April 4, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeyes (9-6, 3-1 Big Ten) are in a stretch of six-consecutive home matches, as they host Miami (Ohio), Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., Northwestern Saturday at 11 a.m. and Illinois Sunday at 10 a.m. Ohio State is undefeated at home this season with a perfect 6-0 record. The match Tuesday will most likely be held indoors at Jesse Owens West Recreation Center, while this weekend’s matches are schedule to be played outdoors at the Stickney Tennis Center.
Scouting Miami (Ohio)
The Redhawks are 7-7 overall this season and 2-2 in the Mid-American Conference. The team returned all but one letterwinner from last season’s 14-10 team that went undefeated in the conference. The squad is led by sophomore Kadija Richards, who plays at the No. 1 spot, and Ivona Grujic, who plays at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. The team recorded a 6-1 win over Northern Illinois in its last time out.
The Miami Coach
Ray Reppert is in his sixth year at the helm for Miami. He earned co-Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors last season, his third such honor in four years. He has guided the Redhawks to an overall mark of 64-63 and a 37-8 record in the MAC.
OSU vs. MU
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series, 24-13. The Buckeyes have won the last five meetings, including a 7-2 victory in Oxford, Ohio last season.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 13 and come into the match with a mark of 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten. The team was undefeated in conference play before losing, 4-3, to Illinois. Katherine Nasser, ranked No. 54, plays at both No. 1 singles and doubles for Northwestern. The No. 1 doubles duo of Nasser and Colleen Cheng is ranked No. 30 in the latest ITA rankings. Last season the Wildcats claimed the Big Ten title and ended the season ranked No. 24.
The Northwestern Coach
Claire Pollard is in her second year at the helm for the Wildcats. In her first season, the squad captured the conference title and recorded a mark of 19-5 overall, 9-1 in the Big Ten. Prior to coming to NU, Pollard was the head coach of the women’s tennis team at Lamar University for five seasons and was the head men’s coach for the past four years. She also served as the head coach at her alma mater, Mississippi State, for two seasons. She was the 1989 NCAA doubles champion and a Wimbledon participant that same year.
OSU vs. NU
Northwestern leads the all-time series between the teams, 18-3. The Wildcats won the last two matches between the squads, including posting a 6-1 win in Evanston, Ill. last season. The Buckeyes’ last victory over NU was at home in 1997.
The Fighting Illini, ranked No. 51, are currently 8-9 overall. The team is in first place in the conference with a perfect 5-0 mark after defeating defending Big Ten champion Northwestern on Saturday. The squad is led by Eldina Fazlic and Simone Kung, who play at the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. The Illini will travel to face Penn State Saturday before facing OSU on Sunday.
The Illinois Coach
Sujay Lama is in his second season at the helm for the Fighting Illini. In his first year he led the squad to a Big Ten tournament semifinal appearance and a berth in the NCAA tournament. Prior to coming to Illinois, Lama served as the top assistant at Florida, helping the Gators win two NCAA titles, three SEC crowns and post three undefeated dual meet seasons.
OSU vs. IU
Illinois leads the series between the schools, 18-7. The Illini won the last three meetings between the schools, including posting a 5-2 victory in the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State’s last win over Illinois was a 5-2 victory in the 1998 Big Ten tournament.
The Buckeyes’ Coach
Chuck Merzbacher is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Buckeyes. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after leading the squad to a 14-11 record last season. His overall career record is 178-107, while his mark at OSU has improved to 45-44.
The 20-Win Club
Three Buckeyes have reached the 20-win mark so far this season. Rincon holds an overall mark of 23-7, while Dascoli is 21-9 and Pervez moved her record to 20-11 with a win against Penn State.
After receiving her first national ranking March 22, Rincon moved up to No. 77 in the most recent rankings released by the ITA. She leads the squad in wins and has compiled a mark of 12-2 this spring.
Happy at Home
The Buckeyes are in the midst of a six-match homestand. The squad is a perfect 6-0 at home this season after its win over Penn State on Saturday. The team has two more home matches remaining on its schedule after this week as it will face No. 64 Purdue and No. 44 Indiana, April 15th and 16th, respectively.
A New High for the Program
After earning the highest ranking in program history earlier this season, Dascoli broke her own mark in the latest 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.
The Big Ten is Tough
Including Ohio State, 10 of the Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 75: Northwestern, 13th, Minnesota, 36th, Indiana, 44th, Ohio State, 45th, Iowa, 49th, Illinois, 51st, Michigan, 57th, Wisconsin, 58th, Penn State, 61st and Purdue, 64th.
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.
The National Team Rankings
The Buckeyes, currently ranked No. 45 by the ITA, have been ranked as high as No. 31 this season. The next team rankings will be released Wednesday.
The Buckeyes’ rankings are as follows: Fall 38 Feb. 2 35 (Tied) Feb. 9 36 Feb. 16 33 Feb. 23 34 March 1 33 March 8 31 March 15 34 March 22 31 March 29 45
OSU vs. The Big Ten
Ohio State is 3-1 in Big Ten play after recording wins over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Penn State this spring. The team’s only conference loss was a 5-2 loss at Iowa at the end of its seven-match road swing. Last season, the Buckeyes tied the school record for most wins in the Big Ten with six. That squad finished sixth, the highest-ever finish in program history. Ohio State has finished higher in the Big Ten each season under Merzbacher.
The Buckeyes’ Last Outing
Ohio State opened its six-match homestand in grand fashion Saturday afternoon, recording a 4-3 win over Penn State at the Stickney Tennis Center. Penn State earned the doubles point after winning two of three matches. Kristy Dascoli and Monica Rincon recorded Ohio State’s only doubles win with an 8-2 victory at No. 1 over Pilar Montgomery and Alison Barnett. The Buckeyes controlled the singles matches, winning four of six matches to clinch the triumph. Dascoli, Rincon, Michelle Matko and Sadhaf Pervez each recorded singles wins for Ohio State.
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 23-10 last year and her 23-7 record this season rank ninth all-time in program history. 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 seven more wins to become the all-time program leader in that category.
Vs. the Ranked
The Buckeyes are 5-6 this season against ranked opponents. The squad has recorded wins over No. 25 Marquette (5-4), No. 41 Kansas (7-2), No. 60 Minnesota (4-3), No. 61 Penn State (4-3) and No. 66 Wisconsin but has lost to 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.
On a Roll
Dascoli has improved her record to 21-9 after putting together a five-match winning streak. She has lost only twice in her last 11 outings.
Leading the Way in Doubles
Overall, Rincon has also compiled the most doubles wins for the squad, with a record of 17-9 this year. Dascoli ranks second with a mark of 14-10 while Castro is 13-9.
Moving Up in the Record Book
With a career singles record of 65-32, Dascoli is tied for sixth place all-time on the career singles wins list. She needs 16 singles wins to become the program’s all-time leader. 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 117-81 this season for a winning percentage of 59 percent. The squad has gone 42-35 in doubles this year.
The Buckeyes’ freshman class of Bowen, Martin and Pervez have all contributed to the team’s success this season. Pervez currently plays at No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles for the Buckeyes, while Bowen and Martin have stepped into the lineup when needed. Overall, Pervez has gone 19-11 in singles and 11-9 in doubles. Bowen played at No. 6 in the last three matches for the Buckeyes, while Martin played in that spot against San Diego State.