Feb. 1, 2013

Columbus, Ohio – The No. 55-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will face their first Big Ten competition of the season Saturday against the No. 17 Nebraska Cornhuskers at 11 a.m. in the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center. The undefeated Buckeyes have posted three shutouts in a row after blanking Eastern Kentucky, 7-0, Tuesday night.


Last year, the Buckeyes faced Nebraska for the first time as conference foes, dropping the match, 4-0, in Lincoln, Neb. The Cornhuskers earned the doubles point with victories on courts one and three and then won the first three singles matches to clinch the team victory.

The Buckeye duo of Kara Cecil and Kelsey Haviland handed Mary Weatherholt and Patricia Veresova their first loss, 8-6, to wrap up doubles. Nebraska took three straight-set singles decisions to clinch the match. Weatherholt, ranked 40th in the nation at the time, finished first on court one, downing Cecil, 6-2, 6-3. Madeleine Geibert followed by defeating Fidan Manashirova, 6-0, 6-2, on court three and Maike Zeppernick sealed the victory for the Huskers with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Tiffany Dittmer on court six. Matches were abandoned on courts two, four and five because of inclement weather.

The Buckeyes are 2-4 all-time vs. the Cornhuskers.


The Cornhuskers notched their most successful season in school history last spring with an overall record of 24-5 and 9-2 ledger in the Big Ten. This year, Nebraska’s veteran team has posted four victories in the spring campaign over Eastern Michigan, Creighton, Tennessee and Notre Dame.

Nebraska is returning to the courts against the Buckeyes after clinching a bid to the National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 8-11 with two wins at ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Huskers defeated Notre Dame in the championship match, 4-1. Nebraska dominated the doubles matches to get a jump start in the match before closing the victory in four singles matches. Senior Mary Weatherholt is the reigning Big Ten Athlete of the Week after going 3-0 last week, including singles wins over two ranked players and a win over the No. 12-ranked doubles team with Patricia Veresova.


Ohio State, Nebraska and Michigan State sit atop the Big Ten leaderboard as the only teams with four victories in the spring campaign. At No. 55, Ohio State is one of 10 ranked Big Ten teams in the latest Campbell’s/ITA National Rankings, joining Northwestern (14), Michigan (16), Nebraska (17), Purdue (26), Illinois (31), Minnesota (41), Penn State (48), Indiana (51) and Wisconsin (75).


The Buckeyes have claimed three straight shutouts this season, adding to a 4-0 record in the spring campaign. With her victory over Eastern Kentucky’s Kristina Labeja, 6-2, 6-2, No. 41 Kelsey Dieters earned her ninth-consecutive singles victory. The Shelby Township, Mich. native has also tallied five straight doubles wins this season alongside senior Kara Cecil.

Against Eastern Kentucky, after dropping the first set, Steele tied her match with a 6-1 win in set two and then prevailed in a super tiebreaker, 1-0 (7), to preserve her eighth singles win in a row. Junior Noelle Malley, who did not compete against the Colonels, has won seven consecutive singles matchups.


The Ohio State women’s tennis team is hosting USTA Campus Kids’ Day Saturday at the Varsity Tennis Center. Campus Kids Days are designed to expose more junior players, their parents and coaches to college tennis varsity team matches. The Ohio State men’s tennis team will host Campus Kids Day at noon Saturday, Feb. 23 vs. Notre Dame. There will be free pizza and drinks for all kids that attend, racquet stenciling and giveaways.


In their last match at the Varsity Indoor Center, the Buckeyes rallied to preserve their third straight shut-out of the season, defeating Eastern Kentucky University, 7-0.

The Buckeyes swept the doubles matches. On court three, senior Gabby Steele and freshman Grainne O’Neill posted an 8-2 victory over Amandine Faouzi and Carmen Rodriguez, followed by the tandem of sophomore Kelsey Dieters and senior Kara Cecil downing Kristina Labeja and Milena Poffo on court two, 8-1. Senior Fidan Manashirova and redshirt freshman Nicole Flower closed out the sweep with an 8-3 win at No. 1 against Melissa Gerritsen and Saioa Oscoz.

On court four, Manashirova put Ohio State up 2-0, dropping just two games in a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Oscoz. O’Neill was a 6-3, 6-2 winner at No. 5 over Poffo, followed shortly by a 6-2, 6-2 win by Flower on court six to clinch the Buckeyes’ team victory. Dieters, ranked No. 41, closed out Labeja, 6-2, 6-2. Against Faouzi on court one, Cecil won the first set in a tiebreaker and then claimed the match with a 6-2 set-two win. After dropping the first set, Steele tied her match with a 6-1 win in set two and then prevailed in a super tiebreaker, 1-0 (7).


The Ohio State men’s and women’s tennis programs combined to raise $361 for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at their Buckeyes Go Pink matches earlier this month through donations, raffles and bake sales. Thanks to all the fans who contributed to the cause. Check out these photos: Photo Gallery