ITA Kick-off Weekend for the second year in a row, welcoming three teams to the Varsity Tennis Center (880 West Henderson Road) this weekend.
The Buckeyes will face Kansas at 10 a.m. Friday, followed by a match between No. 18 Arkansas and Wake Forest. The winners will meet at 4 p.m. Saturday, with the consolation match at 7 p.m. Saturday. The winner of the Columbus site earns a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, which will be hosted by Wisconsin.
Admission is free to all ITA Kickoff Weekend matches in Columbus. The No. 2-ranked Ohio State men’s team is also an ITA Kick-Off host. The Buckeye men will face Yale at 10 a.m. Saturday, with Tulsa and North Florida meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday. The men’s consolation match will be played at 9 a.m. Sunday, with the men’s championship match at noon Sunday.
— Ohio State W Tennis (@OhioState_WTEN) January 24, 2018
ITA Kick-Off Weekend
This is the eighth time Ohio State will compete in ITA Kick-Off Weekend (previously known as the ITA National Indoor Qualifier). Winners from the 15 host sites earn a spot in the ITA Team Indoor Championships.
Last season, the Buckeyes advanced to National Team Indoors with 4-0 wins over Florida State and Alabama in Columbus. In 2016, the Buckeyes beat Pepperdine and TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, to earn a spot at National Indoors for the second time in program history.
In 2014, Ohio State traveled to Coral Gables, Fla. The Buckeyes lost to No. 9 Miami in the first round and fell to South Florida in the consolation match. In 2012, the Buckeyes fell to host Florida State and Texas A&M in Tallahassee, Fla. The 2011 squad traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., where it fell to the host Volunteers and then dropped a close match to SMU in the consolation. In 2010 the Buckeyes headed to Fresno, Calif., where they upset Fresno State in the first round before falling to Florida State on day two. The 2009 team traveled to Durham, N.C., topping South Carolina, 4-3, on day one before falling to No. 9 Duke on day two.
Buckeyes in the Rankings
Redshirt freshman Shiori Fukuda was ranked in the most recent ITA Rankings, coming in at No. 80. She and classmate Maria Tyrina were slotted 30th in the doubles rankings. The senior duo of Anna Sanford and Olivia Sneed was No. 49 in the rankings. New individual rankings will be released Feb. 7. As a team, Ohio State started the year No. 13 in the first poll of 2018 and moved to No. 14 in the rankings released this week.
The Columbus ITA Kick-Off Weekend Teams
• Kansas opened its year with a 6-1 road loss to Michigan last weekend.
• The squad has four ranked singles players – No. 1 Anastasia Rychagova, No. 90 Janet Koch, No. 94 Despoina Vogasari and No. 112 Nina Khmelnitckaia. Rychagova and Khmelnitckaia are ranked 38th in doubles.
• Kansas was in Columbus last spring, when it faced Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling 4-3.
• Ohio State is 4-0 all-time vs. Kansas. The teams last met March 2, 2003 on the Jayhawks’ home court, a 4-3 Buckeye victory. The teams met in Columbus Feb. 17, 2002, a 6-1 Ohio State win.
• Wake Forest is 2-0 this year after wins over Furman and College of Charleston last Saturday.
• The Demon Deacons have two ranked players, with Eliza Omirou 70th and Emma Davis No. 72. The tandem of Omirou and Anna Ulyashchenko is No. 42 in doubles.
• The squad lost to Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
• Ohio State is 1-1 all-time vs. Wake Forest. The teams met Feb. 28, 2004 in Williamsburg, Va., a 5-2 Demon Deacon win. The first match between the teams was March 19, 1978 when Ohio State posted a 6-3 road victory.
• Arkansas opened its season with a 4-3 win over Tulsa Tuesday.
• In the ITA rankings, Léolia Jeanjean is No. 67 in singles and she and Giulia Pairone make up the 25th-ranked doubles team. Mia Jurasic and Ana Oparenovic are ranked 57th in doubles.
• The Razorbacks reached the NCAA Tournament second round a year ago with a win over Wichita State before falling to Oklahoma State, 4-0.
• The Buckeyes are 1-2 all-time vs. Arkansas. The teams last faced off Feb. 22, 2013, a 4-3 Buckeye road win. Arkansas won in Columbus in 2012 and in a match in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1988.
The Buckeyes in 2018
Ohio State began the year with two hidden dual tournaments, with three Buckeyes traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich., Jan. 13-15 and the whole squad competing in the Miami Spring Invite in Coral Gables, Fla., last weekend.
Junior Andrea Ballinger led the Buckeyes with three wins in the Michigan tournament.
In Miami, the Buckeyes were highlighted by three ranked wins in the tournament, with the doubles tandem of Shiori Fukuda and Anna Sanford downing the No. 19-ranked squad and Olivia Sneed and Fukuda both recording Top 30 singles wins.
Three new faces are on the Ohio State roster this year. Mary Beth Hurley joined the squad in the fall, while Emma DeCoste and Hannah Cseplo were added to the roster following fall semester. Hurley is a native of Novi, Michigan, while DeCoste hails from Stuart, Florida and Cseplo is from Concord, Ohio.
Hurley posted her first collegiate win at the Furman Debbie Southern Fall Classic in September and DeCoste notched her first victory as a Buckeye at the Michigan Invitational earlier this month. Cseplo played her first matches as a Buckeye last weekend in Miami.
Shiori Fukuda and Maria Tyrina both redshirted last spring after joining the team prior to spring semester and notched their first collegiate wins in the Furman tournament. Danielle Wolf, who started her career at Indiana before coming to Ohio State in Fall 2016, was a redshirt last year. She posted her first win for the Scarlet and Gray at Furman.
Schedule Change … Up Next
The Buckeyes’ home match vs. Kentucky has been pushed back a day and will now be played at 5 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 1) in the Varsity Tennis Center.
Next Sunday (Feb. 4), Ohio State will host Notre Dame at noon in the VTC.