COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 33 Ohio State women’s tennis team dropped its first match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend against No. 12 Tennessee, 6-1, on the road in the Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville, Tenn., Sunday evening.

The Buckeyes (2-1) will face No. 27 Southern Methodist (3-1) Monday, who lost in a 4-3 decision to No. 17 Ole Miss Sunday morning. Tennessee and Ole Miss will compete for a berth in the 2011 National Indoor Championship hosted by the University of Virginia.

“Tennessee is a very tough place to play, without a doubt,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said. “We made progress throughout the match and we hope to rebound against a very good SMU team.”

Sophomore Fidan Manashirova provided the lone point for the Buckeyes with a win on court six against Millie Nichols, 7-6 (2), 6-1, to push her winning streak to 10 matches.

In doubles, Tennessee’s Natalie Pluskota and Brynn Boren opened the match with a 8-5 victory against the 64th-ranked duo of Paloma Escobedo and Cami Hubbs on court one. On court two, the 50th-ranked tandem of Kelsey Haviland and Gabby Steele battled the No. 9 twosome of Rosalia Alda and Nichols, but fell short in an 8-6 decision.

The court three match between Ohio State’s Kara Cecil and Noelle Malley and UT’s Jennifer Meredith and Maria Sorbello was suspended after the Volunteers’ second doubles victory. Meredith and Sorbello were leading 7-5 at the time of suspension.

UT’s Kata Szekely was the first off the courts in singles, taking a 6-1, 6-3 decision against Malley on court five. Boren, ranked 20th nationally, downed Haviland, ranked No. 125, in straight sets on court two, 6-0, 6-4.

With the match score at 3-0 in favor of Tennessee, Manashirova put the Buckeyes on the board, but Tennessee’s Alda answered back with the clinching point on court three against Cecil, winning 7-6, 6-2.

Escobedo stretched the No. 1 match against Pluskota into a third set after dropping the first set, but couldn’t hang on to the momentum in a 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 loss.

With the match clinched, play between Steele and Sorbello moved into a super tiebreaker after the Buckeye and Volunteer exchanged set wins. Sorbello climbed to a 7-5 lead before Steele responded with three consecutive points to go ahead 8-7. Those would be the last points for Steele as Sorbello claimed three points of her own to take the super tiebreaker and match, 7-5, 4-6, 10-8.


Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs Tennessee
Jan 30, 2011 at Knoxville, Tenn.
(Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center)
#12 Tennessee 6, #33 Ohio State 1

Singles competition
1. Natalie Pluskota (TENN) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
2. #20 Brynn Boren (TENN) def. #125 Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-0, 6-4
3. #87 Rosalia Alda (TENN) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) 7-6, 6-2
4. #116 Maria Sorbello (TENN) def. Gabby Steele (OSU) 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8)
5. Kata Szekely (TENN) def. Noelle Malley (OSU) 6-1, 6-3
6. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Millie Nichols (TENN) 7-6 (7-2), 6-1

Doubles competition
1. Natalie Pluskota/Brynn Boren (TENN) def. #64 Paloma Escobedo/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-5
2. #9 Rosalia Alda/Millie Nichols (TENN) def. #50 Kelsey Haviland/Gabby Steele (OSU) 8-6
3. Jennifer Meredith/Maria Sorbello (TENN) vs. Kara Cecil/Noelle Malley (OSU) 7-5, unfinished

Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (5,2,6,3,1,4)