COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 34th ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (19-9, 5-5 Big Ten) faces DePaul (18-5, 8-3 Big East) in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Championship at 11 a.m. ET Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The match winner will advance to the second round to take on the winner of the Michigan/Illinois-Chicago match at 1 p.m. Saturday. Matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at Michigan’s Varsity Tennis Center but will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.
A tournament website is located on Michigan’s website at http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/w-tennis/spec-rel/tnw-regional-2010.html. Live stats will be available for all the matches, with video streamed for any matches that are indoors.
Tickets will be sold on site each day of the tournament. Complimentary tickets are not permitted to NCAA championships. There will be one ticket entrance located on the sidewalk in front of the main entrance (weather permitting). In the event of unfavorable conditions, the ticket booth will be located inside the Varsity Tennis Center main entrance.
For ticket information, please call (734) 764-0247 or (866) 296-MTIX (6849).
Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $4 for youth (18 & under) and senior citizens (55 and over). A Friday ticket is good for both matches. Tickets will be available for purchase starting one hour prior to the first match each day.
IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes moved up one spot to No. 34 in the most recent polls, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Earlier this season, the Scarlet and Gray set a program record when they reached No. 17 in the rankings.
Senior Kirsten Flower now comes in at No. 71 in the singles poll.
THE 2010 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Ohio State enters the tournament as a No. 33-48 seed and will face the DePaul Blue Demons, who enter as a part of the No. 17-32 bracket, Friday. If the Buckeyes advance, they will face the winner of the match between the fourth-seeded Michigan Wolverines and No. 49-64 seed Illinois-Chicago Flames in the second round.
The winner of the regional tournament advances to Athens, Ga., to compete in the Round of 16 May 20.
Regional tournament seeding is as follows:
17-32 – DePaul
33-48 – Ohio State
49-64 – Illinois-Chicago
THE BUCKEYES IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
This will be the third-straight NCAA appearance for the Scarlet and Gray. The Buckeyes reached NCAA post-season play six-consecutive seasons under head coach Chuck Merzbacher from 1999-2004.
Last season, the Buckeyes traveled to Evanston, Ill., to face Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but fell, 4-0, to the Wildcats.
The last tournament win for Ohio State came against Harvard in the first round in 2004. The Buckeyes advanced with a 4-2 victory.
Under current head coach Chuck Merzbacher, the Buckeyes are 2-8 in eight NCAA Tournament appearances.
A HISTORY OF THE SERIES
The Buckeyes are a combined 19-35 against the teams in the regional tournament. Ohio State owns a 6-0 record when facing DePaul and holds a 13-35 ledger against Michigan. The Buckeyes have never faced Illinois-Chicago.
The last meeting between the Blue Demons and the Buckeyes came in Columbus in 2007, where Ohio State downed DePaul, 6-1.
The Scarlet and Gray traveled to Ann Arbor earlier this season to face Michigan, but fell 6-1 to the Wolverines. The last victory in the series for the Buckeyes came in 2000, when Ohio State defeated UM in the Big Ten Tournament, 4-1, a single week after downing the Wolverines on the road, 5-2.
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEMONS
DePaul enters the match having taken down seven ranked opponents this season. The team’s biggest win came in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament against No. 24 USF. The Blue Demons shut out the Bulls, winning 4-0.
Selma Salkovic leads the team in singles victories with 23. Katarina Milinkovic and Anna Redesci follow with 22 and 21, respectively. Redesci, who is ranked 72nd in the nation, holds a 14-7 ledger as DePaul’s top singles player, including a 5-8 record against ranked opponents.
Salkovic and Redesci form one of the nation’s top doubles teams. The duo is ranked 18th nationally and own a 29-7 record.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
Illinois-Chicago will be competing in its 12th-straight NCAA Tournament. The Flames have won the Horizon League conference 14-consecutive years.
Horizon League Player of the Year Mariya Kovaleva has accumulated 25 victories this season. Kovaleva is joined by all-conference selections Ilinca Cristescu (21) and Elena Antakova (22).
A LOOK AT THE WOLVERINES
First-time host Michigan enters the tournament after earning an unblemished 10-0 record in Big Ten regular season matches under Big Ten Coach of the Year Ronni Bernstein.
No. 19 Denise Muresan claimed Big Ten Player of the Year honors after earning 32 singles victories. Mimi Nguyen picked up league freshman of the year accolades (28 wins).
Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno have won 29 doubles matches together this season. The duo ranks 19th in the nation.
Gabby Steele owns a team-best 25 singles wins this season. The freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio, played in the middle of the lineup, seeing action at the third, fourth and fifth positions. Steele was strong against top opponents this season, earning a 12-6 record when facing players on ranked teams. Steele, who shared the team lead with a 7-3 Big Ten singles ledger, and classmate Fidan Manashirova formed a tough doubles tandem, finishing the regular season with 16 wins.
Kelsey Haviland has earned 23 singles wins this season, good for second on the team, avoiding any chances of a sophomore slump. Haviland competed as high as No. 2 in the regular season, but played the majority of her matches at the third and fourth spots. The sophomore from Dayton, Ohio, is 3-2 against ranked opponents this season, knocking off then-No. 115 Amy Sargeant of Florida State and twice defeating Lauren Lui (No. 104 and 116) of Northwestern. She shared the team lead with a 7-3 mark in Big Ten play this year. Haviland and doubles partner Cami Hubbs have 17 doubles victories this season playing at the No. 1 position.
Senior Kirsten Flower is a single win behind Haviland, compiling 22 singles victories this season. Flower played every singles match at the No. 1 spot. Her biggest victories of the season came against then-No. 72 Lindsey Hardenbergh of Virginia and then-No. 66 Petra Januskova of Penn State. The Big Ten Athlete of the Week Feb. 9, Flower also defeated Oregon’s Julia Metzger, then ranked No. 96, and then-No. 120 Whitney Wolf of LSU. The unanimous All-Big Ten selection has earned three doubles victories this season, all coming with Gabby Steele in the fall.
Fidan Manashirova, who led the team in singles wins the majority of the season, has accumulated 19 victories in her rookie campaign. The freshman from Elk Grove, Calif., has 20 doubles victories as well, with 17 of the wins coming when playing alongside Steele.
Paloma Escobedo has 19 singles victories this season, playing solely at the No. 2 position. The junior from Houston, Texas, enters the NCAA tournament playing at a high level with a 10-5 record in her last 15 matches. Escobedo and Christina Keesey form one of the Big Ten’s best doubles duos, finishing 8-2 in conference play. The tandem also lead the team in doubles victories with 19 on the year.
Christina Keesey has provided the Buckeyes with versatility this season, earning 17 singles wins while playing at spots 3-6. The senior from Northfield, Minn., moved into fifth in the Ohio State record book in career singles victories with 80. All 19 of Keesey’s doubles victories came when partnered with Escobedo. The duo led the squad with an 8-3 Big Ten doubles mark playing at the No. 2 spot.
Junior Cami Hubbs claims eight singles victories this season. The Omaha, Neb., native has proved strong in dual matches with a 6-2 record. Hubbs has recorded all 17 of her doubles wins with Haviland as the tandem played at No. 1 all spring.
Freshman Kara Cecil saw limited playing time this season, but made the best of her opportunities. The Floridian has four wins and is 3-0 in dual matches. Cecil teamed with Manashirova in the fall to earn three doubles victories.
Ohio State has posted 10 shutouts this season to set the program record for whitewashes in a season. The ninth shutout, recorded against Wisconsin, surpassed the eight victories the 1978-79 and 2006-07 Buckeyes squads posted in their campaigns.
ANOTHER RECORD IN THE BOOKS
Ohio State has earned 19 wins this season, tied with the program record the squad posted in 2002 and 2008.
MORE RECORD RAMBLINGS
Senior Christina Keesey has moved into sole possession of fifth place in the Buckeye record book for singles wins with 80. Her 81 doubles wins are good for ninth in Ohio State history.
Gabby Steele has 25 singles wins this season, one back of 11th place in Ohio State history for a single season. She ranks fifth in the record book for freshman wins.
Steele is seventh in single-season doubles wins for a freshman with 21, while classmate Fidan Manashirova has 20 to rank 11th.
HOME AND AWAY
Ohio State is 8-3 at home and 9-4 on the road this season, with a 2-2 ledger in neutral-site matches.
If the Buckeyes advance past the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, they will travel to the NCAA Team Championships in Athens, Ga., on the campus of the University of Georgia.
LAST TIME OUT-
BUCKEYES BLANK SPARTANS
The seventh-seeded and No. 35-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team advanced into the quarterfinals of the 2010 Big Ten Tournament after defeating No. 10 seed Michigan State (7-17), 4-0, in the first round April 29 in Iowa City, Iowa. The Buckeyes secured the doubles point and used singles victories from Kirsten Flower, Paloma Escobedo and Christina Keesey to earn the win over the Spartans.
Escobedo and Keesey stormed through their doubles match against Whitney Wilson and Christine Milliken, winning 8-0. The freshman tandem of Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele clinched the point for the Buckeyes after defeating Amy Barton and Manon Noe, 8-5.
Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs were trailing Michaela Silesova and Elena Ivanova, 7-5, before the match was left unfinished.
Escobedo bested Wilson on court two, 6-2, 6-1, in singles to move the Buckeyes toward victory. Flower, ranked 78th in the nation in singles, took her match against Silesova, 6-3, 6-0, at the top spot.
Keesey clinched the victory for the Buckeyes after downing Renata de Paiva, 6-1, 6-1, on court five.
The Buckeyes were leading in the three remaining singles matches when play was suspended. At No. 3 Haviland led Ivanova, 6-0, 5-4, Steele was up, 6-1, 3-1, against Barton on court four and Hubbs was ahead, 6-3, 1-1, in her match against Milliken at No. 6.
NO. 35 BUCKEYES FALL SHORT TO NO. 5 NORTHWESTERN
The seventh-seeded and No. 35-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team was eliminated from the 2010 Big Ten Tournament April 30, falling to No. 5-ranked Northwestern, the tournament’s second seed and eventual champion, in the quarterfinals, 4-1.
The Buckeye doubles tandem of sophomore Kelsey Haviland and junior Cami Hubbs opened the match with a win but the Wildcats won the final two doubles matches to clinch the doubles point. The Wildcats then won the first two singles matches off the court for a 3-0 advantage. Haviland put the Buckeyes on the board with a straight-set victory but Northwestern sealed the win with a victory at No. 4.
Haviland and Hubbs opened doubles with a win at No. 1, downing Lauren Lui and Linda Abu Mushrefova, 8-4. The Wildcats tied doubles at 1 when Samantha Murray and Kate Turvy downed the Buckeye rookie duo of Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele, 8-5, on court three. The doubles point came down to court two, where Maria Mosolova and Elena Chernyakova defeated the Ohio State duo of junior Paloma Escobedo and senior Christina Keesey, 8-6.
Murray, ranked 39th nationally, moved Northwestern’s lead to 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Escobedo at No. 2 singles. The advantage moved to 3-0 when Stacey Lee downed Hubbs in straight sets (6-1, 6-1).
Haviland put the Buckeyes on the board when she defeated No. 116-ranked Lui, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 3. It was Haviland’s second win in a week over the ranked Wildcat and marked her fifth-consecutive victory.
Turvy clinched the win for Northwestern at No. 4. After dropping the first set, Steele rallied to tie the match. Turvy pulled ahead in the third set to defeat Steele, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, and post Northwestern’s fourth team point.
The two final matches were suspended. On court five Keesey won the first set in a tiebreaker but was trailing in the second set. Buckeye senior and All-Big Ten choice Kirsten Flower, ranked 78th, was up 4-3 in the second set after dropping the opening set to No. 13-ranked Mosolova.