COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ten days after its 5-2 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers, the No. 28 Ohio State women’s tennis team (8-1, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts No. 58 Louisiana State (2-3, 0-0 SEC) Wednesday at 3 p.m. and No. 13 Tennessee (5-2, 0-0 SEC) at noon Saturday.
A HISTORY OF THE SERIES
Ohio State is 0-1 all-time against LSU. The first and only meeting between the teams came in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1999. The Tigers advanced with a 5-2 win.
The Buckeyes are 2-9 all-time when facing Tennessee. The last time the teams met, the Volunteers left Columbus with a 5-2 victory in 2006. The last Buckeye win came in 1986 after a 5-4 final in favor of the Scarlet and Gray. OSU has gone 0-7 against UT since then.
NOTES ON THE TIGERS
LSU comes into the competition looking to get back on track after dropping three-consecutive matches to ranked opponents. Most recently the Tigers fell to then-No. 36 Texas A&M following losses to Auburn and San Diego.
The Bayou Bengals are led in singles by sophomore Whitney Wolf at the top of the lineup. Wolf also leads the team in singles wins (12) and is one half of the team-leading doubles tandem, joining with Keri Frankenberger to post nine wins so far this season. The duo has been consistent at the top doubles spot with a 4-1 dual record.
Freshman Kaitlin Burns comes into the contest riding a four-match win streak and providing an unblemished 4-0 record at the No. 4 position since beginning dual season.
SCOUTING THE VOLUNTEERS
The Volunteers are coming off a loss to then-No. 21 Florida State in a consolation match during the ITA National Indoors competition following an impressive 4-3 victory over then-No. 9 Georgia Tech.
Tennessee’s strength has been in doubles this dual season, evident by its 17-2 combined record, including a perfect 7-0 at the number one position. The top spot is powered by the No. 1-ranked doubles tandem in the country in Caitlin Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota. The duo is looking for its 10th-consecutive and 20th overall win this season.
Whoriskey is a dual-threat on the court. The sixth-ranked singles player, she comes in with a team-leading 17 singles victories this season. Maria Sorbello provides a strong No. 2 presence, ranked 51st in singles.
The Buckeyes’ matches against LSU and Tennessee are the second and third, respectively, of three home matches this season against SEC opponents. The first time out, the Buckeyes shut out Kentucky at home, 7-0. The win was the first over an SEC team since a 5-2 victory against Auburn in 2005.
ON THE FAST TRACK
The Buckeyes’ 8-1 start is the best since the 2001-02 squad began the season 9-1. It is the third best start in program history, behind a 10-1 start during the 1990-91 season and the 2001-02 team.
The Scarlet and Gray are 3-0 at home in the Ohio State University Varsity Tennis Center this season.
MOVIN’ ON UP
Ohio State enters the match Wednesday as the 28th-ranked team in the ITA polls. The ranking is the highest for the Scarlet and Gray since claiming the No. 27 spot April 4, 2001.
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Freshmen Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele still hold their team-leading singles win ledger, now tied with a total of 14. Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs lead the team in doubles wins (10).
Since beginning dual season, Haviland and Steele have posted identical singles records, sharing a team lead with eight wins. Paloma Escobedo and Christina Keesey join Haviland and Hubbs with five doubles wins.
The doubles tandem of Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele is on a seven-match winning streak, including a perfect 4-0 record in dual match play, helping the Buckeyes to a 7-1 record at the third doubles spot.
Ohio State senior and Upper Arlington, Ohio, native Kirsten Flower was named the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week Feb. 9. Flower helped lead the then-33rd-ranked Buckeyes to three team victories over Top 50 opponents, with a home win over then-No. 34 Kentucky and road victories over then-No. 50 William & Mary and then-No. 23 Virginia. She was 3-0 at No. 1 singles for the Buckeyes without dropping a set, and clinched the team victory in two matches.
Against the Wildcats, Flower defeated Megan Broderick, 6-0, 6-3, en route to a 7-0 Buckeye shutout win. In the 5-2 victory over the Tribe, Flower posted a straight sets win against Ragini Acharya, 6-2, 6-2. Flower then downed No. 72 Lindsey Hardenbergh of the Cavaliers in straight sets, 7-6, 6-4, to clinch the 5-2 upset for the Buckeyes.
The weekly laurel was the second for Flower and the first for Ohio State since her first in March 2009.
Flower has been a stalwart at the No. 1 position for the Buckeyes since transferring from Georgia Tech following her sophomore year. Last season she led the team in singles wins (19) on the way to an All-Big Ten selection and NCAA Tournament appearance for the Scarlet and Gray. This year she has jumped out to a 10-4 start, including a 7-2 ledger in dual play to aid the Buckeyes to an 8-1 record.