COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 73rd-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (10-8, 3-1 Big Ten) fell to 18th-ranked Northwestern (10-5, 3-0 Big Ten), 5-2, at home Friday afternoon.

“Northwestern played extremely well today,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said after the match. “Our girls battled though, and that’s one thing we’re going to do every match. We’re going to battle until the end.”

Battling the wind while playing outdoors at home for the first time this season, the Buckeyes couldn’t find their footing in doubles, dropping all three matches to the Wildcats. Northwestern’s Maria Mosolova and Belinda Niu earned the first win, taking down Kara Cecil and Noelle Malley, 8-0. Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton, the No. 7 doubles tandem in the nation, secured the doubles point for Northwestern following an 8-5 victory against Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs on court one.

Brittany Wowchuk and Elena Chernyakova completed the doubles sweep for NU, downing Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele, 8-3, on court three.

Northwestern didn’t let up in singles, taking the top three matches in straight sets, along with a three-set decision on court six, to clinch the match.

The 74th-ranked Niu claimed a win against Steele on court two, 6-1, 6-0, before Mosolova, ranked 16th nationally, gave Northwestern a 3-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-0 win on court one.

Kate Turvy, ranked 92nd nationally, shut the door on the Buckeyes with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Cecil on court three to clinch the match for the Wildcats.

Manashirova and Hubbs ensured the Buckeyes would be represented on the scoreboard with a pair of victories on courts four and five, respectively. Manashirova downed Mushrefova, 6-4, 7-6(4), just moments before Hubbs took her own match against Stacey Lee, 7-6(5), 6-4.

Malley battled to a third set against Hamilton on court six, but couldn’t hold off the Wildcat as Hamilton took the third set and match, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4, to close out the day.

The Buckeyes return to action April 9-10 as they hit the road for their first conference road trip of the season. Ohio State faces Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., in a noon tilt before taking on the Spartans of Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., April 10 at 11 a.m.

Tennis Match Results
Northwestern vs Ohio State
Apr 01, 2011 at Columbus, Ohio
(Stickney Tennis Center)
#18 Northwestern 5, #73 Ohio State 2

Singles competition
1. #16 Maria Mosolova (NU) def. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-3, 6-0
2. #74 Belinda Niu (NU) def. Gabby Steele (OSU) 6-1, 6-0
3. #92 Kate Turvy (NU) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
5. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Stacey Lee (NU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
6. Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Noelle Malley (OSU) 6-4, 0-6, 6-4

Doubles competition
1. #7 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Kelsey Haviland/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-5
2. Maria Mosolova/Belinda Niu (NU) def. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU) 8-0
3. Brittany Wowchuk/Elena Chernyakova (NU) def. Fidan Manashirova/Gabby Steele (OSU) 8-3

Match Notes:
Northwestern 10-5 (3-0 Big Ten); National ranking #18
Ohio State 10-8 (3-1 Big Ten); National ranking #73
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,1,3,4,5,6)
T-3:20  A-114