May 4, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second year in a row, Ohio State’s Francesca Di Lorenzo has been named Big Ten Women’s Tennis Player of the Year, while Melissa Schaub, the Buckeyes’ head coach, earned Big Ten Coach of the Year accolades for the third straight season. Di Lorenzo, seniors Gabriella De Santis and Miho Kowase and junior Anna Sanford were all named to the All-Big Ten Team. The league’s 14 coaches select the all-conference accolades.
De Santis is the second Buckeye, and first since All-American Kristy Dascoli (1998-01), to earn All-Big Ten accolades four times. Sanford earned a spot for the third straight year and Kowase is now a three-time selection. Sanford and Kowase are the fourth and fifth Buckeyes to earn All-Big Ten honors three or more times.
Di Lorenzo, who was the second Buckeye in program history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year a season ago, joined Kristy Dascoli as a two-time league player of the year selection (2000, ’01). Di Lorenzo is the ninth conference player to earn league player of the year accolades at least twice.
Di Lorenzo, from New Albany, Ohio, has been the top-ranked singles player in the NCAA all spring and is ranked No. 18 nationally in doubles with Kowase. Di Lorenzo is 23-1 this spring and was 10-0 in Big Ten matches, all on court one. On the year, she is 33-1 overall and has won her last 18 matches. She won two ITA national titles in the fall, claiming the Riviera All-American crown and defending her National Indoor title. She is 21-3 in doubles dual matches and overall, with a 9-0 mark in Big Ten play, and is ranked 18th nationally with Kowase.
De Santis, from Caracas, Venezuela, is 18-4 in dual matches this year, posting an 8-0 mark in conference action. She is on an 11-match winning streak, including clinching the Buckeyes’ second straight Big Ten Tournament title with a win over Michigan Sunday on court three. Overall this season, De Santis, currently ranked 95th, is 21-8 in singles, with a 19-5 doubles record, going 14-3 in dual matches, and is ranked 73rd with Sandy Niehaus.
Tokyo, Japan, native Kowase, who is ranked 95th, is undefeated in singles this spring (23-0) and 31-3 overall this season. She was 9-0 in Big Ten play, mostly on court four, and became the Buckeyes’ all-time singles wins leader with 105 and is now 108-26 for the Scarlet and Gray in her career. Kowase is 21-2 in doubles dual matches, with a 9-0 Big Ten mark, and has an overall mark of 25-9. She and Di Lorenzo make up the nation’s 18th-ranked doubles tandem.
Sanford, from Westerville, Ohio, was 10-0 in Big Ten play this spring, with a 15-8 dual match record, playing the majority of her matches on court two. She is 21-12 this year in singles overall, ranked 67th, and has a 21-13 doubles record, including a 17-7- dual match record.
Senior Niehaus, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, who is ranked 112th, was recognized with the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. She has gone 21-1 in dual matches this spring and enters the NCAA Tournament on an 18-match winning streak. She was 9-0 in league matches in singles and 7-1 in doubles vs. conference foes. In doubles, Niehaus is 16-7 in dual matches, with a 23-9 overall mark, and is ranked 73rd with De Santis.
Schaub led the Buckeyes to a second-consecutive 11-0 record in Big Ten regular season matches to claim the Big Ten regular season title and won the league tournament for the second year in a row. The squad is 28-2 overall, with wins in its last 14 matches. Ohio State, currently ranked second with five ranked singles players, earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will be making its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tourney.
The Buckeyes, 28-2 on the year, will host Buffalo in the first round at noon May 13, with Kansas going up against Notre Dame in the other first round matchup at 9 a.m. The winning teams will meet at noon May 14 for a spot in the NCAA Round of 16, which will be held in Athens, Ga. All matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at the Varsity Tennis Courts in Columbus.