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April 29, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeyes (14-9, 6-4) battle the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday at 10 a.m. The match will be held at the Michigan State University Outdoor Tennis Courts in East Lansing, Mich. Both teams have a bye in the first round of the tournament. Last year, Ohio State upset the Fighting Illini, 4-1 in the first round.

LAST TIME OUT
On Sunday, No 40-ranked Ohio State lost another close one to Minnesota, 4-3. For the second consecutive weekend, the Buckeyes teetered on winning the match, but was short just one singles match. After taking the doubles point, Minnesota notched three wins in singles to edge the Buckeyes. Monica Rincon notched her 21st win by defeating Hrdinova, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. She is now just behind Michelle Matko with the teams best singles record.

LAST YEAR TOURNAMENT RESULTS
Last season, No. 9 seed Ohio State upset Illinois in the first round, 4-1, but lost in the second round to eventual champion Wisconsin, 5-1. In singles, Kristy Dascoli defeated Simone Kung, 6-1, 6-1 and Briana Harris captured a win over Stacy Shapiro, 6-3, 6-4. The Buckeyes would clinch the upset with Dascoli and Harris defeating Kung/Rosenberg, 8-1, in doubles.

OHIO STATE VS. ILLINOIS
Ohio State’s all-time record against the fighting Illini is 7-18. Earlier this month, the Buckeyes traveled to Champaign and lost 4-3.

SCOUTING THE FIGHTING ILLINI
Illinois has won its last six matches in the Big Ten to place fourth in the conference standings. The Fighting Illini is led by Brooke Ferney, who has posted a 25-14 mark overall. Out of the six singles spots, five of the players have over 20-plus wins. In doubles, Ferney with partner Carla Rosenberg have compiled a 11-5 record as the No. 1 doubles team.

LAST TIME AGAINST ILLINOIS
The Buckeyes lost a close 4-3 match against Illinois on April 10. The match came down to the No. 4 position, where Illinoiss Carla Rosenberg defeated Monica Rincon, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. Rincon had led 3-0 and 5-2 in the third set, but Rosenberg came back to cut the lead to 5-4. Rosenberg eventually won the game to tie the score at 5-5 and win the tiebreaker.

LATEST ITA RANKINGS
Kristy Dascoli and Briana Harris are ranked No. 16 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association doubles rankings. Dascoli also received a No. 57 ranking in singles. Dascoli has had another impressive year posting a 15-6 dual record and a 17-11 overall mark. The Buckeyes garnered a No. 40 ranking in the latest polls with their 14-8 overall record and 6-3 Big Ten mark.

DASCOLI/HARRIS DOMINATION
This season, the sophomore tandem of Kristy Dascoli and Briana Harris have amassed a 15-8 record as the No. 1 singles player and a 22-13 overall mark. The doubles surpassed their freshmen record of 19-14 and now have a career record of 41-27.

MATKO IMPACTO
As only a freshman, Michelle Matko has dominated her opponents, compiling a 21-10 overall mark. Prior to moving up to the No. 2 spot, she posted a 4-0 record at the No. 3 spot and then went eight-consecutive matches without a loss. With just two more wins, Matko can move up on the single-season singles ladder. Former Buckeye Kerry Singer sits in at ninth with a 22-10 record posted in 1987.

FRESHMAN FAB NOTCHES 20 WINS
Michelle Matko and Monica Rincon have both notched over 20 wins in singles. Matko leads the team with the best singles record of 21-11 and Rincon follows with a 21-13 mark.

BUCKEYES READY TO ECLIPSE ANOTHER
The Buckeyes six wins in the Big Ten ties the record of most wins ever by an OSU squad. The 1982-83 squad accomplished six conference wins.

BUCKEYES’ BREAK OUT YEAR
In the dual season, Ohio State defeated Michigan, 4-3, which was a first since 1989. The Buckeyes also defeated Indiana, 4-3, which was a first since 1976.

BIG TEN ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
The week of April 6, Kristy Dascoli was honored as the Big Ten Athlete of the Week. Dascoli, after beginning the season with a 1-4 record, went on a roll winning 11-consecutive matches, including her win over No. 18-ranked Lioundmilla Skavronskaia of Miami (Fla.), 6-4, 6-2. She has since won 15 of her last 17 matches to compile an 18-11 record.

NEW ADDITIONS
The Buckeyes added two new players onto its 1998-99 roster. Laura Maloney, a native of Barrington, Ill., competed at the No. 1 singles and doubles position at Colorado State before transferring to Ohio State. This season as OSUs No. 6 singles player, Maloney has posted an 8-11 record and a 9-8 mark with partner Claudia Castro as the No. 3 doubles team. Erika Sandor is a walk-on, who competed at Hawken in Cleveland, Ohio. She is from Bentleyville, Ohio and has posted a 1-0 record this season in singles.

SENIOR GOOD-BYE
Seniors’ Kadri Kanepi and Monica Koplas competed in their last home match of the season against the Minnesota Gophers. Kanepi, a native of Haapslau, Estonia, has an 8-6 overall record this season and has been used primarily in the No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles spot. In her senior campaign, Kanepi has posted a seven-match winning streak that carried through from her fall season until the end of January. Kanepi had her best season as a sophomore when she recorded a stellar 18-6 dual match mark. In her career, Kanepi has posted a 44-73 overall mark in singles and a 50-63 doubles record. Koplas in her last season has recorded a 2-7 mark in singles, posting a 43-35 career mark in singles and a 34-33 doubles record. Her best season came as a freshman, when she finished second on the team with 20 wins and notched a solid 13-9 dual match mark.

HIGHEST RANKING EVER
The Buckeyes received its highest ranking ever in the Spring II announcement of rankings. As a team, the Buckeyes had moved up to No. 26 in the nation, which was the highest in Ohio State womens tennis history.

BRUISING RANKED SCHEDULE
The Buckeyes took on six schools that were ranked in the top 35 of the ITA rankings. Ohio State defeated No. 35 Marquette, 7-2, and No. 18 Kentucky, but would lose to No. 26 Tennessee, No. 16 Notre Dame, No. 2 Duke and No. 26 Miami (Fla.).

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR
In five of the Buckeyes loses, the matches came down to one point. Against Tennessee and Georgia Tech, Ohio State lost by a score of 5-4 and against Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Buckeyes fell 4-3.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
This season, Ohio State posted six-consecutive wins at home, tying the record set in 1990. Beginning on Feb. 16, Ohio State did not lose a match at home until April 18 against Wisconsin, 4-3.

BIG TEN IN RANKINGS
Five Big Ten schools are in the top 50 team rankings. Northwestern is ranked No. 23, followed by No. 40 Ohio State, No. 42 Iowa, and Illinois and Minnesota are both tied at No. 45.

AT THE HELM
Chuck Merzbacher begins his third season as Ohio State’s women’s tennis head coach. Prior to Ohio State, Merzbacher was the head coach of the Kansas womens tennis team. Merzbacher led Kansas to four of its five Big Eight conference championships and three trips to the NCAA postseason tournament, including a quarterfinal finish in 1994. He left Kansas with an 83-29 overall record and an impressive 39-1 conference record. At Ohio State, Merzbacher has in two short years brought the program into the national spotlight by improving the Buckeyes to last years eight place finish in the Big Ten and also having Kristy Dascoli compete in the NCAA National Championships–a first ever for the Ohio State program. Merzbacher has amassed a 169-99 overall career record.