Jan. 21, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio –The No. 18-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (2-0) returns to action Friday in Fort Worth, Texas, for ITA Kick-off Weekend. The Buckeyes will face No. 19 Pepperdine (0-0) at 11 a.m. ET Friday in the first round, with No. 22 TCU (1-2) taking on No. 38 Houston (0-1) in the other first round matchup.

The first-round winners will meet at 5 p.m. ET Saturday in the championship match, with the winner earning a spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship Feb. 5-8 in Madison, Wis. The consolation match will be at 11 a.m. Sunday. All matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center in Fort Worth.

Live stats for all matches held outside are available HERE

ITA Kick-Off Weekend
This is the sixth time Ohio State will compete in ITA Kick-Off Weekend (previously known as the ITA National Team Indoor Qualifier). Winners from the 16 regional sites earn a spot in the ITA Team Indoor Championships.

Ohio State last competed in the event in 2014, traveling to Coral Gables, Fla. The Buckeyes lost to No. 9 Miami in the first round and fell to South Florida in the consolation match. In 2012, the Buckeyes lost to host Florida State and Texas A&M in Tallahassee, Fla. The 2011 squad traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., where it fell to the host Volunteers and then dropped a heartbreaker to SMU in the consolation.

In 2010 the Buckeyes headed to Fresno, Calif., where they upset Fresno State in the first round before falling to Florida State on day two. The 2009 team traveled to Durham, N.C., topping South Carolina, 4-3, on day one before falling to No. 9 Duke on day two.

Last Time Out – Ohio State Sweeps Bowling Green and Xavier
Ohio State started off the spring slate by notching victories against both teams in their doubleheader last Saturday. After quickly taking the doubles point vs. the Falcons, all six Buckeyes claimed wins in singles competition to sweep Bowling Green. The Buckeyes kept their momentum going later in the day, topping Xavier, 6-1. Francesca Di Lorenzo, Anna Sanford, Miho Kowase, Ferny Angles Paz and Olivia Sneed all won their singles matches in straight sets to secure the second victory of the day for the Scarlet and Gray.

Sanford and Sneed all picked up four wins – two doubles and two singles – for the Buckeyes in the doubleheader. Kowase and Di Lorenzo were both 3-0, with two doubles wins each and Angeles Paz had two singles wins and a doubles victory.

On Pepperdine
No. 19 Pepperdine occupies a trio of ranked singles and doubles spots in the ITA Polls. Freshman Luisa Stefani is ranked No. 14, while freshman Dzina Milovanovic and sophomore Laura Gulbe check in at No. 96 and No. 102. In the doubles poll, Stefani and Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai hold the No. 8 spot, while the pair of Matea Cutura and Christine Maddox claim the No. 18 spot. The duo of Milovanovic and Gulbe are ranked 45th overall.

Ohio State is 0-1 all-time vs. Pepperdine. The teams met in 2001 when Ohio State fell 6-1 to the Waves in Columbus.

No. 22 TCU opened its spring slate by collecting a victory against No. 34 DePaul at the Wildcat Duals. The Frogs fell to host No. 26 Northwestern and No. 15 Alabama to close out the weekend. The No. 17-ranked duo of Caroline Wegner and Seda Arantekin picked up a pair of wins.

The Buckeyes are 0-2 all-time against TCU. Ohio State was topped by the Horned Frogs 5-2 March 12, 2005 in Columbus and fell to the Horned Frogs, 7-0, on the road March 20, 2004.

On Houston
No. 38 Houston opened its spring season at No. 36 Arkansas with a 6-1 loss. No. 34 Despoina Vogasari earned the sole point for the Cougars. Houston went 22-6 last season.

Ohio State and Houston have never met on the tennis courts.

In the Rankings
In the first Oracle/ITA rankings of 2016, Buckeye freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo was ranked second, the highest singles ranking for a Buckeye in program history. The doubles tandem of sophomore Anna Sanford and junior Miho Kowase was slotted No. 6, the highest ranking for a Buckeye doubles team since Kristy Dascoli and Monica Rincon were No. 5 in 2001. Junior Sandy Niehaus is ranked No. 67 in singles and is paired with classmate Ferny Angeles Paz as the 36th-ranked doubles team.

New team rankings were released Tuesday, with the Buckeyes staying at No. 18. Ohio State is second among Big Ten programs behind only No. 13 Michigan. Other ranked B1G teams include No. 26 Northwestern, No. 45 Purdue, No. 49 Penn State, No. 51 Indiana, No. 58 Illinois, No. 61 Minnesota, No. 66 Maryland and No. 69 Michigan State. The Buckeyes’ program record for team ranking is 17th, set in both 2010 and ’15.

Wins Leaders
On the year, Ferny Angeles Paz and Francesca Di Lorenzo lead the Buckeyes with 10 singles wins each, while Angeles Paz and Miho Kowase are first with 12 doubles victories apiece. Sandy Niehaus and Anna Sanford are second with 10 doubles wins each, while Kowase and Sneed each have seven singles victories to rank third on the squad.

Up Next
The Buckeyes will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., Jan. 31 to take on No. 13 Michigan at 1 p.m. The match is a nonconference tilt, as Ohio State and Michigan do not have a match on the B1G schedule this season.