COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 31st-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (5-2, 1-0 Big Ten) downed No. 65 William & Mary (4-3), 7-0, at home Sunday afternoon in the OSU Varsity Tennis Center. The win moves the Buckeyes’ home record to 4-0 in 2011 and puts the team on a three-match win streak.

“That was our best match of the season,” Ohio State head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “We’re getting better each match and our improvement showed today. We beat a tough team and we were clutch in both doubles and singles.”

The competition was heated all match long between the Buckeyes and the Tribe. Paloma Escobedo and Cami Hubbs, the 64th-ranked doubles duo, put Ohio State in position to take the doubles point after an 8-4 victory on court one against Anik Cepeda and Hope Johnson.

The Tribe avoided a sweep with a win of their own on court two as Katie Kargl and Jeltje Loomans downed the 50th-ranked tandem of Kelsey Haviland and Gabby Steele, 8-6.

With the point on the line and the crowd’s focus solely on court three, the two squads did not disappoint. Ohio State’s Kara Cecil and Noelle Malley roared to a 3-0 lead before William & Mary’s Lauren Sabacinski and Marlen Mesgarzadeh dug themselves out of the hole to tie the match at three apiece. The teams exchanged games to ultimately land at 8-8. In the tiebreaker, Malley and Cecil put their foot on the gas and rocketed to a 7-3 win, providing the Buckeyes with the first team point of the match.

Hubbs gave the Buckeyes their second point of the day with a 6-3, 6-0 win on court six against Marivick Mamiit. Ohio State now holds a 7-0 record at the No. 6 position in 2011.

Steele won her 12th match of the season after sweeping Cepeda in straight sets on court four, 6-3, 6-1, to put the Buckeyes up 3-0. Just moments after Steele’s win, Cecil wrapped up her own straight sets win on court three against Jeltje Loomans, 6-3, 7-6(3), after coming back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to clinch the match for the Buckeyes.

After a couple hours of emotional, competitive play on court one, Escobedo pulled away in the second set to take a 7-5, 6-2 decision against Nina Vulovich.

“It was a well-played match for both teams today,” co-captain Escobedo said. “Both squads are very competitive and showed a lot of spirit and passion on the court.”

“It was a good match,” Haviland, a junior assistant captain, added to Escobedo’s statement. “It was a lot closer than the score reflected.”

On court five, Fidan Manashirova won the last two sets of her match against Kargl after dropping the first to claim a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory. The win pushes her streak to 13-consecutive victories and ends Kargl’s five-match win streak.

With both full squads cheering on the match on court two, Haviland and Johnson battled to the very end in a three-set match. Despite dropping the first set, 6-0, Haviland showed perseverance and took the final two sets to complete the whitewash of the Tribe with a 0-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.

The Buckeyes have a week off before traveling to Montgomery, Ala., to compete in the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic. The team will join squads from Alabama, Auburn, DePaul, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia in the event.

The next home match for Ohio State is March 4 against Louisville. The Buckeyes and the Cardinals face off at 6 p.m. in the OSU Varsity Tennis Center.

Tennis Match Results
William & Mary vs Ohio State
Feb 13, 2011 at Columbus, Ohio
(OSU Varsity Tennis Center)
Ohio State 7, William & Mary 0

Singles competition
1. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Nina Vulovich (W&M) 7-5, 6-2
2. #125 Kelsey Haviland (OSU) def. Hope Johnson (W&M) 0-6, 6-1, 6-4
3. Kara Cecil (OSU) def. Jeltje Loomans (W&M) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
4. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Anik Cepeda (W&M) 6-3, 6-1
5. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Katie Kargl (W&M) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
6. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Marivick Mamiit (W&M) 6-3, 6-0

Doubles competition
1. #64 Paloma Escobedo/Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Anik Cepeda/Hope Johnson (W&M) 8-4
2. Katie Kargl/Jeltje Loomans (W&M) def. #50 Kelsey Haviland/Gabby Steele (OSU) 8-6
3. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU) def. Lauren Sabacisnki/Marien Mesgarzadeh (W&M) 9-8 (7-3)

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,4,3,1,5,2)
T-4:10 A-121