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April 26, 2000

%^$COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 22 Buckeyes (16-6, 9-1 Big Ten) go into the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed after winning the first-ever conference title in program history. The championships, held at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., will begin Thursday, while the Buckeyes earned a first-round bye and will face the Wisconsin/Michigan winner Friday at 10 a.m. in the quarterfinals. The semifinal round will be Saturday, with the championship match Sunday at noon.%^$

%^$The Big Ten Champions
%^$The Buckeyes, 16-6 overall, posted a stellar mark of 9-1 in the Big Ten during the regular season to claim the first Big Ten Title in program history. The Buckeyes’ previous high was a sixth-place finish, which the squad recorded last season. The nine conference victories is the most-ever in program history, breaking the mark of six set most recently in 1999. Eight of the nine Big Ten squads the Buckeyes defeated were 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 OSU’s seven-match road swing.%^$

%^$The Conference Championships
%^$Ohio State claimed the No. 1 seed for the Big Ten tournament with a league record of 9-1 during the regular season. Illinois (8-2) is the second seed, followed by: Northwestern (8-2), Minnesota (7-3), Iowa (7-3), Indiana (6-4), Purdue (4-6), Michigan (3-7), Wisconsin (2-8), Penn State (1-9) and Michigan State (0-10). The tournament champion will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA team championship.
%^$First Round (Thursday)
%^$Match 1: #8 Michigan vs. #9 Wisconsin
%^$Match 2: #7 Purdue vs. #10 Penn State
%^$Match 3: #6 Indiana vs. #11 Michigan State
%^$Quarterfinals (Friday)
%^$Match 4: #1 Ohio State vs. Match 1 winner
%^$Match 5: #2 Illinois vs. Match 2 winner
%^$Match 6: #3 Northwestern vs. Match 3 winner
%^$Match 7: #4 Minnesota vs. #5 Iowa
%^$Semifinals (Saturday)
%^$Match 8: Match 4 winner vs. Match 7 winner
%^$Match 9: Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner
%^$Championship (Sunday)
%^$Match 10: Match 8 winner vs. Match 9 winner
%^$

%^$Last Year at the Big Tens
%^$After receiving a first-round bye in the 1999 Big Ten Championships, the No. 5-seed Buckeyes fell in the quarterfinals to No. 4-seed Illinois, 5-2. Northwestern claimed the tournament title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.%^$

%^$Big Ten Tourney History
%^$Beginning in 1982, the first season the Big Ten sanctioned a women’s tennis tournament, the Buckeyes have never finished higher than seventh at the championships, which they achieved in 1983 and `91. Overall, Indiana leads the league with 13 titles, followed by Northwestern with three and Michigan and Wisconsin with one each.%^$

%^$The Buckeye Coach
%^$Chuck Merzbacher, the 1999 Big Ten Coach of the Year, is in his fourth year at the helm for the Buckeyes. He recorded his 50th victory at Ohio State earlier this spring. His record at OSU now stands at 52-44, while he holds a mark of 185-107 in his career. In his four seasons with the squad, the team has moved up quickly in the Big Ten, from ninth-place finishes in his first two seasons to this year’s regular season title.%^$

%^$Record Setters
%^$The Buckeyes’ 16 wins this season rank second all-time in program history. The all-time program record for wins in a season was set in 1983, when that squad went 18-17 overall.%^$

%^$The National Rankings
%^$The Buckeyes received a program-best ranking of No. 22 in rankings released by the ITA Wednesday. The squad’s previous high was No. 25, which it reached two weeks ago.%^$

%^$Extending the Streak
%^$The Buckeyes set a new program record with their current eight-match winning streak. The team broke the old mark of six, set in 1987.%^$

%^$Player of the Month
%^$Kristy Dascoli was named the Big Ten co-Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Month for April. (She shares the honor with Minnesota’s Kim Simonsen.) Dascoli has won her last 12 matches, including a perfect 7-0 mark in April. She was also undefeated in doubles during April, teaming up with Monica Rincon to post a mark of 8-0 at No. 1.%^$

%^$A Formidable Duo
%^$The Buckeyes’ No. 1 doubles tandem of Dascoli and Rincon moved up from No. 43 to No. 20 in the rankings released by the ITA after posting wins over three ranked opponents. The duo is 16-5 this season and on an eight-match winning streak.%^$

%^$The 20-Win Club
%^$Four Buckeyes have reached the 20-win mark so far this season. Rincon leads the squad with an overall record of 29-8, while Dascoli is right behind with a mark of 27-9. Pervez is 25-13 this season, while Matko is 24-9%^$

%^$Strong at Two
%^$Rincon has led the Buckeyes in wins all spring. She ranks first on the team with an overall mark of 29-8 and has gone 8-2 against Big Ten opponents. She has won 18 of her last 21 matches and is currently on a five-match winning streak. She received her first national rankings earlier this season, reaching a high of No. 77, and is currently ranked No. 93.%^$

%^$In the Polls
%^$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. 38 in the nation.%^$

%^$Red Hot
%^$The Buckeyes have been a team of streaks lately. The squad is on a six-match winning streak, while Dascoli has won her last 12 matches, Matko is undefeated in eight, Rincon has won five consecutive matches and the doubles tandem of Dascoli/Rincon has won eight straight.%^$

%^$Beating the Big Ten
%^$Dascoli has compiled a career mark of 27-3 against conference opponents since her freshman year. This season she is a perfect 9-0 against Big Ten foes, while last year she was a stellar 10-1. She led conference No. 1 singles players in Big Ten wins during the regular season.%^$

%^$The Rankings in the Big Ten
%^$Including Ohio State, nine of the Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 75: Northwestern, 17th, Ohio State, 22nd, Illinois, 36th, Minnesota, 37th, Iowa, 42nd, Indiana, 44th, Purdue, 55th, Michigan, 57th and Penn State, 70th. 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 29-8, while Matko is 24-9. 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.%^$

%^$Home Sweet Home
%^$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.%^$

%^$The National Team Rankings
%^$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%^$April 19 27%^$April 26 22%^$

%^$The Buckeyes’ Last Week
%^$Vs. Michigan State
%^$Ohio State extended its winning streak with a victory, 7-0, over Michigan State Saturday afternoon at the MSU Outdoor Courts. Ohio State won the doubles point with two victories and a default win at No. 3 doubles. The Buckeyes’ No. 1 duo of Dascoli and Rincon, ranked No. 43, posted a win over Brooke Townsend and Natasha Skogerboe. At No. 2 Pervez and Maloney defeated Kathryn Figenshau and Joi McQueen. The Buckeyes also won at the top four singles spots. Rincon defeated Townsend in straight sets while Matko won in three sets at No. 2 singles over Skogerboe. At No. 3 Pervez topped Figenshau, and Maloney won at the No. 4 spot over McQueen. Bowen and Martin recorded default wins at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively%^$

%^$Vs. Michigan
%^$Ohio State ended its record-setting regular season with a 5-2 triumph at Michigan Sunday afternoon at the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. OSU captured two of the three doubles matches to gain the doubles point. The Buckeyes’ No. 1 duo of Dascoli and Rincon defeated the Wolverines’ Brooke Hart and Jen Duprez, 8-2, while Castro and Matko eked out a narrow doubles win over Joanne Musgrove and Erryn Weggenman by winning the tie-break, 7-4, en route to a 9-8 win. OSU earned four of the six singles points, including each of the first three spots. Dascoli knocked off Hart at No. 1 singles while Rincon outlasted Danielle Lund in three sets at No. 2. Matko claimed the No. 3 singles win with a 6-0, 6-4 trouncing of Szandra Fuzesi and Maloney earned the fifth Buckeye point with a victory at No. 5.%^$

%^$OSU vs. the Ranked
%^$After defeating No. 57 Michigan last weekend, the Buckeyes improved to 10-6 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 eight other wins against teams in the national Top 75 (No. 28 Illinois, No. 41 Kansas, No. 47 Indiana, No. 56 Purdue, No. 57 Michigan, 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.%^$

%^$Moving Up the Charts
%^$With her victory against Michigan, Rincon tied the program record for single-season wins. She needs just one more win to become the all-time leader in that category. Rincon also broke into the charts last season after recording 23 wins. Rincon in currently tied with Maria Olazagatsti for the record, as Olazagatsti posted 29 victories in 1977.%^$

%^$Leading the Way in Doubles
%^$Overall, Rincon has also compiled the most doubles wins for the squad, with a record of 24-9 this year. Dascoli ranks second with a mark of 21-10.%^$

%^$Putting It Together
%^$The doubles duo of Castro and Matko pulled out a win in a close match against Weggenman and Musgrove of Michigan. The Buckeyes’ tandem won in the tiebreak, 7-4, en route to a 9-8 win. The win was the duo’s second in a route after earning a default win against Michigan State the previous day.%^$

%^$Moving Up in the Record Book
%^$With a career singles record of 71-32, Dascoli is in third place all-time on the career singles wins list. She needs nine victories to move into second place and 11 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. Dascoli is currently tied for 10th place all-time on the career-doubles wins list with 63. The all-time leader in that category is Kelly Story, who went 118-60 from 1989-92.%^$

%^$Ending Strong
%^$The Buckeyes finished their regular season on a tear, as the team won its last eight matches, including defeating six ranked teams.%^$

%^$The Team Records
%^$As a team, the Buckeyes have recorded an overall singles mark of 150-100 this season for a winning percentage of 60 percent. The squad has gone 56-42 in doubles this year for a winning percentage of 57 percent. The squad is strong in conference singles, as it has won 67 percent of its matches, going 40-20 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 39-5 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.