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Feb. 16, 2007

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Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team (5-1, 0-0 Big Ten) will play two matches in Williamsburg, Va., this weekend. The Buckeyes will meet Marshall (5-3, 0-0 Conference USA) at 1 p.m. Saturday and No. 12 William & Mary (6-0, 0-0 CAA) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center.

LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes went 2-1 at home last weekend, with a 5-2 win over Marquette Friday and 7-0 win over Miami (Ohio) Sunday. The squad lost to Virginia Tech, 5-2, Sunday, marking its first defeat of the season.

Senior Sonia Ruzimovsky and junior Caitlin O’Keefe led the Buckeyes with 4-1 combined records last weekend, including 3-0 marks in doubles. Sophomores Julie Blackmore and Julie Voss and each posted two singles wins last weekend.

SCOUTING MARSHALL
Marshall, ranked No. 58th nationally, enters the weekend with a 5-3 ledger, including wins over Eastern Michigan, Morehead State, Youngstown State, Davidson and West Virginia and losses to three ranked teams (Virginia, Kentucky, Penn). The squad will face William & Mary Friday before facing off against the Buckeyes Saturday. Sophomore Kellie Schmitt is ranked No. 18 nationally in singles to lead the Herd. Freshman Thaddea Lock is ranked 94th.

John Mercer is in his fifth season at the helm of the Herd and has a career and school ledger of 83-30. He has led the squad to the NCAA tournament three times.

The Buckeyes and Thundering Herd have met once, with Ohio State posting a 7-0 victory March 7, 1999 in Columbus.

SCOUTING WILLIAM & MARY
The No. 12-ranked Tribe enter the weekend 6-0 overall, including a win over then-No. 1 ranked Georgia Tech Feb. 10. The squad also has downed Maryland, Purdue, Illinois, Virginia and East Tennessee. William and Mary will host Marshall Saturday before facing the Buckeyes Sunday.

Senior Megan Moulton-Levy is ranked fifth in the nation and is joined by teammates Klaudyna Kasztelaniec (No. 59) and Katarina Zoricic (No. 68) in the rankings. The doubles tandem of Moulton-Levy and Zoricic is ranked first overall and won the 2006 ITA National Indoor Championship.

Kevin Epley, a 1996 graduate of Southern Methodist, is in his fourth year at William and Mary and his seventh year as a collegiate head coach. He has a school record of 62-27 and a career ledger of 117-46.

The Buckeyes are 1-1 all-time vs. William and Mary. The Tribe won in Columbus, 6-1, Feb. 12, 2005. Ohio State posted a 4-3 victory in Williamsburg Feb. 29, 2004.

AHEAD OF THE PACK
Leading the Buckeyes in singles wins so far this season are freshman Christina Keesey and Ally Mueller, who each have 11 wins on the year. Sophomores Angela DiPastina and Julie Voss are one back with 10 wins apiece.

In doubles, sophomore Julie Blackmore has a team-best 10 wins, followed by Keesey with nine victories.

This spring, Mueller has a team-best five wins. The doubles tandem of senior Sonia Ruzimovsky and junior Caitlin O’Keefe are undefeated and have a team-best six doubles wins this spring.

PERFECT
The Buckeyes are undefeated (6-0) at Nos. 2 and 6 singles and No. 2 doubles so far this spring.

At No. 2 singles, Christina Keesey leads the way with three wins, joined by Sonia Ruzimovsky with two wins and Julie Blackmore with one victory.

At No. 6 singles, Julie Voss is 4-0 and Angela DiPastina is 2-0.

At No. 2 doubles, the duo of Caitlin O’Keefe and Sonia Ruzimovsky is 5-0 and the pair of Kristin Messmer and Ciara Finucane are 1-0.

ANOTHER BLANK
Four of the Buckeyes’ five wins this season have been 7-0 shutouts. The squad opened the year with three-consecutive whitewashes (vs. Bowling Green, vs. Cincinnati, at West Virginia) and blanked Miami (Ohio) in their last time out.

HAPPY 50TH
Against Cincinnati Jan. 27, senior Sonia Ruzimovsky posted the 50th singles win of her Buckeye career, as she downed Valeriya Dandik in straight sets (6-1, 6-0). Ruzimovsky is second among current Buckeyes with 52 career wins, behind Kristin Messmer’s 60 victories.

Ruzimovsky has a team career-best 48 doubles wins, followed by Messmer with 45.

THE ROOKS MAKE AN IMPACT
The two Buckeye freshmen, Ally Mueller and Christina Keesey, both have played in all six matches for the Buckeyes so far this spring. Mueller is 5-1 in dual matches, while Keesey has a 4-2 dual-match record.

AMONG THE BEST
Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, has the eighth-ranked recruiting class for 2007, according to rankings compiled by tennisrecruiting.net. The duo of Paloma Escobedo and Cameron Hubbs, who signed NCAA National Letters of Intent in November, will join the Buckeye roster in the fall of 2007.

A panel of junior tennis experts, including journalists, tournament directors, referees and ranking chairmen from across the country, voted on the recruiting classes. Each panelist submitted his/her list of the Top 25 recruiting classes. Schools received 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 points for each second-place vote, down to 1 point for each 25th-place vote.

Escobedo, a native of Houston, Texas, has been ranked as high as 21st nationally among recruits for 2007 and currently is ranked 29th. She is ranked fourth among the gulf states and third in the state of Texas. Escobedo was a member of the Texas Fed Cup team who went undefeated in August at the 2006 UTSA Girl’s 18 Fed Cup Championships and posted a 5-2 record in the same month at the 2006 Girls 18 and Under Super Nationals in San Jose, Calif.

Hubbs, from Omaha, Neb., has been ranked as high as No. 60 in 2007 recruiting lists. She currently is ranked second in the plains states and is first in Nebraska. She is a three-time state champion at Omaha Westside High School. Hubbs is a standout in doubles and has been ranked as high as seventh nationally.

FACING THE NATION’S BEST
The Buckeyes will take on 13 teams currently ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll this season, including Top 10 teams Notre Dame (second) and Northwestern (sixth). In addition, Ohio State will go up against No. 12 William & Mary, No. 23 Michigan, No. 35 Purdue, No. 37 Indiana, No. 55 Wichita State, No. 58 Marshall, No. 62 Iowa, No. 68 Auburn, No. 72 Louisville and No. 73 Michigan State. The Buckeyes lost to No. 66 Virginia Tech last weekend.

UP NEXT
Next weekend, the Buckeyes will go up against Auburn Feb. 24 in Louisville, Ky., followed by matches Feb. 25 at the University of Louisville and at Eastern Kentucky in Richmond, Ky.