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Feb. 24, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 2-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team is set for two matches this weekend. The Buckeyes (10-1, 0-0 B1G) open Big Ten play at Penn State (2-4, 0-0 B1G) at 5 p.m. Friday in University Park, Pa., before returning home to host No. 24 Arizona State (6-2, 0-0 Pac 12) at noon Sunday inside the Varsity Tennis Center. The home match will be in the Varsity Tennis Center (880 West Henderson Road) and admission is free.

SCOUTING PENN STATE
The Nittany Lions are 2-4 this season and 1-1 at home. Last weekend, Penn State got swept 7-0 by Columbia. Penn State, which started the season ranked 47th, returns all nine players from its 2015 squad.

Ohio State is 29-17 all-time vs. Penn State. The Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions squared off last season, when the Buckeyes posted a 5-2 win in Columbus. Ohio State has won the last three matches between the teams, with the Nittany Lions’ last win a 4-3 victory Feb. 7, 2012.

The match opens Big Ten play for the Buckeyes. Ohio State was 10-1 in Big Ten action last season, with its lone loss to Michigan, and finished second in the regular season standings before reaching the conference tournament final.

A LOOK AT THE SUN DEVILS
No. 24 Arizona State is 6-2 on the season. The Sun Devils have a ranked singles player and a ranked doubles tandem. Senior Desirae Krawczyk is slotted No. 36, while the doubles tandem of junior Alexandria Osborne and senior Ebony Panoho checks in at No. 30. Arizona State welcomed one freshman and returned six upperclassmen for this season.

Ohio State is 1-1 all-time vs. Arizona State. The Buckeyes faced the Sun Devils last season, when the Buckeyes notched a 4-3 victory on the road. The first match was March 24, 1990, a 9-0 win by the Sun Devils. Earlier this season, Ohio State and Arizona State players faced off at the UT Fall Invite in Knoxville, Tenn.

LAST TIME OUT
Last weekend, Ohio State posted a 6-1 win over No. 64-ranked Tennessee in the Varsity Tennis Center in Columbus. Ohio State took a 1-0 advantage after clinching the doubles point with wins from the tandem of Anna Sanford and Miho Kowase and the duo of Sandy Niehaus and Gabriella De Santis. Olivia Sneed and Anna Sanford notched straight set victories on courts six and two, respectively, before Miho Kowase clinched the team win on court five dropping only five games. Francesca Di Lorenzo and Ferny Angeles Paz closed out the afternoon with wins, after both dropping their first sets.

IN THE RANKINGS
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in the latest ITA poll released Monday moving up three spots from No. 5. The squad began the spring ranked 18th for the first two polls before moving to a then-program record 16th Jan. 27. A win over Michigan, before victories over Fresno State and Vanderbilt at the ITA National Indoors, moved the Buckeyes to sixth in the Feb. 10 poll, the first time the program was in the Top 10. A second win over defending NCAA champion Vanderbilt moved the Buckeyes to fifth Feb. 17. This week’s poll is the first generated by a computer, which moved Ohio State to second.

Freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo remains No. 1 in the ITA singles rankings. Junior Sandy Niehaus and sophomore Olivia Sneed check in at No. 77 and No. 102, respectively.

The tandem of sophomore Anna Sanford and junior Miho Kowase is ranked No. 4 moving up four spots to a program high. The pair of junior Ferny Angeles Paz and junior Sandy Niehaus checks in at No. 32.

Among Big Ten teams, No. 3 Michigan joins Ohio State in the Top 10. Other ranked B1G teams include No. 53 Northwestern, No. 56 Minnesota, No. 59 Illinois, No. 63 Indiana and No. 67 Purdue.

BUCKEYES BY THE NUMBERS
Entering this weekend, sophomore Olivia Sneed and junior Ferny Angeles Paz lead the Buckeyes with nine dual match singles wins each, followed by freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo with eight and junior Miho Kowase and sophomore Anna Sanford with seven each. Angeles Paz and Di Lorenzo are tied for the overall lead with 17 victories this season, with Sneed (14) third and Kowase (13) fourth.

In doubles, the tandem of Di Lorenzo and Sneed are a perfect 9-0 through the first 11 dual matches and lead the Buckeyes in wins as a team. Kowase had a team-best 17 overall doubles wins on the year, followed by Sanford with 15, Sneed with 14 and Angeles Paz with 13.

The Buckeyes were 10-0 at No. 3 doubles through the first 11 matches and won the doubles point in eight of the matches, including the last four.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes will travel to Waco, Texas to take on No. 45 Baylor at noon on March 5. The squad will then return home to host a doubleheader vs. Dayton and Cincinnati March 9. The matches are set for 2 and 6 p.m., respectively, inside the Varsity Tennis Center.