Jan. 15, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 18-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team opens its spring season with two matches inside the Varsity Tennis Center (880 West Henderson Road) Saturday. The Buckeyes will take on Bowling Green at noon, followed by a Bucks Go Pink match vs. Xavier at 5 p.m. Admission is FREE to all Buckeye regular season home matches. 

Bucks Go Pink
The match vs. Xavier is the Buckeyes’ annual Bucks Go Pink match, which raises funds for the Stephanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. A bake sale and silent auction will be held and donations will be accepted.

A FREE prematch clinic will be held from 4-4:45 pm for all youth eighth grade and younger. No prior registration is needed; participants should bring a racquet and wear non-marking tennis shoes.

Buckeyes vs. Falcons and Musketeers
Ohio State is 24-0 all-time vs. Bowling Green, with the most recent match a 7-0 Buckeye win Jan. 27, 2007. The series began April 20, 1974 when Ohio State won 9-0. 

The Buckeyes and Xavier Musketeers have met just twice. The last match was a 7-0 Ohio State win Jan. 19, 2010. The first meeting was April 5, 2006, when the Buckeyes posted a 7-0 victory in Columbus.

Scouting Bowling Green and Xavier
Bowling Green opens its spring season this weekend against Ohio State after competing in four invitationals in the fall. The Falcons went 0-17 last season and return four players from that squad.

In 2015, Xavier had a record of 18-5 and went 11-3 on the road. The Musketeers add freshmen Sophia Abelson and Zoe Manion to their roster this year. After competing in three invitationals during fall, the Musketeers will kick off their spring season against the Buckeyes Saturday.

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.

As a team, Ohio State is ranked 18th, second among Big Ten programs behind only No. 14 Michigan. The Buckeyes’ program record for team ranking is 17th, set in both 2010 and ’15.

Fall Flashback
After a strong fall season, the Buckeyes are looking to continue their momentum into the spring. Francesca Di Lorenzo led the Buckeyes with nine singles wins in the fall campaign, while the duo of juniors Sandy Niehaus and Ferny Angeles Paz went 9-2 in the fall slate. Angeles Paz was second on the squad with eight singles victories, while Anna Sanford and Miho Kowase were second with an 8-2 doubles mark as a team. Overall, Angles Paz had a team-high 11 doubles wins, while Sanford and Kowase each posted 10 victories.

Di Lorenzo Claims NIIC Title
Freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo captured the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships title, the first national title in Buckeye women’s tennis history, in November. She posted five wins in the tournament, including victories over the No. 3, No. 6 and No. 8 seeds. Di Lorenzo dropped just one set in her five matches and downed preseason No. 11-ranked Joana Eidukonte of Clemson, 6-3, 6-1, in the final.

Sanford/Kowase Capture Regional Crown
At the ITA Midwest Regional Championships in late October, the Ohio State tandem of junior Miho Kowase and sophomore Anna Sanford became the first Buckeye duo to win a regional doubles title. Kowase and Sanford won in a tiebreaker against their Buckeye teammates Ferny Angeles Paz and Sandy Niehaus in the championship match.

Up Next
Ohio State will head to Fort Worth, Texas, for ITA Kick-Off Weekend.  The Buckeyes will face No. 19 Pepperdine in round one Jan. 22 and then take on either No. 22 TCU or No. 38 Houston on day two Jan. 23. The winner of each four-team bracket claims a spot in the ITA Team Indoor Championship.