April 19, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team (13-10; 3-5 Big Ten) closes the regular season this weekend. The Buckeyes will face Wisconsin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wis. Ohio State then concludes the regular season with a match against No. 11-ranked Northwestern. The match will be held at 11 a.m. at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill.

A Look at Wisconsin
Wisconsin is led by head coach Patti Henderson. Henderson led the Badgers to a 15-9 overall record last season. Wisconsin finished tied for fifth in the Big Ten last year with a 6-4 conference mark.

Wisconsin currently is 4-17 overall and 1-8 in the Big Ten. The Badgers are led on the court by Caitlin Burke, who is 14-7 in singles matches this spring. Burke also is ranked No. 32 in singles in the latest Fila Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings released April 18. The leading doubles team for the Badgers is the duo of Burke and Nicole Beck who are ranked No. 36 in the Fila ITA rankings.

Ohio State is 6-29 all-time against the Badgers. Last year, Wisconsin won the meeting in Columbus, 7-0, on April 24.

The last time the schools met in Madison, the Badgers won, 7-0, April 17, 2004.

Northwestern at A Glance
The Wildcats are coached by Claire Pollard, who led Northwestern to a 26-3 overall record a year ago while finishing first in the Big Ten at 10-0 in the conference last season.

Northwestern currently is 17-4 overall and 9-0 in the conference. The Wildcats are led on the court by Cristelle Grier, who is 17-3 in singles matches in the spring. Grier also is ranked No. 13 in the Fila ITA rankings. The leading doubles team is the duo of Grier and Alexis Prousis, who are 9-4 in dual matches this season.

The Buckeyes are 5-24 all-time against the Wildcats with the match last year resulting in a 7-0 Wildcat victory in Columbus on April 23.

The last time the schools met in Evanston, the Wildcats won, 6-1, April 18, 2004.

Last Time Out
Last weekend, the Buckeyes dropped a pair of Big Ten matches. Ohio State was defeated by the Michigan Wolverines, 6-1, April 15 then fell to Michigan State, 4-3. In their match against Michigan, the Buckeyes took one doubles match but dropped the doubles point to Michigan. At No. 1, the tandem of Caitlin O’Keefe and Julie Blackmore was defeated by the No. 33-ranked pair of Kara Delicata and Debra Streifler, 8-1. At No. 2, Angela DiPastina and Sonia Ruzimovsky were downed by Lindsey Howard and Nina Yaftali, 8-6. At No. 3, Ciara Finucane and Kristin Messmer topped Allie Shafner and Chisako Sugiyama by the score of 8-2.

In singles, O’Keefe took the only victory for Ohio State at No. 1 by defeating No. 118-ranked Delicata in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. At No. 2, Ruzimovsky was downed by Exon by the score of 6-1, 6-1. At No. 3, Blackmore was defeated by Yaftali, 6-4, 6-1. Finucane fell to Streifler, 6-4, 6-2, at the No. 4 spot and at No. 5, Messmer was downed by Sugiyama, 6-1, 6-1. At No. 6, DiPastina was defeated by Howard in a tiebreaker, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

In their match with Michigan State, the Spartans won at the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles positions to clinch the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead in the match. At No. 3, Buckeyes Finucane and Messmer lost to Pascale Schnitzer and Ana Milosavljevic, 8-3, in the first match finished. The Buckeyes tied the score with O’Keefe and Blackmore’s victory over Christine Bader and Sarah Andrews, 8-4, at No. 1. The Spartans clinched the doubles point when Stephanie Kebler and Jessica Baron downed the Buckeye duo of DiPastina and Ruzimovsky, 8-5.

The Buckeyes won three of the first four singles matches off the court to take a 3-2 lead. O’Keefe beat Schnitzer, 7-6, 6-1, at No. 2 and Ruzimovsky followed with a 7-6, 6-3 victory over Bader at the No. 1 position. Michigan State’s Kebler tied the match at 2-all with a victory over Finucane, 6-3, 6-3, at the No. 4 spot. Messmer then won a three-set match at No. 5, downing Andrews 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, to record her 50th career singles victory and put the Buckeyes back in the lead.

Leaders Closing Out The Season
With only two spring regular-season matches remaining, freshman Angela DiPastina leads the Buckeyes in singles with 20 overall victories. Junior Kristin Messmer is only one win off the lead with 19 overall victories.

In doubles, Ciara Finucane leads the way with 22 overall individual victories. The leading doubles team is the duo of Finucane and Kristin Messmer who are now 19-9 overall on the season.

Messmer Achieves Milestone Victory
In her match against Michigan State, junior Kristin Messmer reached her 50th career singles victory. The milestone win came in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 defeat of Sarah Andrews.

Dual Match Leaders
In the spring, junior Kristin Messmer is leading the Buckeyes in singles with a career-high 14 dual-match victories.

Finucane and Messmer are the leading doubles team at 14-7 in the spring, while the duo of Angela DiPastina and Sonia Ruzimovsky is 11-9.

Doubles Point Is Deciding Factor
The doubles point seems to be the deciding factor for the Buckeyes this year. Ohio State has won the doubles point in all 13 of its wins while dropping the point to the opposition in all 10 of its losses.

Oh So Close
The Buckeyes are only five points from being 18-5 this season as the Buckeyes have been edged 4-3 five times in the 2005-06 campaign. Ohio State fell by one point at Virginia Tech, February 18, vs. New Mexico, March 4, vs. Iowa, March 26, vs. Indiana, April 9 and last weekend vs. Michigan State, April 16.

Up Next
The Buckeyes return to action in the Big Ten tournament. The tournament will be held April 27-30 at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill.