April 24, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 36 Ohio State women’s tennis team heads to Evanston, Ill., this week for the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes (18-7) are the tournament’s No. 3 seed after posting an 8-3 record in B1G play.

The Buckeyes have a bye to the quarterfinal round, where they will take on the winner of a Thursday afternoon match between No. 6 seed Minnesota and No. 11 Wisconsin at 3 p.m. ET Friday. The semifinals are set for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, with the championship scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Sunday. The tournament winner receives the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern is the host of the 2014 tourney, with all matches scheduled for the Vandy Christie Tennis Center.

No. 1 seed Michigan (11-0 B1G), No. 2 Northwestern (10-1), No. 3 Ohio State (8-3) and No. 4 Purdue (7-4) all earned first-round byes in the B1G tournament. The first-round matches feature No. 8 Michigan State (5-6) vs. No. 9 Iowa (3-8), No. 5 Illinois (6-5) vs. No. 12 Nebraska (0-11), No. 7 Indiana (6-5) vs. No. 10 Penn State (2-9) and No. 6 Minnesota (6-5) vs. No. 11 Wisconsin (2-9).

Northwestern has won four of the last five titles, with Purdue claiming the crown in 2012 in Columbus. Michigan has won the last five regular-season titles, sharing the 2012 title with Northwestern and the 2013 crown with Nebraska.

Ohio State fell in the first round of the 2013 Big Ten Tournament to Iowa, 4-2, ending a streak of six-consecutive years in the tournament quarterfinals. The squad reached the semifinals in both 2009 and ’11.

Ohio State closed its regular season on a seven-match winning streak with road wins at Iowa (6-1) and Nebraska (4-0) last weekend. It is the first seven-match winning streak for the squad since 2007 (Feb. 25-March 23).

Eight Big Ten teams appear in the latest ITA rankings released Tuesday. Northwestern and Michigan are back-to-back at No. 16 and 17, respectively, with Ohio State next at No. 36, followed by No. 37 Illinois. Purdue is No. 41, Indiana holds down the No. 48 spot, Minnesota is ranked 65th and Michigan State is 75th.

Buckeye freshman Gabriella De Santis is ranked 81st in singles this week, with two Buckeye doubles teams in the Top 100. The duo of Grainne O’Neill and Noelle Malley are ranked 64th, while the freshman tandem of Ferny Angeles Paz and Miho Kowase are in the No. 83 slot.

• Ohio State is 18-7 this season, the most wins for the program since the 2010 NCAA tournament squad was 20-10, setting the program record for wins.
• The Buckeyes’ eight wins in conference play are the most since 2006, when the Big Ten began using just regular-season matches for final B1G records. The 2009 and 2011 teams both were 7-3 in league play.
• Ohio State’s third-place finish is the highest since the team tied for third in 2011 and was the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
• The Buckeyes are 18-1 when compiling the doubles point this spring and have a 45-16 (.738) record in doubles dual matches. The squad is 12-7 at No. 1 doubles, 16-4 at No. 2 and 17-5 at No. 3.
• In singles, the Buckeyes are 103-37 (.735) as a team this spring: 16-6 at No. 1, 18-5 at No. 2, 18-6 at No. 3, 19-5 at No. 4, 16-7 at No. 5 and 16-8 at No. 6.
• In conference matches only, Ohio State was 20-6 in doubles and 44-19 in singles.
• Ohio State has 10 shutout victories this season, including four in B1G play. The 10 whitewashes match the program record set in 2010.

Freshman Sandy Niehaus leads Ohio State with 30 overall wins this season, ranking second all-time for a Buckeye freshman and tying for third for a single season overall. Miho Kowase and Ferny Angeles Paz each have 24 wins, ranking eighth all-time for a freshman. Gabriella De Santis and Grainne O’Neill also have passed the 20-win mark with 21 victories each in 2013-14.

This spring, Niehaus is first with 20 wins (and just three losses), followed by Kowase with an 18-5 mark. Angeles Paz (15-5) and Nicole Flower (15-7) are tied for third with 15 wins each.

In doubles, the tandem of Niehaus and De Santis is first with 16 overall wins and is second with a 12-1 mark in dual matches. Kowase and Angeles Paz are a perfect 14-0 in dual matches and did not compete together in the fall.

In B1G matches only, Niehaus (9-2) and De Santis (9-1) both had nine victories in singles, while Kowase was 8-3. In doubles, Niehaus/De Santis and Kowase/Angeles Paz had matching 7-0 records.

The doubles team of Miho Kowase and Ferny Angeles Paz has won all 14 matches this spring, while the duo of Sandy Niehaus and Gabriella De Santis has won its last 11 matches.

In singles, De Santis is on a nine-match winning streak, Kowase has won eight in a row and Niehaus has won each of her last six matches.

The Buckeyes finished their home schedule a perfect 12-0 this season. The Buckeyes last notched 12 or more consecutive home wins in a season in 2002, when the squad captured a program-record 14-straight matches at home.

Ohio State is 19-24 all-time vs. Minnesota, with a 7-0 victory over the Gophers in Columbus April 4. In the match, Ohio State won both completed doubles matches and all six singles matches, with five straight-set wins.

Ohio State is 13-31 all-time against the Badgers but posted a 6-1 win over Wisconsin April 6 in Columbus. The Buckeyes won on courts two and three for the doubles point and then claimed five straight-set wins in singles for the team victory.