COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team won the last three singles matches on court to defeat Illinois, 4-3, Sunday afternoon inside the Ohio State University Varsity Tennis Center. The Buckeyes opened the day with the doubles point but the Illini won the first three singles matches for a 3-1 team lead. No. 71-ranked Ohio State then got wins from Cami Hubbs, Noelle Malley and Kara Cecil for the Big Ten victory, moving the squad to 3-0 in conference play. The Buckeyes are 10-7 overall, with Illinois dropping to 4-8 and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
“Everyone is rallying around each other and competing so well,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said. “Even after losing the first sets, the kids kept their composure and got the job done.”
The Buckeyes won the doubles point with 8-3 victories on courts two and three. Gabby Steele and Fidan Manashirova posted the first win, downing Breanna Smutko and Annie McCarthy. On court two the Buckeye duo of Kara Cecil and Malley defeated Allison Falkin and Chelcie Abajian to clinch the team point. On court one Buckeyes Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs broke to cut the Illini lead to 7-6, but Rachel White and Amy Allin broke in the next game to win the match, 8-6.
The Illini tied the match and then took a 3-1 lead with straight-set wins on courts four, one and two. Abajian posted a 6-3, 6-1 win over Manashirova on court four, followed by a victory from Allin over Haviland at the top spot, 6-1, 6-4. Steele battled hard on court two but fell in a close match to No. 98-ranked Rachael White, 6-4, 7-5.
The Buckeyes posted three wins in quick succession to claim the team victory. On court five, Hubbs pulled out a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Falkin. Malley then tied the match, closing out a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Leigh Finnegan on court six. Cecil clinched the win with a three-set victory on court three over No. 117-ranked Smutko. After losing the opening set, 6-0, Cecil dropped just two games the rest of the way, winning sets two and three 6-1.
Ohio State is now 8-1 at home this year after sweeping this weekend. The squad defeated Iowa, 6-1, Friday in Columbus.
Ohio State will play one match next week, hosting No. 11 Northwestern at 2:30 p.m. Friday (April 1) inside the Ohio State University Varsity Tennis Center.
Tennis Match Results Illinois vs Ohio State Mar 27, 2011 at Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State Varsity Tennis Ctr)
#71 Ohio State 4, Illinois 3
Singles competition 1. Amy Allin (ILL) def. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-1, 6-4 2. #98 Rachael White (ILL) def. Gabby Steele (OSU) 6-4, 7-5 3. Kara Cecil (OSU) def. #117 Breanne Smutko (ILL) 0-6, 6-1, 6-1 4. Chelcie Abajian (ILL) def. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) 6-3, 6-1 5. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Allison Falkin (ILL) 6-4, 7-5 6. Noelle Malley (OSU) def. Leigh Finnegan (ILL) 6-4, 6-2
Doubles competition 1. Rachael White/Amy Allin (ILL) def. Kelsey Haviland/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-6 2. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU) def. Allison Falkin/Chelcie Abajian (ILL) 8-3 3. Gabby Steele/Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Breanne Smutko/Annie McCarthy (ILL) 8-3
Match Notes: Illinois 4-8 (1-1 Big Ten) Ohio State 10-7 (3-0 Big Ten); National ranking #71 Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,1,2,5,6,3) Time-3:02. A-90