COLUMBUS, Ohio – On the strength of two doubles victories and five singles wins, the Ohio State women’s tennis team (9-7, 2-0 Big Ten) remained unbeaten in conference play with a 6-1 win over Iowa (3-9, 0-1 Big Ten).
“With what this team has been through with injuries, especially coming to one of our top players, I’m really proud of how focused and committed we were,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State’s head coach, said after the match. “Each player was focused on the doubles point and what they had to do in singles.”
The Buckeyes opened the match with a pair of doubles wins to take the team point and a 1-0 lead. After Sonja Molnar and Jessica Young scored an 8-4 victory on court one against Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs, the Buckeyes bounced back with wins on courts two and three.
On court three, Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele posted an 8-5 victory against Ally Majercik and Christian Harazin before Kara Cecil and Noelle Malley took an 8-5 decision against Lynne Poggensee-Wei and Alexis Door on court two to secure the doubles point.
Iowa notched the score at 1-1 after Young earned a straight set win against Cecil, 6-1, 7-6 (4), at No. 3 but the tie didn’t last long for the teams. Steele won 6-1, 6-3 over Poggensee-Wei on court two to put the Buckeyes up a point.
Malley, playing on court six against Cassandra Escobar, battled to a 7-5 win in the first set before winning five games in a row to close out another 7-5 set and win the match, 7-5, 7-5.
Seconds later on court five, Hubbs notched the win for Ohio State with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory against Harazin. Manashirova added a 7-6 (0), 6-2 win for the Buckeyes on court four against Dorr.
With all eyes on court one’s match between Haviland and Molnar, who is ranked 114th nationally in singles, the Buckeye and Hawkeye didn’t disappoint. The two battled fiercely to a bevy of deuces and finally a 6-6 tie in the second set following Haviland’s win in the first set. Haviland used the energy of her teammates and the crowd to edge Molnar in the tiebreaker, 7-5, to take the match, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
“Sanja (Molnar) is a really good player,” Haviland said after her win. “I knew if I wanted to win I would have to play a certain type of match and be on the offensive. I stuck to my gameplan and she fought back, but I knew if I kept on doing the right things that got me here good things would happen. I finally got that win, which was really nice heading into Big Ten season.”
“Kelsey Haviland has established herself as one of the top players in the country and today she showed that,” Merzbacher added. “It was awesome.”
The Buckeyes face Illinois at home at 11 a.m. Sunday inside the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center (880 Henderson Road). A link to live stats can be found on the women’s tennis schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Iowa vs Ohio State
Mar 25, 2011 at Columbus, Ohio
(OSU Varsity Tennis Center)
#71 Ohio State 6, Iowa 1
1. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) def. #114 Sonja Molnar (IOWA) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Lynne Poggensee-Wei (IOWA) 6-1, 6-3
3. Jessica Young (IOWA) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)
4. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Alexis Dorr (IOWA) 7-6 (7-0), 6-2
5. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Christina Harazin (IOWA) 3-6, 6-1, 6-0
6. Noelle Malley (OSU) def. Cassandra Escobar (IOWA) 7-5, 7-5
1. Sonja Molnar/Jessica Young (IOWA) def. Kelsey Haviland/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-4
2. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU) def. Lynne Poggensee-Wei/Alexis Dorr (IOWA) 8-5
3. Fidan Manashirova/Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Ally Majercik/Christina Harazin (IOWA) 8-5
Iowa 3-9 (0-1 Big Ten)
Ohio State 9-7 (2-0 Big Ten); National ranking #71
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,2,6,5,4,1)