April 27, 2017

Buckeyes Head to Illinois for 2017 Big Ten Tournament


April 27, 2017

Ohio State B1G Tourney Preview 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 4-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team heads into the 2017 Big Ten Tournament in Champaign, Ill., this week as the No. 1 seed. Ohio State earned a first round bye and will open play at 11 a.m. ET Friday in the quarterfinals vs. No. 9 seed Nebraska.

The winner of the Buckeyes’ quarterfinal match will play at 11 a.m. ET Saturday in the semifinals against the winner of a quarterfinal match between No. 4 Illinois and No. 5 Maryland. The championship match is set for 1 p.m. ET Sunday and will be televised live by BTN. The tournament winner receives the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

The Tournament Central page, including updated results and live scoring and video links for each match, is available HERE

Ohio State in the Big Tourney
The Buckeyes are looking for the second Big Ten Tournament title in program history. The squad, seeded first, picked up the first Big Ten Tournament Championship in program history last year after defeating No. 9 seed Wisconsin, 4-0, in the quarterfinals, No. 4 seed Illinois, 4-0, in the semifinals and No. 3 seed Michigan, 4-2, in the finals. Last season was the program’s second appearance in the title match and the first since 2004.

B1G Champs in the B1G
• Ohio State won a share of the Big Ten championship with a 11-0 ledger in conference play.
• It was the Buckeyes’ second straight undefeated B1G campaign and the squad has won 23 straight regular season conference matches.
• The Buckeyes and Michigan both were 11-0 in the B1G in 2017 to share the title. Ohio State is the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament after downing the Wolverines in a regular season match to win the tiebreaker for seeding.
• The title is considered Ohio State’s second by the Big Ten and is the second in a row. The Buckeyes won the Big Ten regular season title in 2000 with a 9-1 regular season record; at that time, the tournament winner was considered the Big Ten champion. Since 2009, the regular season winner is declared the Big Ten champion.
• The Buckeyes won six unofficial Big Ten championships from 1974-79 when women’s tennis was not a sport sponsored by the Big Ten.
• The Buckeyes only dropped one team point in conference play during the season, outscoring opponents 73-1. The team was 62-1 in singles and 24-1 in doubles in league matches.
• Sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo, junior Anna Sanford and senior Ferny Angeles Paz all went 10-0 in Big Ten Conference singles matches, with seniors Sandy Niehaus and Miho Kowase posting a 9-0 mark. Senior Gabriella De Santis went 8-0, while junior Olivia Sneed went 6-0.
• The doubles tandem of Kowase and Di Lorenzo led the Buckeyes with a 7-0 mark in league play.
• Ohio State finished first in the Big Ten last year with an 11-0 mark.

Buckeye Snapshot
• Ohio State enters the weekend 25-2 this spring, with its losses to No. 1-ranked Florida and No. 3-ranked North Carolina at neutral sites.
• Overall, the Buckeyes are 9-2 vs. ranked opponents this season, with six wins over teams in the Top 15 at the time of the match.
• The team has won the doubles point in 24 of 27 matches, losing to Vanderbilt, North Carolina and Florida.
• The squad enters the Big Ten Tournament on an 11-match winning streak and with shutouts in each of its last eight matches.

In the Rankings
In the ITA Rankings released this week, Ohio State was slotted at No. 4. Other ranked B1G teams include No. 10 Michigan, No. 37 Northwestern and No. 47 Maryland.

The squad has six ranked singles players and one ranked doubles tandem. Sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo remains ranked first, junior Anna Sanford is No. 60, senior Gabriella De Santis is No. 94, No. 95 is senior Miho Kowase, No. 102 is senior Sandy Niehaus and No. 117 is senior Ferny Angeles Paz.

In doubles, the pair of Di Lorenzo and Kowase check in at No. 19.

A Look at the Cornhuskers
Nebraska is 19-7 and was 5-6 in the Big Ten, tying for seventh in the B1G with Minnesota and Iowa. The Cornhuskers notched conference wins against Rutgers, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois and Penn State in the regular season. Nebraska beat Minnesota Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, 4-3.

The Buckeyes are 6-6 all-time vs. the Cornhuskers, with a 4-2 mark since the Huskers joined the Big Ten. Ohio State swept Nebraska, 7-0, on the road earlier in the season.

In the Record Books
• Senior Miho Kowase, who enters the weekend on a 21-match winning streak, has 106 career singles victories. She is now first in program history in career singles wins, moving ahead of Kristy Dascoli who had 104 from 1998-01.
• Senior Sandy Niehaus has 98 career singles wins and leads the current Buckeyes with 96 doubles victories, the second most wins in program history. The program’s career doubles wins leader is Wendy Stewart, who had 99 from 1975-79.
• Head coach Melissa Schaub posted win No. 100 at the helm of the Buckeyes at Iowa this season. She is the third Buckeye head coach to hit the century mark.
• Ohio State has 18 shutouts this year, including in each of the last eight matches, passing the program 15 the team posted last year.

By the Numbers
• Sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo is on a 16-match winning streak, while senior Sandy Niehaus has won 15 matches in a row
• The Buckeyes have combined for a 175-38 record overall in singles this year, with a 129-15 mark in dual matches. In doubles, the squad is 68-25 overall, and 52-13 in dual match play.
• Di Lorenzo leads the team in singles wins with 31 this season, followed by Kowase with 29. Senior Ferny Angeles Paz, Kowase and Di Lorenzo lead the team with 21 dual match victories each, while Niehaus has 20.
• In doubles, Kowase is first with 24 wins, followed by Niehaus with 21. The tandem of Di Lorenzo and Kowase has a team-best of 14 victories overall and also is first with 14 dual match victories as a pair.
• The squad has a 23-1 mark on court one, 15-7 on two, 18-4 on three, 22-1 on four, 24-0 on five and 21-2 on six. In doubles, court one is 17-6, court two is 18-3 and court three is 17-4.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes posted two home wins over Big Ten opponents to clinch a share of the Big Ten title and end the season with a perfect 11-0 conference ledger.

On Friday, the Buckeyes topped Indiana, 7-0. The pair of Anna Sanford and Francesca Di Lorenzo posted a 6-0 doubles win on court two, while the duo of Miho Kowase and Ferny Angeles Paz notched a 6-1 win on court three to secure the doubles point. Ohio State notched five straight set singles wins and one three set singles victory to secure the shutout against Hoosiers.

Against Purdue, Ohio State notched a 4-0 victory Sunday. In doubles, Gabriella De Santis and Ferny Angeles Paz won 6-1 on court three for the first doubles victory, while the No. 19-ranked pair of Di Lorenzo and Kowase posted a 6-2 win on court one to clinch the doubles point. Di Lorenzo, De Santis and Angeles Paz all won in straight sets to secure the victory over the Boilermakers and the Big Ten title.

After the weekend, Di Lorenzo was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week for the third time this season and fifth time in her career. She was 2-0 in singles and doubles on court one as the Buckeyes posted two team victories.

Up Next
The 64-team field for the NCAA Championship will be announced Monday. The first round of play is slated for May 12-14 at campus sites.