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Cami Hubbs looks to tie and break freshman singles wins mark at home this weekend

COLUMBUS, Ohio The 31st-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (12-3, 0-1 Big Ten) will host Big Ten opponents Minnesota (9-2, 0-1 Big Ten) and Iowa (8-1, 1-0 Big Ten) this weekend at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center. The match with Minnesota takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday while the match with Iowa begins at 10 a.m. Sunday

No. 49 Minnesota enters play Saturday with six wins in seven matches, with the loss coming against Iowa in its Big Ten opener. The Golden Gophers are led by sophomore Tijana Kopricova, who has a 7-1 record on the season, including five wins from the No. 5 spot.

All-time, Ohio State is 12-24 against Minnesota, but has a four match winning streak against the Gophers. The last loss in the series for the Buckeyes came in 2003, when Minnesota clipped the Scarlet and Gray, 4-3, in Minneapolis.

No. 43 Iowa comes to Columbus in the midst of a four matches in five days road trip. The Hawkeyes are led by senior Mili Veselinovic, who is currently tied for the most career singles wins in school history, with 102. This season, she owns an 8-0 record, with all of the wins coming from the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.

Iowa and Ohio State have met 34 times before, with the Hawkeyes coming out the victor 21 of those occasions. The last win for the Buckeyes came in 2003, when Ohio State won, 5-2, in Columbus.

FANTASTIC FRESHMEN
Heralded as one of the best recruiting classes in Buckeye history, freshmen Cami Hubbs and Paloma Escobedo have lived up to their sizeable billing this season.

Hubbs, who leads the Buckeyes with 26 singles wins, is now one victory shy of the freshman singles record of 27 wins shared by Kristen Jordan and current assistant coach Sadhaf Pervez. Additionally, Hubbs is now only five wins shy of tying the all-time single season wins record of 31, held by Kristy Dascoli.

Escobedo has been outstanding, posting nine wins in her last ten games, including a 7-1 mark from the No. 2 singles position. She has been solid in doubles also, posting an 11-3 record with partner Caitlin O’Keefe this season.

BUCKEYE HOT STREAKS
Ohio State has been excellent in singles play recently, with three team members holding win streaks of six matches or longer. Cami Hubbs and Julie Blackmore each have eight-match win streaks, while Christina Keesey holds a six match win streak. Blackmore is 13-1 overall in the spring season, the most wins of any Buckeye.

In doubles, Hubbs and Blackmore have been equally exceptional, with the tandem winning 10 consecutive matches and holding a 13-2 spring record. Additionally, Keesey and Angela DiPastina have won nine of their last 10 doubles matches.

DOUBLES NO TROUBLE AT HOME FOR BUCKEYES
Ohio State has been nearly perfect in doubles at the OSU Varsity Tennis Center this season, posting a 22-2 mark in eight matches at the Varsity Tennis Center. Leading the way are Julie Blackmore and Cami Hubbs from the No. 2 spot and Caitlin O’Keefe and Paloma Escobedo in No. 3 doubles. Each tandem is 12-4 on the season, and each has recorded eight wins in the last 10 games.

Angela DiPastina and Christina Keesey have had similar success, posting a team-high 14 wins, including a fall season win over the No. 1-ranked tandem from William and Mary. As a team, the Scarlet and Gray are 56-25 with a .691 winning percentage in paired play in 2007-08.

BLACKMORE NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Junior Julie Blackmore was named the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week by the Big Ten Conference for the week of March 4. The award is the first for the Buckeyes this season and first since Christina Keesey earned the honor last year.

Blackmore led the Buckeyes to a perfect 4-0 record during the week with wins over No. 50 Louisville, Cleveland State, Cornell and Eastern Michigan. In addition to four singles wins on the week, Blackmore and doubles partner Cami Hubbs contributed four doubles wins, including 8-0 sweeps against both Cleveland State and Eastern Michigan.

QUICK RISERS
Ohio State is now ranked as the No. 31 team in the March 18 ITA Top 75 following a 12-3 start with five victories over currently ranked programs. The Buckeyes opened the season as the No. 52 team in the Jan. 8 poll.

UP NEXT FOR OHIO STATE
Following the matches this weekend with Minnesota and Iowa, Ohio State will wrap up non-conference play with a home match with Boston March 29. From there, the Buckeyes return exclusively to Big Ten play with a match March 30 against Michigan State.

The Scarlet and Gray then take to the road for four of their final six regular season matches, beginning with a trip to No. 1 Northwestern April 5 and a match at Wisconsin April 6. A week later, the team returns home for a match with Purdue April 12 and the home finale against Illinois April 13. The regular season wraps up with road trips to Michigan April 18 and Penn State April 20.

SCARLET AND GRAY WIN TWO ON FLORIDA ROAD SWING
Ohio State swept both Drake and Coastal Carolina at the Fort Myers Collegiate Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla., on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University Monday.

In the morning match, the Buckeyes faced Drake. Ohio State took the doubles point behind 8-3 victories from the No. 1 doubles team of Christina Keesey and Angela DiPastina and the No. 2 doubles team of Cami Hubbs and Julie Blackmore. The No. 3 spot was won by default by the Buckeyes, since the Bulldogs could only compete with five athletes because of illness.

It was more of the same in singles action, where every Ohio State player won in straight sets. Paloma Escobedo, who was playing at the No. 1 spot for the first time in eight matches, won, 6-1, 6-1 while DiPastina followed suit with a 7-5, 6-2, win from the No. 2 spot. The No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 spots were all dominant, with Blackmore winning 6-1, 6-0 in No. 3 singles, Keesey winning 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 4 spot and Caitlin O’Keefe picking up a 6-1, 6-0 victory at the No. 5 spot. Julie Voss won by default at the No. 6 spot.

The afternoon match was with Coastal Carolina in the championship match, who beat Florida Gulf Coast in its morning match, 4-3. The Buckeyes again had no problem winning the doubles point, with DiPastina and Keesey leading the way with an 8-3 win in No. 1 doubles. Blackmore and Hubbs recorded their 10th-consecutive doubles win with an 8-2 decision at the No. 2 spot.

The Scarlet and Gray finished it out in singles, winning all six matches in straight sets, including two white-washings. Escobedo won her ninth match in 10 outings with a 6-0, 6-0, victory in No. 1 singles. Keesey provided her second 6-0, 6-0, win of the day from the No. 4 spot and DiPastina won 6-3, 6-1 in No. 2 singles. Blackmore won her eighth straight, 6-1, 6-0 at the No. 3 spot and O’Keefe added a 6-2, 6-1 victory from the No. 6 spot.

Hubbs picked up a 6-2, 6-2, win from the No. 5 spot, giving her 26 singles wins on the season and leaving her just one win shy of tying the freshman wins record held by Sadhaf Pervez.

BUCKEYES FALL TO HOOSIERS IN BIG TEN OPENER
Despite blizzard conditions in Columbus, Ohio State played on, falling to Indiana, 4-3, at the OSU Varsity Tennis Center in the opening match of Big Ten play for the Buckeyes.
 
The loss to Indiana dropped Ohio State to 5-30 all-time against the Hoosiers and ended its eight-game homestand with a 6-2 record.
 
For the first time at home this season, Ohio State lost the doubles point, losing both No. 1 and No. 3 doubles and winning at the No. 2 spot.
 
Julie Blackmore and Cami Hubbs claimed a win for Ohio State at the No. 2 spot, dropping Alba Berdala and Lindsey Stuckey, 8-2, to push their record to 14-4 together on the year.
 
Angela DiPastina and Christina Keesey lost in No. 1 doubles against Brianna Williams and Katya Zapadalova, 8-5, while Paloma Escobedo and Caitlin O’Keefe lost to Sigrid Fischer and Myriam Sopel at the No. 3 spot.
 
In singles, Keesey did her part at the No. 4 spot, dropping Sigrid Fischer, 6-4, 6-3, to pick up the first Buckeye point of the day.
 
Hubbs picked up a win at the No. 5 spot, her seventh-consecutive and 25th of the season, in beating Lindsey Stuckey, 6-3, 7-5. O’Keefe fell at the No. 6 singles spot, 6-1, 6-1, to Brianna Williams while DiPastina couldn’t rebound from a first set sweep against Alba Berdala in No. 1 singles, falling 6-0, 6-4.
 
Blackmore met Charlotte Martin in No. 3 singles, defeating her 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. Paloma Escobedo rounded out the action with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 loss to Zapadalova at the No. 2 spot.

SCARLET AND GRAY SWEEP CORNELL AND EASTERN MICHIGAN
Ohio State continued its strong play at home by sweeping a double-header with Cornell and Eastern Michigan March 2, defeating the Big Red, 5-2, and sweeping the Eagles, 7-0.

The Buckeyes began the day against Cornell by sweeping doubles competition. Paloma Escobedo and Caitlin O’Keefe provided the clinching doubles win with an 8-5 win from the No. 3 spot.

In singles, Julie Blackmore keyed the Scarlet and Gray from the No. 3 spot, winning a decisive 6-0, 6-4 victory. Escobedo added a 6-0, 6-1 win in No. 2 singles, while Christina Keesey clinched the match with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win from the No. 4 spot.

The nightcap with Eastern Michigan proved just as successful for Ohio State, where it once again took all three doubles matches.

Cami Hubbs helped lead the Buckeyes with a win from the No. 5 singles spot and a win at No. 2 doubles, while Angela DiPastina took a straight-set victory in No. 1 singles. O’Keefe took care of business at the No. 6 spot, winning 6-1, 6-4, while Blackmore clinched the match with a 6-2, 6-1, win in No. 3 singles.

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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