May 19, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio–The Ohio State’s women tennis team’s season might have ended with a grueling 4-3 defeat to Mississippi State on May 11, but the sun has not setted on two of the Buckeyes. Kristy Dascoli (Bradenton, Fla./Bradenton Academy) and Monica Rincon (Jr., Lapeer, Mich./West) are in Stone Mountain, Ga., for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Georgia State hosts the event. Dascoli, a senior, qualified for the NCAA Singles Championships for the fourth-consecutive year and Dascoli and doubles partner Rincon qualified to the NCAA Doubles Championship for the second year in a row. This is the third-consecutive season the Buckeyes will send the team, a singles player and a doubles tandem to the NCAA Championships. The singles tournament, which includes 64 players, will run May 21-28 and the 32-team doubles tournament will be held May 22-28.

Best of the Best Kristy Dascoli is one of the best players ever to play in the Big Ten. This season she was honored as the Big Ten Player of the Year for the second-consecutive year. She is the only player in the Big Ten to win the award outright in back-to-back seasons. She has played No. 1 singles her entire career and was the Big Ten Athlete of Month for March. She is OSU’s all-time leader in wins and is ranked 27th in the nation. April 22, in Evanston, Ill., she beat Northwestern’s Colleen Cheng to notch her 100th career win, becoming the first female Buckeye ever to do so.

Stepping Up Monica Rincon was named the ITA Midwest Region Player to Watch at the end of last year when she set the program record for most singles wins in a season with 30. She is ranked 98th in the nation and is 23-12. She teams up with Dascoli to form one of the most feared doubles teams in the Midwest. The two are 26-15 overall and were a blistering 9-1 in Big Ten play. In The Rankings Kristy Dascoli ended the season ranked No. 27 in the nation after climbing to a career-best No. 19 earlier in the year. Rincon has been a steady force in the Top 100 all year long as she finished the regular season at No. 98. In doubles the duo began the season ranked a program best No. 5 only to end the season unranked making them one of the possible “sleepers” in the tournament. In the Midwest Region Dascoli is ranked No. 2 behind Notre Dame’s Michelle Dasso. Rincon is not far behind at No. 6. In doubles the squad is listed as the No. 2 tandem in the region behind ND’s Dasso and Becky Varnum.

Kristy in the NCAAs Dascoli, OSU’s all-time winningest player, is making her fourth trip to the NCAA Singles Championship. Last year Pepperdine University hosted the tournament. Dascoli met Stanford’s Teryn Ashley in the first round falling, 6-4, 6-2. The University of Florida served as the host for the 1999 championships where Aarthi Vankatesan of Georgia, 6-3, 6-0, defeated Dascoli. In 1998, at Notre Dame, Dascoli breezed through the first round with a convincing, 6-1, 6-3, win over Harvard’s Ivy Wang. She dropped her second round match to Stanford’s Julie Scott, 6-0, 6-2.

Kristy and Monica Last Year After posting a dual match mark of 19-5, which included a 12-match winning streak, the duo upset No. 8 Lucie Dvorakova and Daria Zoldakova of Texas Christian, 6-3, 6-2. The tandem then fell in the second round to Stanford’s No. 13-ranked Laura Granville and Keiko Tokuda, 6-2, 6-3.

Dascoli Honored Kristy Dascoli was recognized by the Big Ten on two different occasions this year. For the second-consecutive year Dascoli was named Player of the Year in the Big Ten. She led OSU with a 28-13 record and was a staunch 9-1 in the conference. She also was named Big Ten Athlete of the Month for March. During the month she was 5-1 at No. 1 singles and 3-3 when she partnered with Rincon at No. 1 doubles.

All Alone at 100 Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Athlete of the Month for March Kristy Dascoli picked up wins against Illinois (April 21) and Northwestern (April 22) to become the first OSU tennis player to reach the century mark. Her historic 100th victory was in dominating fashion as she controlled the entire match and dropped NU’s Colleen Cheng 6-4, 6-0.

Dascoli in the Big Ten Over her four-year career Kristy Dascoli was nearly unstoppable in the Big Ten. She played at No. 1 singles her entire career and amassed an impressive 35-4 Big Ten regular season record. As a freshman she was 8-2 in the conference and followed that up with a 9-1 showing her sophomore year. As a junior Dascoli went 9-0 and this year she was 9-1.

OSU’s All-Time Leader Kristy Dascoli became OSU’s all-time record holder for singles wins when she recorded her 82nd career victory this fall when she defeated Notre Dame’s Becky Varnum in the ITA Midwest Regional Nov. 5. Dascoli, who now owns a career mark of 101-47, broke the old mark of 81 wins, held by Maria Olazagatsti (1977-79).

Rincon Rolling Along Monica Rincon has been a consistent presence for OSU this year. After setting a program-record for wins last year with 30 the junior has quietly put together another strong campaign. She is 23-11 this year and picked up her 75th career win in the Big Ten Championship when she dropped Iowa’s Deni Alexandrova, 6-1, 6-4.

At the Helm Coach Chuck Merzbacher (Minnesota, ’87), in his fifth season, has enjoyed much success since becoming the head man at OSU. He has compiled a 71-57 record, and has taken the Buckeyes from pretenders to contenders on the Big Ten and national stage. In Merzbacher’s first year, 1996-97, the team finished ninth in the Big Ten, but in only his fourth season the squad earned the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and finished third.

A Milestone for Coach Coach Merzbacher collected his 200th career win April 4 when OSU defeated Miami (Ohio). Seventy-one of his 204 wins have come at OSU. His first 50 wins were at Northern Illinois, where he coached for three years. He then garnered 83 victories in four years at Kansas. He has 71 wins under his belt as a Buckeye and nearly half of those wins (35) have come in less than a year and a half. He compiled 18 last year and 17 this year.

What a Recruiter A player’s success is measured by how many tallies there are in the win column. Ever since Merzbacher was hired five years ago the wins have been piling up. Four of the Top 10 season singles winners are on the squad this year and all of them were recruited by Merzbacher. The players, their records and years are as follows.

1. Monica Rincon 30-11 2000 2. Kristy Dascoli 29-11 2000 4. Kristy Dascoli 28-13 2001 5. Sadhaf Pervez 27-14 2000 7. Michelle Matko 26-11 2000 10. Kristy Dascoli 25-10 1998