COLUMBUS, Ohio The 31st-ranked Ohio State (3-2, 0-0 Big Ten) women’s tennis team will travel to Lexington, Ky., for a dual match with the 20th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (5-0, 0-0 SEC) at noon Wednesday. Live stats for the match can be accessed from the women’s tennis schedule page online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
A Tough Slate
Kentucky in the third Top 20 team the Buckeyes will face through the first six matches of the season. The squad hosted No. 17 Notre Dame Jan. 25 and faced off against No. 9 Duke on its home court last Sunday. Notre Dame moved up to No. 14 in the most recent poll released Tuesday.
A Look at the Wildcats
Kentucky is 5-0 on the year and picked up four wins last weekend, downing East Tennessee State, 6-1, and Eastern Kentucky, 6-1, Friday, and Winthrop, 7-0, and (Ohio), 5-2, Sunday. Junior and Upper Arlington native Christine Johnston has been strong for the Wildcats, posting a 5-0 ledger on the spring season. Freshman Caroline Lilley has also been solid for Kentucky, picking up wins in four singles matches this spring. Sophomore Megan Broderick is ranked No. 61 in the nation. In doubles, the tandem of Christine Johnston and senior Carolina Escamilla are ranked No. 42 by the ITA.
Ohio State is 4-11 all-time vs. Kentucky. The teams last met Feb. 27, 2005 in Columbus, a 6-1 Wildcat win. The Buckeyes’ last victory over Kentucky came March 13, 1999 in Columbus, 5-4.
Buckeyes on Tobacco Road
The Buckeyes travel to Durham, N.C., this past weekend for the ITA National Team Indoor Qualifier. Ohio State took on No. 33 South Carolina in the first match of the weekend, winning 4-3, with all four points coming from the No. 3-6 singles spot. Sophomore Cami Hubbs led the Buckeyes off in singles from the No. 3 spot with a win over Natasa Vuckovic, 6-3, 6-1, and freshman Kelsey Haviland added another win from the No. 5 spot, winning 6-2, 6-3, over Suzanna Mansour. Angela DiPastina gave Ohio State its third point from the No. 6 spot with a 6-3, 6-4,win over Ashley Miller. The clinching point in the match came from senior Julie Blackmore, sealing a Buckeye victory from the No. 4 spot with a 6-3, 6-3, win over Miljana Jocic.
The second match of the weekend came against No. 9 Duke, where the Buckeyes fought hard but couldn’t close the deal, falling 4-2. Senior Angela DiPastina kept her stellar 2009 going, however, winning her fifth-consecutive singles match at the No. 6 spot with a three-set win over Jessi Robinson (6-2, 2-6, 6-2). Blackmore was at the top of her game for the Buckeyes in No. 4 singles, taking down 48th-ranked Amanda Granson in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Leaders of the Pack
Angela DiPastina has a team-best 5-0 record in the spring season and enters the Kentucky match on a six-match winning streak. Julie Blackmore is right behind with a 4-1 dual-match ledger. Freshman Kelsey Haviland, who was 6-2 in the fall, has a team-high nine wins this year.
Ohio State went 2-1 on the opening weekend of the 2009 spring season, picking up wins over Missouri and Eastern Kentucky while falling to Notre Dame.
Senior Angela DiPastina led the Buckeyes with three wins in singles action, including a win over the 104th-ranked Colleen Rielley of Notre Dame. DiPastina also picked up two wins in doubles over the three matches. Junior Kirsten Flower was sharp during the opening weekend as well, running off wins in two of three singles matches. Paloma Escobedo, Julie Blackmore and Kelsey Haviland also had two singles wins.
On the Horizon
Ohio State comes back to Columbus this weekend to face Virginia Friday at 3 p.m. and Virginia Tech Sunday at 11 a.m. A road trip to Eugene follows, with matches against Washington State Feb. 21 and Oregon Feb. 22. They then return home to close out the month with the Big Ten opener Feb. 28 against Penn State.
The spring dual match season will take the Buckeyes all over the United States, including destinations in at least nine different states and nearly 7000 miles of travel.
Date Location Miles Traveled
1/31 Durham, N.C. 354
2/4 Lexington, Ky. 157
2/21 Eugene, Ore. 2,060
3/8 Tampa, Fla. 831
3/23 Las Vegas, Nev. 1,726
3/27 Iowa City, Iowa 462
3/29 Minneapolis, Minn. 245
4/18 Evanston, Ill. 284
4/19 Madison, Wisc. 112
4/23 Madison, Wisc. 395
Several Buckeyes are ranked among the top of the Midwest Region in singles and doubles. Junior Kirsten Flower, who joins the Buckeyes this season after two seasons at Georgia Tech, is ranked 14th in the Midwest region in singles. Christina Keesey and Cami Hubbs are the fourth-ranked doubles team in the region, in part because of their strong run to the semifinals at the Midwest Regional Qualifier.
The Buckeyes preseason rank of 32 is the highest since opening the season as the same rank in the 2002 preseason poll.
2008-09 – 32
2007-08 – 52
2005-06 – NR
2004-05 – 49
2003-04 – 48
2002-03 – 40
2001-02 – 32
Ohio State was the fourth-highest ranked Big Ten team in the pre-season poll, trailing No. 1 Northwestern, No. 19 Michigan and No. 30 Indiana. Of the 23 teams on the Buckeyes’ 2009 schedule, 20 are ranked in the ITA Top 75 in the preseason poll while four others reside in the top 25.