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Jan. 25, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) hits the courts for it second weekend of action in the spring season with a match against Western Michigan at 10 a.m. and against Youngstown State at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Scouting Western Michigan
Western Michigan is 1-0 after shutting out Wisconsin-Green Bay, 7-0, to open the season. Betsy Kuhle is coaching the Broncos for the 23rd season and has a record of 360-192.

Rattiya Hiranrat plays No. 1 singles for the Broncos and teams with Malena Remysine on the squad’s No. 1 doubles duo.

Ohio State is 6-5 all-time against the Broncos, with its last victory coming April 10, 1997, at home, 6-3.

Scouting Youngstown State
Youngstown State is 0-2 this season after losses to Toledo and Bowling Green. Seventh-year head coach Michele Grimm’s squad was 11-10 last season while finishing fourth in the Horizon League with a 3-4 record in league play.

Karen Najbert leads off both lineups for the Penguins, playing No. 1 in singles and teaming with Malena Remysne at No. 1 doubles.

This is the first meeting between the in-state rivals.

Last Time Out
Last weekend the Buckeyes earned a split at home, falling to No. 21 Notre Dame, 6-1, and beating Cleveland State, 7-0.

Sonia Ruzimovsky (Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Tech) earned the only Buckeye victory against the Irish, 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (8), over Liz Donahue at the No. 6 position.

Against Cleveland State, the Buckeyes swept every match. In doubles, Caitlin O’Keefe (Fr., Troy, Mich./Troy) and Anna Volberg (Soph., Toledo, Ohio/St. Ursula) teamed at No. 1 to down Sarah Galon and Morgan Ungerott, 8-3. At No. 2, Lindsey Adams (Sr., Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) and Sonia Ruzimovsky (Soph., Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Tech) combined to top Jen Myers and Christine Vogelgesong, 8-0, and at No. 3, Kristin Messmer (Soph., Lutherville, Md./McDonogh) and Nidhi Shah (Fr., Mithibai, India/Mumbai College) beat Marcie Capozziello and Lindsay Sellers, 8-2.

In singles, Adams beat Galon, 6-0, 7-6 (4), at No. 1, O’Keefe topped Myers, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 2, Messmer stopped Ungerott, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 3, and Volberg defeated Sellers, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 4. Also winning for the Buckeyes were Meredith Vincent (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Va. Tech), who beat Capozziello, 6-1. 6-0, at No. 5 and Silvia Prajescu (Fr., Dollard-Des-Orneaux, Quebec/Des-Sources) topped Volgelgesong, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 6.

Merzbacher Reaches 250 Wins
Ohio State’s win over Cleveland State marked a milestone for head coach Chuck Merzbacher.

The 7-0 victory was Merzbacher’s 250th in his now 16-plus years as a college head coach.

Since beginning his career at 1989-90 at Northern Illinois, Merzbacher is 260-154.

Early Leaders
After two spring season matches, sophomore Sonia Ruzimovsky continues to lead the team in singles victories with a career-high 11.

In doubles, Lindsey Adams is Ohio State’s individual leader with eight wins. Kristin Messmer and Ruzimovsky are the top Buckeye duo with a record of 5-2.

Home Cooking
Ohio State will hope to continue its recent dominance at home, where it has won at a .750 percentage over the past two seasons and is 1-1 this season.

In only nine home matches a year ago, the Buckeyes posted a 7-2 record, with both losses coming at the hands of teams ranked in the Top 20.

Freshmen Get It Going
A trio of Ohio State freshmen earned their first collegiate singles wins during the fall season.

Caitlin O’Keefe (Fr., Troy, Mich./Troy) earned a three-set victory over Emily Vest of Middle Tennessee State, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, for her first win Sept. 17 in Knoxville, Tenn., in the first round of the University of Tennessee/St. Mary’s Fall Classic.

The following weekend at the Kentucky Fall Classic in Lexington, Ky., Silvia Prajescu (Fr., Dollard-Des-Orneaux, Quebec/Des-Sources) beat Alex de Guzman of William and Mary, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, for her first victory.

On Oct. 10 at the Eck Classic in South Bend, Ind., it was Nidhi Shah’s (Fr., Mumbai, India/Mithibai College) turn to break into the win column, topping Virginia’s Dora Bechliwanis in an eight-game pro set, 8-6.

Auburn Match On the Move
The Feb. 19 match with Auburn, originally schedule to be played at 6 p.m. off-campus because of a conflict with the Ohio State men’s tennis team, has been moved back to campus. The match now is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Stickney Tennis Center (outdoor) or the Jesse Owens West Recreation Center (indoor).

Recruiting News
The Buckeyes have signed two student-athletes, Julie Blackmore, a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Julie Voss, a senior from San Angelo, Texas, who attends St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, to NCAA National Letters of Intent to attend Ohio State and join the Buckeyes tennis team beginning in Fall 2005.

Blackmore is ranked No. 47 in the nation and No. 11 in Florida in the Girls’ Under-18 USTA rankings. She is a three-time state champion in singles and doubles in Division 2A and reached the Round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles at the National Clay Courts meet in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this year. Blackmore, whose father, Bob, is an Ohio State alumnus, also is on the honor roll.

Voss, who plays for St. Stephen’s Tennis Academy, has been ranked in the Top 10 in Texas since age 10 and is ranked No. 9 in the state in the Girls’ Under-18 age group. She has been ranked as high as No. 14 nationally and recently advanced to the round of 16 of the International Tennis Federation tournament in El Paso, Texas. Voss also is a top student and a talented musician.

Adams, O’Keefe, Ruzimovsky Succeed At ITA Midwest Regional
Three Buckeyes stood out Oct. 21-23 at the ITA Midwest Regional tournament in Minneapolis, Minn.

In singles, Sonia Ruzimovsky won three matches, over Mallory Stemle of IUPUI (6-1, 6-1), Pavlina Akritas of Illinois (6-2, 6-2) and Reedhina Parekh of Western Michigan (6-2, 5-7, 6-4), to qualify for the 64-player main draw.

In doubles, senior Lindsey Adams and freshman Caitlin O’Keefe teamed up to advance to the Round of 16 with victories over Minnesota’s Jane Anderson and Nischela Reddy, 8-3, in round one before beating Michelle Cunningham and Mallory Stemle of IUPU by an 8-4 margin in round two. O’Keefe and Adams were knocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals after dropping a close 9-7 decision to Lindsay Martin and Katie McGaffigan of Wisconsin.

Messmer and Ruzimovsky Lead Way at Eck Classic
Sonia Ruzimovsky led the Buckeyes last weekend at the Eck Classic in South Bend, Ind., by winning seven total matches. Sunday, Ruzimovsky and Kristin Messmer combined to beat Virginia’s Lauren Brech and Rachel Del Priore, 8-2, to close out a perfect 4-0 doubles weekend that also included wins over Notre Dame’s Liz Donohoe and Bailey Louderback, 8-1, Michigan State’s Pascale Schnitzer and Karen Gustafson, 8-2, and Kansas’ Luiza Loureiro and Stephanie Smith, 8-3.

In singles, Ruzimovsky beat Loureiro in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, Friday, Schnitzer in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, Saturday and Bruch,2-6, 7-6, 1-0(3), on Sunday.

Kentucky Fall Tournament Recap
The Buckeyes faced stiff competition Oct. 1-3 at the Kentucky Fall Classic in Lexington, Ky. Competing on the Wildcats’ home courts, Ohio State was led by the senior tandem of Lindsay Bryan and Meredith Vincent, who claimed the title in the green flight. In the flight championship match, Bryan and Vincent (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Virginia Tech) beat host Kentucky’s Foster and Sober, 9-7. The Buckeye duo reached the final with a pair of 8-6 victories over Marshall and White of Louisville and Yan and de Guzman of William and Mary.

Silvia Prajescu and Kristin Messmer led the Buckeyes in singles, both posting three victories against just one defeat.

Youngsters Lead Singles at Tennessee
Competing for the first time since losing four seniors from the 2003-04 squad to graduation, the Buckeyes were led by a pair of underclassmen who both earned a pair of victories at the University of Tennessee/St. Mary’s Fall Classic Sept. 17-19 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Sophomore Sonia Ruzimovsky and freshman Caitlin O’Keefe earned third place finishes with Day Three victories in their flights. Competing in Flight Six, Ruzimovsky swept Bonnie Baird of Furman, 7-6, 6-1, for her second victory of the weekend while O’Keefe earned her second win by topping fellow-Buckeye Lindsay Bryan, 6-5, 6-4, in Flight Three. Ruzimovsky also dispatched Alisha Talbot of Wake Forest and O’Keefe beat Emily Vest of Middle Tennessee State in first round action.

Returnees See Doubles Success
In contrast to singles action at Tennessee, Ohio State’s doubles play was dominated by upperclassmen. The senior doubles team of Emily DeCamilla and Lindsey Adams picked up two wins, a number matched by another upperclassmen duo, Emily Howard and Meredith Vincent.

DeCamilla and Adams beat Marti Morris and Mary Neill Hagood of Furman, 9-7, on Day Two to earn fifth place in Flight One. They also topped Barbara Orlay and Julia Roach of North Carolina State previously.

Vincent and Howard defeated Emily Vest and Claudia Szabo of Middle Tennessee State, 8-4, in Round One of Flight Three and teammates Silvia Prajescu and Lindsay Bryan in a third place match.

Next Up
After squaring off with the Broncos and Penguins, Ohio State plays host to William and Mary at 4 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in Columbus, Ohio.