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April 12, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State women’s tennis team (13-8; 3-3 Big Ten) closes out the home schedule when they host the No. 31 Michigan Wolverines Saturday and the Michigan State Spartans Sunday. Both matches will be held at 11 a.m. Weather permitting, both matches will be held outdoors at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus. Otherwise, the matches will be held indoors at the Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in Columbus.

A Look at Michigan
Michigan is led by head coach Bitsy Ritt. Ritt led the Wolverines to a 14-12 overall record last season. Michigan finished second in the Big Ten last year with a 9-5 conference mark.

Michigan is currently 11-6 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines are led on the court by Chisako Sugiyama, who is 13-4 in singles matches this spring. The leading doubles team for the Wolverines is the duo of Debra Streifler and Kara Delicata who are 10-2 overall and ranked No. 33 in the latest Fila Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Ohio State is 13-30 all-time against the Wolverines. Last year, Michigan won the meeting in Ann Arbor, 6-1, on April 16.

The last time the schools met in Columbus, the Buckeyes won, 4-3, February 16, 2003.

Michigan State at A Glance
The Spartans are coached by Tim Bauer, who led Michigan State to an 11-12 overall record a year ago while finishing tied for 10th in the Big Ten at 1-10 in the conference last season.

Michigan State is currently 11-8 overall and 2-5 in the conference. The Spartans are led on the court by Stephanie Kebler, who is 13-6 in singles matches in the spring. The leading doubles team is the duo of Kebler and Jessica Baron, who are 11-7 in dual matches this season. The Buckeyes are 23-12 all-time against the Spartans with the match last year resulting in a 4-3 Buckeye victory in East Lansing, Mich. on April 17.

The last time Ohio State hosted Michigan State, the Buckeyes won, 6-1, February 14, 2003.

Last Time Out
Last weekend, the Buckeyes split a pair of Big Ten matches. Ohio State defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions, 6-1, April 8 then were defeated by then-No. 30 Indiana, 4-3. In their match against Penn State, for the seventh time this season, the Buckeyes swept the doubles matches to earn the doubles point. At No. 1, the tandem of Caitlin O’Keefe (So., Troy, Mich./Troy) and Julie Blackmore (Fr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) defeated Sasha Abraham and Andreea Niculescu, 8-4. At No. 2, Angela DiPastina (Fr., Titusville, N.J.) and Sonia Ruzimovsky (Jr., Brooklyn N.Y./Brooklyn Tech) outlasted Katelyn BeVard and Jenny Shular, 9-8 (5). At No. 3, Ciara Finucane (Jr., Dublin, Ireland/Georgia Southern) and Kristin Messmer (Jr., Lutherville, Md./McDonogh) topped Dorothy Dohanics and Lauren Holzberg by the score of 8-6.

In singles, at No. 1, O’Keefe defeated Abraham, 7-5, 6-3. At No. 2, Ruzimovsky downed Niculescu by the score of 6-3, 6-2. At No. 3, Blackmore dropped BeVard, 6-3, 6-2. Finucane defeated Schular, 6-2, 6-3, At the No. 4 spot. At No. 5, Messmer fell to Holzberg in a tie-breaker, 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (6). At No. 6, DiPastina defeated Dohanics, 7-6, 6-4.

Against the Indiana Hoosiers, the Buckeyes took one doubles match but dropped the doubles point to Indiana. At No. 1, the tandem of O’Keefe and Blackmore were defeated by Sarah Batty and Laura McGaffigan, 8-3. At No. 2, DiPastina and Ruzimovsky were downed by Sigrid Fischer and Brianna Williams, 8-3. At No. 3, Finucane and Messmer topped Marah Calvo and Cecile Perton by the score of 8-6.

In singles, at No. 1, Ruzimovsky defeated Batty, 6-4, 6-1. At No. 2, O’Keefe downed McGaffigan by the score of 7-5, 6-2. At No. 3, Blackmore defeated Williams in three sets, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Finucane fell to Fischer, 6-2, 6-3, at the No. 4 spot. At No. 5, Messmer was downed by Alba Berdala, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. At No. 6, DiPastina was defeated by Perton, 6-4, 6-3.

Leaders Heading Down the Stretch
With only four spring regular-season matches remaining, freshman Angela DiPastina, who now is 4-1 in Big Ten matches, leads the Buckeyes in singles with 20 overall victories. Junior Kristin Messmer is only two wins off the lead with 18 overall victories.

In doubles, Ciara Finucane leads the way with 21 overall individual victories. The Buckeyes have two doubles teams that are tied for first- DiPastina and Sonia Ruzimovsky, as well as Finucane and Messmer. Both teams are 18-8 overall this year. Finucane and Messmer have the edge in duals, however, as they are 13-6 while DiPastina and Ruzimovsky are 11-7 in spring matches.

Messmer Seeks Milestone Victory
This weekend, junior Kristin Messmer looks for a career milestone win. Messmer needs only one singles win to reach her 50th career singles victory.

Facing Ranked Opponents
Of the remaining four regular-season matches for the Buckeyes, they will face two teams currently ranked in the Fila Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. Those teams include No. 9 Northwestern and No. 31 Michigan.

Dual Match Leaders
In the spring, juniors Kristin Messmer and Ciara Finucane are leading the Buckeyes in singles. Both have a career-high 13 dual-match victories.

Finucane and Messmer are the leading doubles team at 13-6 in the spring, while the duo of Angela DiPastina and Sonia Ruzimovsky is 11-7.

Doubles Point Is Deciding Factor
The doubles point seems to be the deciding factor for the Buckeyes this year. Ohio State has won the doubles point in all 13 of its wins while dropping the point to the opposition in all eight of its losses.

Oh So Close
The Buckeyes are only four points from being 17-4 this season as the Buckeyes have been edged 4-3 four times in the 2005-06 campaign. Ohio State fell by one point at Virginia Tech, February 18, vs. New Mexico, March 4, vs. Iowa, March 26 and last weekend vs. Indiana, April 9.

Up Next
The Buckeyes return to action next weekend when they close out the regular season at Wisconsin April 22 and at Northwestern April 23. Both matches will be held at 11 a.m.