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Buckeyes look to maintain early season momentum

COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 45 Ohio State women’s tennis team (6-2, 0-0 Big Ten) hosts Louisville (6-3, 1-1 Big East) at 3 p.m. and Cleveland State (7-2, 0-0 Horizon) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the OSU Varsity Tennis Center. The Buckeyes will look to maintain their momentum coming off two home wins against Oregon and Toledo.
 
Ohio State traveled to Louisville last season for a match with the Cardinals. The Scarlet and Gray came out on top in that contest, winning 5-2. All-time, Ohio State is 6-1 against Louisville.
 
This season, the Buckeyes and Cardinals have each faced off against both South Florida and Virginia Tech. Louisville defeated both teams, while Ohio State lost to South Florida (4-3) and beat Virginia Tech (5-2).
 
Cleveland State and Ohio State will meet for the first time since 2005, when the Buckeyes blanked the Vikings, 7-0 in Columbus. The teams have met three times altogether, with the Scarlet and Gray coming out victorious in each match.

HOMESTAND NOTES
The matches with Louisville and Cleveland State are the fourth and fifth matches in an eight-game homestand for the Buckeyes. Ohio State will play Cornell and Eastern Michigan Sunday and finish up the homestand with the Big Ten opener against Indiana March 8.

Following the Ft. Myers Collegiate Invite March 17, Ohio State will return home and face off against Minnesota and Iowa before leaving Columbus and traveling to Northwestern and Wisconsin in early April.

BUCKEYE BRIEFS
Ohio State has been excellent this season from the No. 2 and No. 4 singles spots. The No. 2 spot, which has been occupied by a combination of Paloma Escobedo and Angela DiPastina, is 7-1 against competition. Escobedo, after going 1-3 at the No. 1 spot, has excelled at the No. 2 spot and is 4-0. Julie Blackmore and Cami Hubbs have played in the No. 4 spot this season and have also gone 7-1 on the year.

Despite an injury-shortened fall season, senior Caitlin O’Keefe has been sharp thus far in the spring season. O’Keefe is 6-1 on the spring and is now 8-2 in her last 10 matches.

Hubbs came to Ohio State with a reputation for winning and has not slowed down since becoming a Buckeye. In just 24 matches this season, she has won a team-best 20 matches and stands at 8-3 on the spring season.
 
With 20 wins, Hubbs is poised to make a run at the single-season record for wins by a freshman held by Kristen Jordan and current assistant coach Sadhaf Pervez, who each had 27. The season singles wins record is 31 held by Kristy Dascoli.

Hubbs’ 14 wins in tournaments this year is already a record for a freshman, passing the freshman mark of 13 set by Jordan. Her winning percentage of .800 thus far this season is also third best all-time for a freshman.

Through three matches inside the Varsity Tennis Center, the Buckeyes have yet to lose a doubles match, going 9-0.

MOVIN’ ON UP
Ohio State is now ranked as the No. 45 team in the Feb. 20 ITA Top 75 after its 6-2 start and three victories over ranked programs.
 
The Buckeyes began the season as the No. 52 team before moving up to No. 50 in the Jan. 29 rankings with two victories on the opening weekend of competition. After a brief stay at No. 48, Ohio State rose to 47th in the Feb. 12 rankings.

UP NEXT
Following their match with Louisville and Cleveland State, Ohio State will once more return to the OSU Varsity Tennis Center for a Sunday double header with Cornell and Eastern Michigan. The contest with Cornell begins at 10 a.m. while the match with Eastern Michigan is scheduled for 4 p.m.

DUCK HUNTING
The Ohio State women’s tennis team defeated No. 46 Oregon Sunday, 5-2, at the OSU Varsity Tennis Center. The match marked the first time the Buckeyes had hosted a Pac-10 Conference team in Columbus.
 
Caitlin O’Keefe got the Buckeyes going with a win at the No. 6 spot, while Cami Hubbs added her team-high 20th win of the season from the No. 5 spot.
 
Paloma Escobedo won in No. 2 singles to clinch the match for Ohio State and Julie Blackmore powered her way to a victory at the No. 5 spot.

Angela DiPastina and Christina Keesey each lost in three sets, with DiPastina falling in No. 1 singles and Keesey losing at the No. 3 spot.
  
The Scarlet and Gray swept doubles for the third-consecutive match, putting them at 9-0 on the homestand in doubles competition. Ohio State lost just four games over the three doubles matches vs. the Ducks.

OHIO STATE GORED BY BULLS, SHOOT DOWN ROCKETS
In the first match inside the newly opened Varsity Tennis Center, No. 47 Ohio State was beaten by No. 31 South Florida, 4-3. The contest was highlighted by a three and a half hour clinching match between Julie Blackmore and Liz Cruz, a battle Cruz won, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Paloma Escobedo shut down Ally Mueller, 6-2, 6-2, in No. 2 singles and Caitlin O’Keefe provided the other singles victory for the Buckeyes with a straight set, 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 71 Natalia Guevera.

Angela DiPastina lost in No. 1 singles, Christina Keesey fell in No. 3 singles and Cami Hubbs was beaten at the No. 5 spot. The Buckeyes did win the doubles point for the first time in four matches, sweeping the Bulls.

The nightcap produced better results for the Scarlet and Gray, as they beat Toledo, 6-1. The Buckeyes again swept the doubles point and cruised in singles action.

Angela DiPastina recorded her first career win at the No. 1 spot with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win. Escobedo, Keesey, Hubbs and O’Keefe all won their matches, with the sole loss on the day coming from Julie Voss at the No. 6 spot following a battle with Jessica Azoulay.

NO LUCK WITH THE IRISH
Ohio State was defeated by No. 14 Notre Dame, 5-2, Thursday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind. The loss to the Fighting Irish was the first of the season for the Buckeyes.

Junior Julie Blackmore upset No. 88 Colleen Rielley, 7-5, 6-2 while Paloma Escobedo snapped her personal three-match losing streak this spring against No. 64 Brook Buck at the No. 2 singles spot.

Angela DiPastina fell to Kelcy Tefft, 6-4, 6-2 and Christina Keesey battled with No. 62 Cosmina Ciobanu, taking her to three sets before falling, 6-0, 3-6, 6-2.

Freshman Cami Hubbs and senior Caitlin O’Keefe each lost their match, with No. 82 Katie Potts beating Hubbs, 6-1, 6-1, at the No. 5 spot and No. 89 Kali Krisik topping O’Keefe at the No. 6 spot, 6-1, 6-3.

The Scarlet and Gray were swept in doubles, marking the third-consecutive match in which they lost the doubles point. DiPastina and Keesey were defeated by the third-ranked Fighting Irish tandem of Buck and Tefft in No. 1 doubles, 8-2, while Krisik and Kristen Rafael dropped Blackmore and Hubbs in a close game, 8-6, at the second spot. Escobedo and O’Keefe also lost, falling to Ciobanu and Rielley, 8-3, at No. 3.
 
The loss extends the Buckeyes’ losing streak against the Irish to 13 matches. Ohio State is now 3-15 all-time against Notre Dame.

A NEW HOME
The Ohio State University Varsity Tennis Center is the new indoor venue for the men’s and women’s tennis teams and opened in November. Located at 880 West Henderson Road in northwest Columbus, the 57,000 square foot center has six courts covered with a Plexipave surface.

The indoor tennis center accommodates approximately 400 spectator seats, plus standing room. In addition to 156 bleacher seats, the facility features 64 cabaret-style seats on court level at the north end and 96 individual seats in the south end. Additionally, 66 theatre-style seats will be available.  

The site also houses the coaches’ offices, as well as locker rooms and team and recruiting rooms.

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