COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 30 Ohio State women’s tennis team (12-3, 1-0 Big Ten) continues its conference slate with a match with 57th-ranked Purdue (9-1, 1-1 Big Ten) at 1 p.m. EST Friday at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind.
A HISTORY OF THE SERIES
The Buckeyes own a 23-19 all-time record against the Boilermakers, including a 9-5 mark under the tutelage of head coach Chuck Merzbacher. Ohio State has taken the last three matches against Purdue, including a narrow 4-3 victory in Columbus last season.
Purdue opened the spring season with nine-consecutive wins under head coach Tim Madden, including a victory over then-No. 53 Harvard, before falling to top-ranked Northwestern.
Sophomore Jennifer Rabot leads the team in singles victories with 18, including an unblemished 10-0 dual record at the No. 2 position. Against Northwestern, Rabot upset 31st-ranked Samantha Murray in three sets to retain a 2-0 record against ranked opponents.
Rabot and teammate Michelle Sammons combine to form Purdue’s top twosome in doubles, with a team-leading nine wins at the No. 1 position. The duo was unbeaten before falling to Murray and Elena Chernyakova of Northwestern last week.
Sammons competes at the top singles position for the Boilermakers and holds a 6-4 record at the spot this spring. Sammons is on a three-match losing streak after facing three ranked opponents.
IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes fell to No. 30 in the most recent Campbell’s/Intercollegiate Tennis Association polls, despite their three-match win streak.
Earlier this season, the Scarlet and Gray set a program record when they reached No. 17 in the rankings.
With one more shutout victory, the Buckeyes will tie a single-season program record for shutout wins. The record is currently at eight, set during the 1978-79 season under Barbara Mueller and tied by Merzbacher’s 2006-07 squad.
The Scarlet and Gray earned their seventh shutout against Penn State last week in State College, Pa.
PLAYING LIGHTS OUT
Kirsten Flower, Kelsey Haviland and Gabby Steele retained their lead in singles victories after the win against Penn State last week, now with 11 victories each. Flower has won all 11 matches at No. 1, including a 4-5 record against ranked opponents. Overall, Steele and classmate Fidan Manashirova share a team-high 17 singles wins.
Steele and Manashirova have earned nine doubles victories this spring season, tied with Paloma Escobedo and Christina Keesey for the team best. The freshman duo also shares a lead of overall doubles victories this season (12) with Haviland and Cami Hubbs.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
The team has performed exceptionally well this season against unranked teams and lower ranked squads. The Scarlet and Gray own a 9-0 record against lower ranked teams, with a combined score of 55-5.
Six of the nine wins have been shutouts for the Buckeyes.
ODDS AND ENDS
Ohio State is 12-0 this season when winning the doubles point and 11-0 when Flower has won at the No. 1 position.
With the win over Lauren McCarthy of Penn State last Friday, senior Christina Keesey moved into sole ownership of seventh place on Ohio State’s all-time career singles wins chart, passing former Buckeye Angela DiPastina. With four more victories, Keesey will tie Linda Magid at No. 6.
With 72 victories, Keesey is just one win shy of tying former Buckeye Caitlin O’Keefe at No. 13 in career doubles wins.
HIT THE ROAD
The match at Purdue is the second of four-consecutive road games for the Buckeyes. The team defeated Penn State last week in State College, Pa., and after playing Purdue the Scarlet and Gray will hit the road for two matches over spring break. The team will meet Long Beach State March 23 and then head to Texas for a matchup with Rice March 27. The squad will be back in action in Columbus in a month when it hosts Minnesota and Iowa April 2 and 4, respectively.
After just four matches in March, the Buckeyes will play eight dual matches (four at home, four on the road) in April leading up to the Big Ten tournament that begins April 29 in Iowa City.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
The Buckeyes have experienced tremendous fan support this season, ranking in the Top 10 in both total and average attendance in 2010. Ohio State ranks sixth in total attendance with 760, just five behind Tulsa. The Scarlet and Gray average 109 fans per match, ranking eighth in the country.
The Big Ten is well represented in the rankings, with four of the top 10 teams. Ohio State is also one of only four programs with both the men and women’s teams ranked in the top 10 of total attendance this season.
Women’s Attendance Race
Washington State 839
Notre Dame 813
Ohio State 760
Florida State 218
Notre Dame 116
Ohio State 109
BUCKEYES SHUT OUT NITTANY LIONS
The No. 21 Ohio State women’s tennis team (12-3, 1-0 Big Ten) opened its conference slate with a 7-0 victory over Penn State (2-8, 0-2 Big Ten) last Friday evening in University Park, Pa. The win is the team’s fifth-consecutive over the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State opened play by sweeping doubles for the seventh time this season, taking the point and a 1-0 lead. Freshmen Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele finished first for the Scarlet and Gray, downing the Nittany Lion duo of Lauren McCarthy and Michaela Stracar, 8-1. The Buckeye tandem is now 9-1 this spring season, with a team-best doubles winning percentage (.900).
Christina Keesey and Paloma Escobedo took their match against Petra Januskova and Maria Prishlyak, 8-2. The Ohio State twosome of Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs pushed their season win total to 12 after defeating Sarah Lotto and Amy Simidian, 8-4, at the top doubles spot.
Manashirova and Steele extended their co-ownership of the team’s best singles record to 17 after both won in straight sets. Steele finished first, posting a 6-1, 6-3 victory over PSU’s Sarah Henderson while Manashirova finished with a 6-4, 6-3 victory against Stracar.
Haviland, playing at the No. 3 position, clinched the win for the Buckeyes after defeating Prishlyak, 6-4, 6-3.
Kirsten Flower, ranked 49th nationally in singles, defeated 66th-ranked Januskova in straight sets 6-2, 7-6. The win is Flower’s fourth against a ranked opponent this season.
Escobedo battled with Penn State’s Simidian at the No. 2 spot but came out on top in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6. Keesey defeated McCarthy, 7-6, 6-1, to give the Buckeyes their seventh shutout win of the season.