COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 62nd-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team lost its regular-season finale on the road to No. 68 Purdue, 4-3, Sunday in West Lafayette, Ind. Ohio State jumped out to a 3-0 lead with the doubles point and wins on courts four and five, but the Black and Gold (13-7, 7-3 Big Ten) rallied to win the last four singles matches on court, including two three-set victories.

The Buckeyes, 14-10 overall, finish the regular season 7-3 in the Big Ten to tie for third. The finish is the Buckeyes’ best since 2004, when the Scarlet and Gray took second in the Big Ten.

Ohio State took the doubles matches on courts two and three to earn the first point. Kara Cecil and Noelle Malley quickly downed Gisella Pere and Anna Duskina at No. 2, 8-1, before Purdue tied it with No. 54-ranked Jennifer Rabot and Mara Schmidt’s 8-5 victory against Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs on court one.

The sophomore tandem of Gabby Steele and Fidan Manashirova earned the point for the Buckeyes with an 8-4 finish against Bhavani Tirumurti and Imogen Golder on court three.

The Scarlet and Gray appeared to be in control after taking the first two singles matches. Cecil dispatched Duskina on court four, 6-3, 6-1, while Manashirova pushed the score to 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Golder on court five.

The Boilermakers used their home-court advantage to reel off four singles victories to finish the match. Pere began the scoring flurry with a 7-6 (2), 7-5 win against Hubbs on court six before Tirumurti edged Haviland by the closest of margins in a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (3) win on court two.

Rabot tied the score at three apiece with a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory against Paloma Escobedo on court one while Steele and Schmidt entered a third set on court three. Schmidt climbed to a 5-2 lead before Steele notched a victory in the eighth game to move the score to 5-3,. The Boilermaker closed the door on the Buckeye in the next game to win, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

With the loss to Purdue, Ohio State enters the conference tournament as the fourth seed and will face No. 5 seed Wisconsin Friday. The 2011 Big Ten Tournament, hosted by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., will decide the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The conference tournament will be held Thursday through Sunday.

No. 68 Purdue vs. No.62 Ohio State
Apr. 24, 2011
West Lafayette, Ind. – Schwartz Tennis Center

Purdue (13-7, 7-3) 4, Ohio State (14-10, 7-3) 3

1. Jennifer Rabot (Purdue) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 6-4, 7-6 (5)
2. Bhavani Tirumurti (Purdue) def. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (3)
3. Mara Schmidt (Purdue) def. Gabby Steele (OSU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
4. Kara Cecil (OSU) def. Anna Dushkina (Purdue) 6-3, 6-1
5. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Imogen Golder (Purdue) 6-4, 6-2
6. Gisella Pere (Purdue) def. Cami Hubbs (OSU) 7-6 (2), 7-5
Order of Finish: 4, 5, 6, 2, 1, 3

1. No. 54 Jennifer Rabot/Mara Schmidt (Purdue) def. Kelsey Haviland/Cami Hubbs(OSU) 8-5
2. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU) def. Gisella Pere/Anna Dushkina (Purdue) 8-1
3. Gabby Steele/Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Imogen Golder/Bhavani Tirumurti (Purdue) 8-4
Order of Finish: 2,1,3*