April 13, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 4-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (21-2, 7-0 B1G) will travel to Illinois to take on two Big Ten opponents this weekend. The Buckeyes will head to Champaign to face Illinois (11-10, 5-2 B1G) at 6 p.m. ET Friday before moving on to Evanston to take on No. 36 Northwestern (11-8, 7-0 B1G) at noon ET Sunday.
• Ohio State enters the weekend 21-2 this spring, with its losses to No. 1-ranked Florida and No. 3-ranked North Carolina at neutral sites.
• Overall, the Buckeyes are 8-2 vs. ranked opponents this season, with six wins over teams in the Top 15 at the time of the match.
• The squad is 7-0 in Big Ten matches, shutting out Penn State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Maryland, and also defeated Rutgers, 6-1. The Scarlet and Gray also posted a nonconference win against Michigan (5-1).
• The team has won the doubles point in 20 of 23 matches, losing to Vanderbilt, North Carolina and Florida.
• The squad enters the weekend on a seven-match winning streak and with victories in its last 19 Big Ten regular season matches.
In the Rankings
In the ITA Rankings released this week, the Buckeyes checked in at No. 4. Other ranked B1G teams include No. 9 Michigan, No. 36 Northwestern and No. 44 Maryland.
Ohio State has six ranked singles players and two ranked doubles tandems. Sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo remains ranked first, junior Anna Sanford is now No. 51, No. 85 is senior Gabriella De Santis, senior Miho Kowase is No. 88, senior Sandy Niehaus is No. 89 and No. 117 is senior Ferny Angeles Paz.
In doubles, the pair of Di Lorenzo and Kowase is slotted at No. 26, while the duo of De Santis and Niehaus is No. 47.
The Fighting Illini are 11-10 and 5-2 in conference play this season. In the Big Ten, Illinois has defeated Rutgers, Maryland, Iowa, Purdue and Indiana and fallen to Nebraska and Northwestern.
The Buckeyes are 16-30 all-time vs. the Illini. The squads squared off twice last year. The Buckeyes posted a 7-0 sweep in Columbus in the regular season and defeated the Illini in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, 4-0. The teams last met in Champaign in 2015, a 6-1 Buckeye victory.
A Look at the Wildcats
No. 36 Northwestern are 11-8 and 7-0 in Big Ten play this spring. In conference play, the Wildcats have defeated Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Nebraska, Purdue, Iowa and Indiana and will face Penn State Friday before taking on the Buckeyes. Northwestern has one ranked singles player and three ranked doubles tandems. Junior Erin Larner is slotted at No. 122 in singles. In doubles, redshirt junior Maddie Lipp and junior Alex Chatt check in at No. 15, senior Brooke Rischbieth and Larner are at No. 55 and Lipp and redshirt sophomore Rheeya Doshi come in at No. 63.
Ohio State is 8-37 all-time vs. the Wildcats but has won the last three matches. The teams played in Columbus last season, a 6-1 Buckeye victory. In 2015, Ohio State won 6-1 at home and then defeated the Wildcats 4-1 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals in Evanston.
In the Record Books
• Senior Miho Kowase, who enters the weekend on an 18-match winning streak, has 103 career singles victories. She ranks second in program history in career singles wins, one behind Kristy Dascoli who had 104 from 1998-01.
• Senior Sandy Niehaus has 95 career singles wins and leads the current Buckeyes with 94 doubles victories, tying for second in program history with Kelly Story (1989-92). The program’s career doubles wins leader is Wendy Stewart, who had 99 from 1975-79.
• Head coach Melissa Schaub posted win No. 100 at the helm of the Buckeyes last Friday at Iowa. She is the third Buckeye head coach to hit the century mark.
By the Numbers
• Sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo and senior Sandy Niehaus are both on 12-match winning streaks heading into the weekend.
• The Buckeyes have combined for a 152-38 record overall in singles this year, with a 106-15 mark in dual matches. In doubles, the squad is 59-25 overall, and 43-13 in dual match play.
• Di Lorenzo leads the team in singles wins with 27 this season, followed by Kowase with 26. Kowase leads the team with 18 dual match wins, while Di Lorenzo, senior Sandy Niehaus and senior Ferny Angeles Paz each have 17.
• In doubles, Kowase is first with 20 wins, followed by Niehaus with 19. The senior tandem of Gabriella De Santis and Niehaus has a team-best of 12 victories overall, while Kowase and Di Lorenzo are first with 11 dual match victories as a tandem.
• The squad has a 19-1 mark on court one, 12-7 on two, 14-4 on three, 19-1 on four, 21-0 on five and 17-2 on six. In doubles, court one is 14-6, court two is 16-3 and court three is 13-4.
• Ohio State has 14 shutouts this year, including in each of the last four matches, two behind the program-record 16 the team posted last year.
Last Time Out
The Buckeyes picked up a pair of conference shutouts on the road last weekend.
Against Iowa, the team clinched the doubles point with wins by Anna Sanford and Ferny Angles Paz on court three and Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase on court one. Di Lorenzo, Gabriella De Santis, Sanford, Kowase, Angeles Paz and Sandy Niehaus all posted straight set singles victories to secure the sweep over the Hawkeyes.
On Sunday, Ohio State downed Nebraska, 7-0. The squad picked up the doubles point with wins by Niehaus and De Santis on court two and Sanford and Angeles Paz on court three. The Buckeyes posted another five straight set singles victories and one three set victory to win the match.
The squad will return home to finish regular season play next weekend. The Buckeyes will take on Indiana at 3 p.m. April 21 and Purdue at noon April 23 on Senior Day. Both matches are scheduled to be played outside at the Varsity Tennis Courts, but will be moved inside the Varsity Tennis Center in the case of inclement weather. Check OhioStateBuckeyes.com and the team’s social media accounts on match day for location. Admission to both matches is free.