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Feb. 17, 2004

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team takes on the Nebraska Cornhuskers 1 p.m. Friday in Columbus at the Jesse Owens Recreation Center. The Buckeyes (1-2, 1-0 Big Ten) return to action Sunday, when they face the Yale Bulldogs at 10 a.m. and the Cleveland State Vikings at 5 p.m.

Scouting Nebraska
The Cornhuskers are ranked No. 71 and carry a 6-1 record into their match with the Buckeyes and are lead by head coach Scott Jacobson and No. 19 ranked singles Gitte Osterman. In singles, Osterman has amassed a record of 15-4. Also in double digits in wins on the season is Anna Oehme (10-2).

Ohio State trails the all-time series with Nebraska, 1-2, including a 4-3 setback in Lincoln last season. The Buckeyes’ lone win against the Cornhuskers was a 4-3 decision during the 1996 season.

Scouting Yale
The No. 64-ranked Bulldogs (2-1, 0-0 Ivy) are led in singles victories by junior Reshmi Srinath, who is 10-2. Head coach Chad Skorupa has a career record of 36-10 in his third year at Yale.

After Yale faces Nebraska Saturday, the Buckeyes and Bulldogs will have two common opponents on the young season, including Yale’s 6-1 victory over Penn State, Feb. 6.

The Buckeyes only other meeting with Yale came last season (an 4-3 road loss).

Scouting Cleveland State
Second-year Vikings coach Brian Etzkin brings his 2-5 Cleveland State team to Columbus having already equaled its win total from last season. The match will be the second all-time between the Buckeyes and Vikings, the first being a 9-0 Buckeye victory in 1986 in Columbus.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes picked up their first win of the season, a 7-0 shutout of Penn State, Sunday at Jesse Owens West Recreation Center.

The shut out was Ohio State’s first since March 16, 2002 when it defeated Boston University.

Against PSU, the Buckeyes began the day with victories at the No. 1 and 2 doubles positions and never looked back. Senior teammates Jackie Leskovar (Cambridge, Ontario/N.C. State) and Erica Fisk (Indianapolis, Ind./ Pike) defeated Leigh Ann Merryman and Maaria Husain, 8-4, at No. 1 while the duo of Lindsay Williams (Sr., Beverly Hills, Mich./Birmingham Groves) and Meaghan Colville (Toronto, Ontario/Western Michigan) topped Lindsay Downing and Sarah Spence, 8-2, at No. 2.

In singles action, Williams beat Leigh Ann Merryman, 6-3, 6-1, at the No. 1 position, Leskovar edged Megan Marton, 5-7, 6-2, 1-0 (8), at the No. 1 spot, and Fisk topped Husain, 6-0, 7-6, at No. 3. Freshman Kristin Messmer (Lutherville, Md./ McDonogh) swept Katelyn BeVard to clinch the match for the Buckeyes. Also picking up victories for OSU were Lindsay Adams (Jr., Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) over Spence, at No. 4, and Emily DeCamilla (Jr., Sacramento, Calif./ Maryland) against Downing at No. 5.

After three matches Kristin Messmer is 3-0 for the spring and leads the Buckeyes in wins overall with a record of 11-5. Since starting the season 4-4, Messmer has won seven of her last eight matches.

Catch Them While You Can
Ohio State’s match Sunday against Cleveland State will be the last opportunity for fans in Columbus to see their team at home until April 10 when the Buckeyes face Big Ten foe Purdue.

Ohio State will play 10 consecutive matches on the road.

Early Upsets
After three dual matches, three Buckeyes own victories over ranked opponents.

In singles, Lindsay Williams knocked off No. 13 Tammy Encina of Tennessee, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, while senior duo Erica Fisk (Indianapolis, Ind./ Pike) and Jackie Leskovar (Cambridge, Ontario/ N.C. State) knocked off No. 50 team Encina and Majen Immink, 9-8 (3), in doubles.

Climbing the charts
Despite battling injuries, senior Erica Fisk (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) picked up seven victories during the fall season. With her win Sunday against Penn State, Fisk enters the weekend with 70 career victories. That total is good enough to move her to No. 7 in all-time wins at Ohio State, ahead of Leann Grimes (1975-78) and one behind Michelle Matko (1998-2003).

Buckeyes in Rankings
Two Buckeyes, Fisk and senior Jackie Leskovar (Toronto, Ontario/N.C. State) enter the Spring season ranked in the Midwest region.

In the Midwest regional rankings released Dec. 4, Leskovar is No. 28 while Fisk holds down the No. 30 spot.

Wasting No Time
Three Buckeyes saw their first collegiate singles action during the fall season at the St. Mary’s Classic Sept. 19-21 in Knoxville, Tenn., in the fall. Kristin Messmer (Fr., Lutherville, Md./McDonogh) and Sonia Ruzimovsky (Fr., Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Tech) each won their first match by defeating Demon Deacons of Wake Forest. Ruzimovsky topped Elizabeth Proctor, while Messmer dispatched Sandie Knight and went on to finish third in her flight. Ohio State’s third freshman, Anna Volberg (Toledo, Ohio/St. Ursula Academy) suffered defeat in her initial collegiate match but out-dueled North Carolina State’s Virginia Romero in her second.

Messmer ended the fall season with eight singles victories, most on the team.

Wrapping Up Autumn
The Buckeyes enjoyed a competitive fall season, appearing in five tournaments around the Midwest. The Buckeyes competed in the St. Mary’s Fall Classic, the Cissie Leary Invitational, the Kentucky Fall Classic and the Fall Desert Collegiate Classic and had eight student-athletes qualify for the ITA Midwest Regional in either singles, doubles or both.

Buckeyes Welcome Dascoli
Former Ohio State women’s tennis stand out Kristy Dascoli (1999-2001) has been named assistant coach for the squad, head coach Chuck Merzbacher announced Tuesday.

OSU’s all-time singles wins leader with 104, Dascoli was named Ohio State’s Player of the Century for women’s tennis and is one of the best players ever to play in the Big Ten. Dascoli was the first OSU player to be named an All-American in singles competition. She was honored as the Big Ten Player of the Year following both the 2000 and 2001 seasons and is the only player in conference history to win the award outright in back-to-back seasons. Dascoli was the Big Ten Player of the Month three times (April 1999, April 2000 and March ’01) and posted an incredible 35-4 Big Ten regular season record in her four years at OSU. In 2001, she set a program record by winning 31 overall singles matches. In addition, Dascoli played No. 1 singles her entire career, qualified for the NCAA singles championships in each of her four years and was named All-Big Ten four consecutive years. In doubles, she was a four-time NCAA championship participant and was All-American in 2001.

Since graduating with a degree in psychology, Dascoli has played professionally and has wins over several women ranked in the Top 200. She still plays professionally and now is in graduate school working on her master’s degree in human development and family science.

Recruiting Update
Caitlin O’Keefe, a senior at Troy High School in Troy, Mich., and Silvia Prajescu of Canada signed NCAA National Letters of Intent join the Buckeyes tennis team for the 2004 fall season.

O’Keefe recently won her third consecutive Division I state singles championship while leading her team to its first state team title. For her career, O’Keefe was undefeated in conference play and sported an overall high school record of 136-2. She enjoyed undefeated seasons during both her junior and senior years. She also was an all-state selection four times and an All-American three times. Along with her success on the court, O’Keefe was an Academic All-American in 2003 and received the 2003 Hoxie Award, given by the Southeast Michigan Tennis Association board of directors for the high school athlete who best demonstrates sportsmanship and contributes to the game of tennis in a positive way.

Prajescu was ranked No. 5 in Canada for Under-16 in 2002 and finished in the Top 10 at the Under-16 Singles National Indoor Championships. She advanced to the semifinals in doubles of the same tournament. In 2001 she was ranked among the Top 8 in singles at the Under-16 Outdoor National Championships and advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles.

Schedule to be Challenging
The Buckeyes’ match with the Volunteers was the first of 10 the Buckeyes will play this season against 2003 NCAA championship qualifiers. Other non-conference foes of note are William and Mary, UNLV and Kentucky. Additionally, the coaches expect the Big Ten, which is traditionally known for having quality tennis play, to be unusually strong this year. Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana all are coming off NCAA appearances and are primed to provide big challenges to all foes.

Next Up
Following this weekend, the Buckeyes take on the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest at 1 p.m. Feb. 28 in Williamsburg, Va.