COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 50th-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (6-4, 1-0 Big Ten) hosts Louisville (7-4, 2-1 Big East) at home in the OSU Varsity Tennis Center (880 Henderson Road) at 6 p.m. Friday.
Follow the match online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Click the livestats button next to the match on the schedule page for women’s tennis. Also follow the Buckeyes on Twitter at @OhioState_WTEN.
The next home match for Ohio State is March 20 in a doubleheader against South Florida and Eastern Michigan. The Buckeyes face USF at 11 a.m. and EMU at 6 p.m., with play scheduled for the OSU Varsity Tennis Center.
OHIO STATE IN THE BOOKS
13-3: 2010 regular season record vs. non-conference opponents
5-4: 2011 regular season record vs. non-conference opponents
6-4: 2011 season record
4-0: 2011 home record
7-1: all-time vs. Louisville
A GLANCE AT THE CARDINALS
“They’re a strong Big East team with a lot of tradition,” Ohio State head coach Chuck Merzbacher said of Louisville. “They have a tough schedule, they’re competitive and they always play hard.”
The Cardinals opened their 2011 campaign on a five-match win streak before dropping four in a row, three of the losses coming by a 4-3 margin. Louisville is 2-1 against Big East opponents after downing West Virginia and Rutgers at home.
Julia Fellerhoff leads the Cardinals at the top position in singles, accumulating 23 wins this season. Fellerhoff has been a staple at the No. 1 doubles position as well, playing alongside Rebecca Shine and Mandy Brown. The duo of Fellerhoff and Brown is ranked 30th nationally, while the tandem of Fellerhoff and Shine have compiled a 4-2 record while playing at the top position.
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2011 BLUE GRAY NATIONAL TENNIS CLASSIC
At the 2011 Blue Gray National Tennis Classic last weekend, Ohio State advanced to the semifinals with a first-round win against Auburn, 4-0, before falling in a 4-1 decision to tournament runner-up No. 9 Virginia.
In the third-place match Sunday, the Buckeyes faced off against Oklahoma. The 22nd-ranked Sooners claimed the match with a 4-0 victory.
“The tournament was fun-filled and exciting,” senior captain Paloma Escobedo said of the Blue Gray event. “It was something new with the host family aspect and the great experience of being around good, upper scale teams and some of the top-ranked players in the country.”
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Sophomore Fidan Manashirova leads Ohio State in singles wins (17) this season, followed by classmates Kara Cecil (14) and Gabby Steele (13).
In doubles, the tandem of Paloma Escobedo and Cami Hubbs hold the team lead with nine wins. The duo is 5-2 at No. 1 doubles this season. Noelle Malley and Kara Cecil are just a win behind Escobedo and Hubbs, with eight.
IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes enter the Louisville match ranked 50th in the nation according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association polls. The team began the season ranked 33rd before climbing as high as 30th.
Escobedo is ranked sixth in singles in the Midwest region, while junior Kelsey Haviland was polled at No. 15 regionally. The doubles duo of Haviland and sophomore Gabby Steele is ranked fourth in the region.
The tandem of Escobedo and Hubbs ranks 10th regionally.
LIKE ALL GOOD THINGS…
Fidan Manashirova pushed her win streak to 14 consecutive matches before dropping a 6-1, 6-0 decision to Oklahoma’s Marie-Pier Huet. Her streak was the longest since at least the 2007-08 season for any Buckeye in singles.
The streak began with a victory against Boston University’s Petra Santini at the Big Green Invite Nov. 5, 2010, and included wins against opponents from 13 schools, including teammate Kelsey Becker. Eleven of the 14 victories came in straight sets.
With 17 singles victories this season, the Elk Grove, Calif., native is just two wins shy of matching her mark from last year. Manashirova opened her 19-win freshman campaign on a seven-match win streak.
PUT IT IN THE BOOKS
Seniors Cami Hubbs and Paloma Escobedo are both primed to finish the season near the top of the all-time singles and doubles victories lists. Currently, Hubbs is tied with Kristin Peterson (’84-87) for 13th with 66 singles wins. With 64 singles victories, Escobedo is one win shy of tying Ann Beaudoin (’79-’81) and Kerry Singer (’94-’97) at No. 15.
“Ohio State is full of tradition,” Hubbs, a senior captain, said. “That’s part of the reason I came here. It’s special to be able to leave my mark in the record books.”
In doubles, Hubbs moved into 12th place with her 77th doubles victory against Auburn in the first round of the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. Erica Fisk (’01-’04) is one place ahead of Hubbs with 79 wins.
Escobedo is now tied with Lindsay Williams (‘01-‘04) and Angela DiPastina (’06-’09) for 13th with 76 career doubles wins.
The Buckeyes not only hold a 4-0 home record this season, but the team has also notched three shutouts while playing inside the OSU Varsity Tennis Center. 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. The lone non-shutout was a 6-1 victory against conference foe Penn State Feb. 11.
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 will join 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. It is going to be a successful year because of their love of Ohio State and our program.”