Feb. 8, 2007

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Columbus, Ohio– The Ohio State women’s tennis team (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) returns home for three matches this weekend. The team will face the Marquette Golden Eagles (1-5, 0-1 Big East) at 3 p.m Friday. Sunday, the Buckeyes will go up against the Virginia Tech Hokies (3-0, 0-0 ACC) at 10 a.m. and the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (2-3, 0-0 MAC) at 6 p.m. All matches will take place in Columbus at the Jesse Owens West Tennis Center.

Ohio State improved to 3-0 this season with a 7-0 victory over West Virginia last week. The Buckeyes have posted 7-0 shutouts in all three wins to open this campaign.

Ohio State opened its spring season at home with 7-0 victories over both Bowling Green and Cincinnati Jan. 27.

In their last time out, the Buckeyes shut out West Virginia, 7-0, in Morgantown, W.Va., Feb. 2. Ohio State was 6-0 in singles and 2-1 in doubles. The Buckeyes now are 13-0 all-time against West Virginia.

The three-consecutive wins for the Buckeyes to open this season is the best since the 2003 squad opened the spring campaign 5-0.

Marquette is 1-5 on the year, including losses to Big Ten teams Indiana (7-0), Iowa (4-3) and Illinois (4-3). The squad is 0-1 in Big East action with a 4-3 loss to Louisville. The Golden Eagles recorded their first win of the season against Wisconsin-Milwaukee 6-1 Jan. 28. Jody Bronson, is in her 22nd season at the helm and this is the squad’s second campaign in the Big East. All eight players from last season return for the Golden Eagles. Joining the squad are three freshmen (Kylie Moore, Elly Strother and Margaret Wilson), as well as junior transfer Shannon Brown from Marshall.

Last spring season, the Buckeyes defeated Marquette, 7-0, in Milwaukee, Wis. The Buckeyes have a 10-3 all-time record against the Golden Eagles.

The No. 66-ranked Hokies opened their spring season Feb. 3 against East Carolina winning, 7-0. Led by head coach Terr-Ann Zawacki-Woods, who is entering her fourth year with Virginia Tech, the Hokies now are 3-0 after securing 7-0 victories against both Appalachian State and Longwood.

Returning for the Hokies is sophomore Ingo Beerman, who became the first Virginia Tech women’s tennis player to participate in the NCAA tournament last season. The newcomers are Mary-Kate James and Karina Porushkevich.

Last spring season, the Buckeyes lost to Virginia Tech, 4-3, in Blacksburg, Va. The Buckeyes have a 3-1 all-time record against the Hokies, with a 4-3 road win in 2003 and a 6-1 home victory in 2002.

Miami (Ohio) enters the weekend 2-3 overall and will play at Michigan State Saturday before facing the Buckeyes. Led by head coach Ray Reppert, who is in his 12th year at Miami, the RedHawks started their 2007 spring season with a loss against Indiana State, but then posted their first win against Dayton (7-0) Jan. 20. The squad is coming off a 5-2 victory over Butler.

There are five starters returning from last season for the RedHawks. Joining the squad is a strong recruiting class of freshman Lauren Hoffman, Jessica Linden and Kristin McPhillips.

The Buckeyes last faced Miami in 2001, with Ohio State winning 6-1 in Oxford, Ohio. The Buckeyes have a 25-13 all-time record against the RedHawks.

Miami is the third team from Ohio the Buckeyes will face this season. In program history, Ohio State is 123-17 against teams from Ohio, including wins over Bowling Green and Cincinnati Feb. 27.

Leading the Buckeyes in singles wins so far this season is freshman Christina Keesey, who has recorded a 10-3 record overall. Sophomore Angela DiPastina and freshman Ally Mueller are tied for second with nine wins each.

In doubles, sophomore Julie Blackmore has a team-best nine wins, followed by Keesey with eight victories.

This spring, four Buckeyes are a perfect 3-0 in singles – freshmen Keesey and Mueller, junior Caitlin O’Keefe and senior Sonia Ruzimovsky.

Against Cincinnati Jan. 27, senior Sonia Ruzimovsky posted the 50th singles win of her Buckeye career, as she downed Valeriya Dandik in straight sets (6-1, 6-0). Ruzimovsky is second among current Buckeyes in career wins, behind Kristin Messmer’s 59 victories.

Ruzimovsky has a team career-best 46 doubles wins, followed by Messmer with 44.

The two Buckeye freshmen, Ally Mueller and Christina Keesey, both have played in all three matches for the Buckeyes so far this spring, and each has posted a 3-0 record. Keesey has played in two doubles matches (2-0), while Mueller has one doubles match and win under her belt.

Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, has the eighth-ranked recruiting class for 2007, according to rankings compiled by The duo of Paloma Escobedo and Cameron Hubbs, who signed NCAA National Letters of Intent in November, will join the Buckeye roster in the fall of 2007.

A panel of junior tennis experts, including journalists, tournament directors, referees and ranking chairmen from across the country, voted on the recruiting classes. Each panelist submitted his/her list of the Top 25 recruiting classes. Schools received 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 points for each second-place vote, down to 1 point for each 25th-place vote.

Escobedo, a native of Houston, Texas, has been ranked as high as 21st nationally among recruits for 2007 and currently is ranked 29th. She is ranked fourth among the gulf states and third in the state of Texas. Escobedo was a member of the Texas Fed Cup team who went undefeated in August at the 2006 UTSA Girl’s 18 Fed Cup Championships and posted a 5-2 record in the same month at the 2006 Girls 18 and Under Super Nationals in San Jose, Calif.

Hubbs, from Omaha, Neb., has been ranked as high as No. 60 in 2007 recruiting lists. She currently is ranked second in the plains states and is first in Nebraska. She is a three-time state champion at Omaha Westside High School. Hubbs is a standout in doubles and has been ranked as high as seventh nationally.

The Buckeyes will take on 10 teams currently ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll, including Top 10 teams Notre Dame (third) and Northwestern (sixth). In addition, Ohio State will go up against No. 21 Michigan, No. 25 William & Mary, No. 35 Purdue, No. 59 Marshall, No. 66 Virginia Tech, No. 71 Louisville, No. 73 Michigan State and No. 75 (tie) Auburn.

The Buckeyes will hit the road for their next five matches. The squad will face Marshall Feb. 17 and William & Mary Feb. 18 in Williamsburg, Va. The next weekend, the Buckeyes will go up against Auburn Feb. 24 in Louisville, Ky., followed by matches Feb. 25 at the University of Louisville and at Eastern Kentucky.