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April 20, 2000

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 27 Buckeyes (14-6, 7-1 Big Ten) will end the regular season with two Big Ten matches this weekend. The squad, on a six-match winning streak, will travel to face Michigan State Saturday at 11 a.m. before going up against Michigan in Ann Arbor the next day at 11 a.m.%^$

%^$OSU in the Big Ten
%^$After recording five-consecutive conference wins, Ohio State moved into a tie for first place in the Big Ten with a record of 7-1. The seven conference victories is the most-ever in program history, breaking the mark of six set most recently in 1999. The Buckeyes have recorded conference wins over Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State, Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue and Indiana. Each Big Ten squad the Buckeyes have defeated was ranked in the Top 75 at the time of the match. The team’s only conference loss was a 5-2 loss at Iowa at the end of its seven-match road swing.%^$

%^$The Conference Standings
%^$Ohio State and Illinois are tied for first place in the conference with identical 7-1 records. Northwestern and Iowa are tied for third (6-2), while Indiana is in fifth (6-3). Minnesota (5-3), Purdue (3-5), Michigan (2-6), Wisconsin (2-6), Penn State (0-8) and Michigan State (0-8) complete the standings. The conference tournament will be held April 27-29 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The tournament champion will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA team championship.%^$

%^$Hitting Fifty
%^$The win over Indiana proved to be a memorable one for Merzbacher, as it was the 50th victory in his Ohio State tenure. The win moved his school record to 50-44, while he is now 183-77 overall. Merzbacher, the 1999 Big Ten Coach of the Year, is in his fourth year at the helm for the Buckeyes.%^$

%^$Reaching for Records
%^$The Buckeyes’ 14 wins so far this season ties the mark for second-most wins in program history, recorded in 1981, 1987 and 1999. The all-time program record for wins in a season was set in 1983, when that squad went 18-17 overall.%^$

%^$The National Rankings
%^$Although the Buckeyes won two matches last weekend, the squad dropped to No. 27 in the national rankings released by the ITA on Wednesday, as Clemson and Tulsa moved into the Top 25. Ohio State was 25th in the polls last week, marking the highest-ever ranking in program history.%^$

%^$Extending the Streak
%^$The Buckeyes’ win over Indiana moved the squad’s consecutive wins streak to six. That mark ties the program record for consecutive victories. The team also recorded six straight wins in 1987.%^$

%^$Home Sweet Home
%^$The Buckeyes ended their home season a perfect 11-0 this season. With the 11-consecutive home victories, the Buckeyes set program records for most home wins in a season and most consecutive home wins. The old mark of eight home wins was set in 1990 and tied in 1999, while the consecutive-wins at home record of six was also set in 1990 and tied in 1999.%^$

%^$Scouting Michigan State
%^$The Spartans have been forced to forfeit their last four matches because of injuries to the squad. The squad fell to Michigan, 7-0, in its last time out. Overall, the team is 2-12 overall, 0-8 Big Ten. Michigan State has recorded wins over Illinois-Chicago and Florida A&M this season.%^$

%^$The Michigan State Coach
%^$Tim Bauer is in his first season at the helm for the Spartans. He spent the previous three seasons as an assistant with the Florida State program. Bauer is an alumni of Furman, where he was a member of four Southern Conference championship teams.%^$

%^$Buckeyes vs. Spartans
%^$Ohio State leads the all-time series between the squads, 17-12. The Buckeyes have won the last three matches between the teams, including a 6-1 victory in Columbus last season.%^$

%^$Scouting Michigan
%^$The Wolverines are in eighth place (tied) in the Big Ten with a record of 2-6. The squad is 8-10 overall splitting a pair of Big Ten matches last weekend. Senior Brooke Hart leads the squad in victories with 21 and has gone 6-2 against Big Ten foes. Danielle Lund is 10-4 this spring at No. 2 and has posted 15 wins overall. Michigan will host Penn State Saturday before facing the Buckeyes.%^$

%^$The Michigan Coach
%^$Betsy Ritt is in her 16th year at the helm for the Wolverines. Ritt, who is 195-67 in her career at Michigan, has coached 10 all-Big Ten Conference honorees, a two-time league player of the year and six NCAA National Championship qualifiers. She has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year three times, with the last coming in 1997.%^$

%^$Buckeyes vs. Wolverines
%^$Michigan has a commanding 26-9 lead in the all-times series between the squads. The Buckeyes recorded a win, 4-3, over Michigan last year, marking the first dual match win in the series since 1989.%^$

%^$A Tough Tandem
%^$The Buckeyes’ No. 1 doubles tandem of Dascoli and Rincon received its first national ranking in the ITA’s last individual rankings release (April 12). The duo, which is 14-5 this season and on a six-match winning streak, is currently ranked No. 43. The duo has recorded wins over ranked teams in its last three outings. In that streak, Dascoli and Rincon defeated No. 30 Nasser/Cheng of Northwestern, No. 19 Embry/Taheny of Purdue and No. 32 Anderson/Blanch of Indiana.%^$

%^$Leaders of the Buckeyes
%^$Four Buckeyes have reached the 20-win mark so far this season. Rincon leads the squad with an overall record of 27-8, while Dascoli is right behind with a mark of 26-9. Pervez is 24-12 this season, while Matko is 22-9%^$

%^$Strong at Two
%^$Rincon leads all Big Ten No. 2 players with 27 overall wins this season. She has gone 6-2 against conference opponents and has won eight of her last 10 matches. She received her first national ranking earlier this season, reaching a high of No. 77.%^$

%^$Reaching New Heights
%^$After earning the highest ranking in program history earlier this season, Dascoli broke her own mark in the singles rankings released by the ITA. In the poll released March 29, Dascoli was ranked No. 32 in the nation – that ranking topped her previous high of No. 36 (tied) set earlier this season. Dascoli is currently ranked No. 37 in the nation.%^$

%^$Rolling Along
%^$The Buckeyes have been a team of streaks lately. The squad is on a six-match winning streak, while Dascoli has won her last 11 matches, Matko is undefeated in six, Rincon and Pervez have each won three consecutive matches and the doubles tandem of Dascoli/Rincon has won six straight.%^$

%^$Beating the Big Ten
%^$Dascoli has compiled a career mark of 26-3 against conference opponents since her freshman year. This season she is a perfect 8-0 against Big Ten foes, while last year she was a stellar 10-1. She leads conference No. 1 singles players in Big Ten wins and ranks second in that group in overall victories.%^$

%^$The Rankings in the Big Ten
%^$Including Ohio State, nine of the Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 75: Northwestern, 16th, Ohio State, 27th, Illinois, 31st, Minnesota, 36th, Indiana, 43rd, Iowa, 45th, Purdue, 55th, Michigan, 57th and Penn State, 70th (tied). Only Michigan State and Wisconsin are not ranked.%^$

%^$Last Year’s Leaders
%^$Rincon and Matko, the only Buckeyes to reach 20 wins last season, are each having strong seasons once again. Rincon leads the team with an overall mark of 27-8, while Matko is 22-9. Rincon has already surpassed her win total from last season (23), while Matko recorded 21 victories as a freshman. Each player has been ranked by the ITA at some point this season.%^$

%^$The National Team Rankings
%^$The Buckeyes received the highest ranking of the season, and in program history, in the most recent rankings by the ITA.%^$

%^$The Buckeyes’ rankings are as follows: %^$Fall 38%^$Feb. 2 35%^$Feb. 9 36%^$Feb. 16 33%^$Feb. 23 34%^$March 1 33%^$March 8 31%^$March 15 T34%^$March 22 31%^$March 29 45%^$April 5 40%^$April 12 25%^$April 19 27%^$

%^$The Buckeyes’ Last Week
%^$Vs. Purdue
%^$Ohio State defeated Purdue, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at the Stickney Tennis Center. The Buckeyes started the day by claiming the doubles point with two wins. The No. 43-ranked duo of Dascoli and Rincon put together a win over the No. 19-ranked duo of Embry and Taheny, 8-4, at No. 1. Pervez and Maloney won at No. 2 over Walgenbach and Fick, while Purdue’s Iqbal and Quebe defeated Claudia Castro and Michelle Matko, 8-4, at No. 3. Ohio State won at the top four singles spots to clinch the victory. Dascoli, Rincon and Pervez each won in two sets, while Matko posted a three-set victory over Iqbal at No. 3.
%^$Vs. Indiana
%^$Ohio State ended its home season undefeated with a victory, 4-3, over Indiana Sunday afternoon at the Stickney Tennis Center. Indiana won two of three doubles matches to claim the doubles point and go into singles with a 1-0 lead. For the Hoosiers, Wallihan and Levin posted a win at No. 2 over Pervez and Maloney, while at No. 3 Hsia and Field defeated Castro and Matko. The Buckeyes’ No. 1 duo of Dascoli and Rincon, ranked No. 43, recorded Ohio State’s only doubles win, as they topped No. 32-ranked Anderson and Blanch. The Buckeyes came back to win at the top four singles spots to defeat the Hoosiers. Matko clinched the win for OSU against Field at No. 3. After winning the first set, Matko fell in the second to push the match to a third set. After being down, 5-3, in the third, she came back to win in the tiebreak and give the Buckeyes the win. Dascoli, Rincon and Pervez also recorded wins for the Buckeyes.%^$

%^$Improving Against the Ranked
%^$With last weekend’s wins over Purdue and Indiana, the Buckeyes improved to 9-6 against ranked opponents this season. The squad recorded wins over two Top 25 teams – No. 15 Northwestern and No. 25 Marquette – as well as compiling seven other wins against teams in the national Top 75 (No. 28 Illinois, No. 41 Kansas, No. 47 Indiana, No. 56 Purdue, No. 60 Minnesota, No. 61 Penn State and No. 66 Wisconsin). Rankings listed are from when the match was played. The squad’s losses to ranked opponents were against four Top 25 teams and two Top 75 squads. Last year, the team was 3-9 over ranked opponents, including a mark of 1-6 against teams in the national Top 25.%^$

%^$In the Record Book – Again
%^$For the second-consecutive season, Rincon has broken into the Top 10 in program history for season singles wins. Her mark of 27-8 this season ranks third (tied) all-time in program history, while her 23-10 record last season was ranked ninth all-time prior to this season. Maria Olazagatsti holds the record for most singles wins in a season with 29 in 1977, while Kristen Jordan has the most wins (27 in 1997) since the NCAA limited the number of competitive dates to 25 in 1992. Rincon needs just three more wins to become the all-time program leader in that category.%^$

%^$Leading the Way in Doubles
%^$Overall, Rincon has also compiled the most doubles wins for the squad, with a record of 22-9 this year. Dascoli ranks second with a mark of 19-10.%^$

%^$Moving Up in the Record Book
%^$With a career singles record of 70-32, Dascoli moved into third place all-time on the career singles wins list. She needs 12 singles wins to become the program’s all-time leader and nine victories to move into second place. The current leader is Maria Olazagatsti, who compiled a record of 81-20 from 1977-79.%^$

%^$The Team Records
%^$As a team, the Buckeyes have recorded an overall singles mark of 140-98 this season for a winning percentage of 59 percent. The squad has gone 51-41 in doubles this year for a winning percentage of 55 percent. The squad is strong in conference singles, as it has won 62 percent of its matches, going 30-18 this spring.%^$

%^$Staying Competitive
%^$The Buckeyes have not been shutout since a 9-0 loss to Duke, Feb. 13, 1999. Since Merzbacher took over the program, the squad has only failed to win at least one match only three times. Ohio State was not shutout in any matches in 1998 and only suffered two blankings in 1997, Merzbacher’s first season with the team.%^$

%^$Strong at the Top
%^$The Buckeyes have recorded a mark of 34-5 at the top two singles spots so far this season. Dascoli, Matko and Rincon have each tallied wins at No. 1, while Rincon, Matko and Pervez have all chipped in wins at No. 2.