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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 34 Ohio State women’s tennis team (20-9, 5-5 Big Ten) advanced past the first round of the NCAA Championship after defeating No. 30 DePaul (18-6, 8-3 Big East), 4-1, Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Buckeyes set a program record for wins in a single season after taking the doubles point and singles matches on courts two, five and six for their 20th team victory of 2010.

Junior Paloma Escobedo and senior Christina Keesey stormed to an 8-2 doubles victory over Katarina Milinkovic and Sandra Zmak on court two. The win was the 20th for the Buckeye duo.

The freshman tandem of Gabby Steele and Fidan Manashirova secured the doubles point for the Buckeyes after downing DePaul’s Kirsten Gambrell and Gia McKnight on court three, 8-5.

In singles, junior Cami Hubbs overpowered Gambrell on court six, dropping just one game and taking the match, 6-0, 6-1, to give Ohio State a 2-0 team advantage.

Keesey defeated McKnight in straight sets on court five, 6-4, 6-0, to push the Buckeye lead to 3-0. The senior from Northfield, Minn., has been superb in the postseason, moving her singles win streak to four matches. Keesey, with 81 career singles victories, is one win away from tying Maria Olazagatsti (1977-79) in fourth place all-time.

The Blue Demons struck back with a point of their own after Zmak took her match against Steele on court four, 6-4, 7-5.

DePaul’s comeback was short lived, however. Escobedo slammed the door after besting Selma Salkovic on court two, 6-2, 7-5. The win was the 20th this season for the junior from Houston, Texas.

Senior Kirsten Flower, ranked 71st nationally, was leading No. 72 Anna Redesci on court one, 7-6, 2-0. Kelsey Haviland was a single point from earning her sixth-straight singles victory. The Dayton, Ohio, native was up against Milinkovic, 6-1, 3-6, 5-3. Both matches were suspended after the Buckeyes clinched the team victory.

The win is the first NCAA tournament victory for the Scarlet and Gray since a 4-2 victory over Harvard in the first round of the 2004 tourney.

With the win, Ohio State advances to the second round of the NCAA Championship to face the winner of the match between host and No. 4 seed Michigan and Illinois-Chicago. The Buckeyes, appearing in the NCAA tournament for the third-consecutive season and ninth time under head coach Chuck Merzbacher, will play Saturday at 1 p.m. for a berth in the Round of 16 in Athens, Ga., May 20.

Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs DePaul
May 14, 2010 at Ann Arbor, Mich.
(Varsity Tennis Center)
#34 Ohio State 4, #30 DePaul 1

Singles competition
1. #72 Anna Redecsi (DEPAUL) vs. #71 Kirsten Flower (OSU) 6-7, 0-2, unfinished
2. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Selma Salkovic (DEPAUL) 6-2, 7-5
3. Katarina Milinkovic (DEPAUL) vs. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 1-6, 6-3, 3-5, unfinished
4. Sandra Zmak (DEPAUL) def. Gabby Steele (OSU) 6-4, 7-5
5. Christina Keesey (OSU) def. Gia McKnight (DEPAUL) 6-4, 6-0
6. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Kirsten Gambrell (DEPAUL) 6-0, 6-1

Doubles competition
1. #18 Anna Redecsi/Selma Salkovic (DEPAUL) vs. Cami Hubbs/Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-5, unfinished
2. Christina Keesey/Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Katarina Milinkovic/Sandra Zmak (DEPAUL) 8-2
3. Gabby Steele/Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Kirsten Gambrell/Gia McKnight (DEPAUL) 8-5

Match Notes:
Ohio State 20-9; National ranking #34
DePaul 18-6; National ranking #30
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (6,5,4,2)
T-3:20