COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team travels north to face a pair of Big Ten opponents this weekend. The Buckeyes (10-8, 3-1 Big Ten) travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face No. 10 Michigan Saturday and East Lansing, Mich., to take on No. 70 Michigan State Sunday.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines begin at noon, while the match against the Spartans will kick off at 11 a.m. Live stats for the Michigan match can be found at mgoblue.com and for the Michigan State match at msuspartans.com. If the match vs. Michigan is inside a live video feed also will be available.
The Scarlet and Gray return to Columbus for their last home tilts when they host Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Buckeyes face the Badgers at 3 p.m. April 15 and the Gophers at 11 a.m. April 17.
You can follow all of the action of Ohio State women’s tennis on Twitter (@OhioState_WTEN) or “Like” the Buckeyes’ page on Facebook at facebook.com/OhioStateWomensTennis.
OHIO STATE IN THE BOOKS
10-8: 2011 season record
3-1: 2011 Big Ten record
1-3: 2011 road record
2-8: 2011 record vs. nationally ranked teams
13-36: all-time vs. Michigan
28-13: all-time vs. Michigan State
IN 2011 THE BUCKEYES ARE…
8-1 when winning the doubles point
3-0 when winning the doubles point in Big Ten matches
7-5 in doubles matches against Big Ten opponents
15-9 in singles matches against Big Ten opponents
6-1 when winning No. 1 doubles
7-1 when winning No. 1 singles
8-0 when winning No. 3 singles
A GLANCE AT THE WOLVERINES
The 10th-ranked Wolverines (15-3, 5-0 Big Ten) have stormed through their first five conferences matches of 2011, winning those contests by a 33-2 composite score.
Senior Denise Muresan leads Michigan at No. 1 singles. Muresan, ranked seventh in the nation in singles, has racked up a 25-9 record this year, including a 5-0 record in conference play. Muresan is one of six Wolverines undefeated in singles play in 2011.
Sam Critser (69th), Brooke Bolender (73rd) and Whitney Taney (98th) join Muresan in the singles rankings. The doubles tandem of Bolender and Muresan is ranked eighth nationally, as well.
PREVIEWING THE SPARTANS
The 70th-ranked Michigan State Spartans (12-6, 1-4 Big Ten) opened the 2011 season with a bang, taking seven of their first eight matches. The Green and White have struggled in conference play, however, posting a 1-4 ledger through five matches.
Amy Barton leads the Spartans in singles. Barton, ranked 121st nationally, has notched an 11-4 record at No. 1 singles this season. Marina Bohrer, Barton’s doubles teammate, leads Michigan State in singles victories with 19.
Barton and Bohrer are 15-3 at No. 1 doubles this season. The duo, ranked 19th in the nation, has helped the Spartans take 16 of 18 doubles points in 2011.
TOP OF THE CHARTS
Sophomore Fidan Manashirova leads the Buckeyes in singles wins this season with 21, followed by classmates Gabby Steele and Kara Cecil, who have each racked up 17 victories. The doubles tandem of Cecil and Noelle Malley holds the team lead in doubles victories with 13.
LEAVING A MARK
With 72 career singles victories, Cami Hubbs is tied for ninth with Michelle Matko (1998-03) in the Ohio State record book. Her 78 career doubles victories put her in 12th place. Paloma Escobedo, Hubbs’ doubles partner most of this year, has recorded 77 career doubles wins, good for 13th all-time. Escobedo’s 65 singles victories tie her with Ann Beaudoin (1979-81) for 15th.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
The Buckeyes not only hold an 8-2 home record this season, but the team has also notched three shutouts while playing inside the OSU Varsity Tennis Center. OSU has won those eight matches by a combined score of 49-7.
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.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
The Buckeyes have accumulated a 37-12 (.755) record at the No. 4-6 singles positions this season, including a 14-2 ledger at No. 6. Twelve of the 14 victories at No. 6 have come in straight sets for the Buckeyes.
Gabby Steele is 9-1 at No. 4 this season while Fidan Manashirova is 6-1 at No. 5. Manashirova, Cami Hubbs, Tiffany Dittmer and Noelle Malley have combined to post a 14-2 record at No. 6. Dittmer scored the first dual-match victory of her collegiate career March 20 against South Florida’s Kate Parker. Malley notched her first dual-match victory March 25 against Cassandra Escobar of Iowa in Ohio State’s 6-1 win.
The Buckeyes fell out of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association polls for the first time this season Tuesday. Ohio State is one of 14 teams that finished 2010 in the Top 75 of the ITA poll but doesn’t appear in the April 5, 2011, edition.
The Top 25 has remained a similar composition to the final rankings of 2010, however. Of the current Top 25, 22 teams finished 2010 ranked 25th or better, including an unchanged Top 3.
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.”
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 Feb. 27. 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 21 singles victories this season, the Elk Grove, Calif., native has passed her mark of 19 victories as a freshman last year. Manashirova opened her 19-win rookie campaign on a seven-match win streak.
GETTING IT DONE
With wins against Iowa and Illinois March 25 and 27, the 2011 Buckeyes became the first Ohio State squad to defeat both teams in the regular season since 2002. That version of the Scarlet and Gray downed both teams at home, 5-2.