April 19, 2005

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Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team will conclude the regular season by facing a pair of ranked conference foes. At 11 a.m. Saturday, the Buckeyes play host to No. 2 Northwestern. At 11 a.m. Sunday they face No. 33 Wisconsin. Both matches will be held at the Stickney Tennis Center (outdoor) or the Jesse Owens West Tennis Center (indoor) in Columbus, Ohio. The four Buckeye seniors will be honored Sunday as part of Senior Day ceremonies.

Scouting No. 2 Northwestern
The Wildcats come to Columbus with a 20-2 overall record. Coach Claire Pollard’s squad is 9-0 in Big Ten conference play and has clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship.

Freshman Audra Cohen leads Northwestern with a school single-season record 41 overall singles wins. She is 18-4 this spring and 9-0 in conference play while earning the No. 4 national ranking. Cohen is one of five Wildcats to have won at least seven Big Ten singles matches without a loss.

In doubles, Cohen and Christelle Grier form the nation’s No. 1 singles duo with a record of 19-2 this spring. As a team, Northwestern has not lost a doubles match in Big Ten play.

Northwestern holds a 23-5 advantage in the all-time series with Ohio State, including two wins last season. Ohio State fell at Northwestern, 6-1, during the regular season and also was beaten by the Wildcats in Evanston in the final of the Big Ten championship. Ohio State’s last win over the Wildcats was a 4-3 triumph at home in 2003.

Scouting Wisconsin
The No. 33-ranked Badgers are 13-7 overall this season and 5-4 in Big Ten action. No. 83-ranked Caitlin Burke leads coach Patti Henderson’s Badgers with a 14-6 dual record this spring (23-10 overall) that includes a 6-3 mark in the Big Ten.

In doubles, freshman duo Nicole Beck and Chelsea Nusslock lead the team with a 5-3 Big Ten record at the No. 3 position.

Wisconsin holds a 28-6 all-time advantage over the Buckeyes, including a 7-0 win last season in Madison. Ohio State’s last victory against the Badgers was in 2003, 6-1 at home. Ohio State has not lost at home to Wisconsin since the 1999 season.

Last Weekend
Caitlin O’Keefe (Fr., Troy, Mich./Troy), a three-time Michigan state singles champion in high school, had an impressive trip back to her home state last weekend.

In Ohio State’s win at Michigan State Sunday, O’Keefe swept Pascale Schnitzer, 6-4, 6-2, at the No. 3 position, while Sonia Ruzimovsky (Soph., Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Tech) also won in straight sets over Christine Bader, 6-2, 6-2, at the No. 2 position. At No. 1, Emily DeCamilla (Sr., Sacramento, Calif./Maryland) picked up her first win of the season over a ranked opponent by knocking off No. 121-ranked Keri Thompson in three sets at the No. 1 position, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.

In doubles, Ohio State got a win at the No. 1 spot from the duo of DeCamilla and Meredith Vincent (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Va. Tech) and at the No. 3 position from O’Keefe and Lindsay Bryan (Sr., New Orleans, La./Ursuline Academy) to clinch the doubles point. DeCamilla and Vincent topped Bader and Thompson, 8-6, while O’Keefe and Bryan downed Jessica Baron and Karen Gustafson, 8-2.

Saturday in Ohio State’s loss at Michigan, O’Keefe beat Kara Delicata in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. At the No. 3 doubles spot, Kristin Messmer (Soph., Lutherville, Md./McDonogh), and Ruzimovsky faced a 5-3 deficit to Michigan’s Elizabeth Exon and Debra Streifler before rallying to win the final five games and the match.

Seniors Close Home Careers
The match Sunday against Wisconsin is the final home contest of the season and a day to honor Ohio State’s four seniors, Emily DeCamilla, Lindsay Bryan, Meredith Vincent and Lindsey Adams (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island).

The seniors have had much success in the last four years, including three trips to the NCAA championship, three Top 4 or better finishes in Big Ten conference play and a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Championship last season.

DeCamilla was a key part in the Big Ten Championship run last season, winning two clinching matches. She also clinched the Buckeyes’ NCAA Championship first-round win at Harvard on her way to being named team MVP. For her career, DeCamilla, who transferred from Maryland prior to her sophomore season, has won 51 matches in singles and 42 in doubles.

One of DeCamilla’s most frequent doubles partners the past two seasons was Vincent. The Cincinnati-native transferred from Virginia Tech prior to last season and became a regular in the doubles lineup for the Buckeyes. She leads Ohio State in doubles wins this season with 16, nine of those while paired with DeCamilla.

Bryan and Adams both are four-year members of the Ohio State squad. Though both have battled injuries this spring, Adams has won 10 overall doubles matches and Bryan has won 10 overall in singles. Adams joined DeCamilla as the team co-leader in singles wins last season, while Bryan won her final three matches of the regular season and three more in the postseason.

More Merzbacher Milestones
Ohio State coach Chuck Merzbacher, who earlier earned his 250th career win this season, has achieved another milestone, His squad’s 4-3 win Sunday over Michigan State gave him 123 as the leader of the Buckeyes. That ties him with his predecessor, LeeAnn Massucci, for the most in school history. Currently in his ninth season in Columbus, Merzbacher is 123-116. Massucci accumulated a record of 123-151 in her 11 seasons at Ohio State.

Streak With Spartans Continues
Ohio State’s 4-3 win over Michigan State on Sunday was its ninth in a row. All of those wins have come with current coach Chuck Merzbacher at the helm for the Buckeyes.

Ruzimovsky Notches 20 Wins
Sonia Ruzimovsky earned her 20th singles win of the season against Minnesota. The sophomore leads Ohio State with a record of 22-12, including a 12-7 dual match record this spring.

She is the first Buckeye to reach 20 wins in a season since 2003, when Sadhaf Pervez and Jackie Leskovar each accomplished the feat. In addition, Ruzimovsky is the first Buckeye sophomore to win at least 20 matches in a season since Erica Fisk and Lindsay Williams won 22 and 21 matches, respectively, in 2002.

Vincent Tops In Doubles Wins
Meredith Vincent has an overall doubles record of 16-13 this season, which leads Ohio State.

She also is part of the Buckeyes’ leading doubles team, having earned nine wins when paired with fellow-senior Emily DeCamilla.

O’Keefe Keeps Coming on Strong
Ohio State freshman Caitlin O’Keefe leads the Buckeyes in conference play with a 5-3 singles record. Overall, her 15 singles wins are second most on the team, as are her 10 dual victories.

Additionally, she has tallied 12 doubles wins this season while playing with seven different partners. She is the first Buckeye freshman to achieve more than 10 doubles victories since Erica Fisk won 15 matches in 2001.

Buckeyes Break Doubles Trend
Ohio State’s win at Minnesota was the first this season in which the Buckeyes won the match without winning the doubles point. The Buckeyes are 1-14 this season when losing the doubles point and 5-2 when winning it. Doubles were not played in Ohio State’s win at Saint Louis because injuries forced the Billikens to compete with only four players.

OSU Owns Buckeye State
Including a trio of 7-0 in-state wins this season over Cleveland State, Youngstown State and Akron, Ohio State is 18-0 against Ohio teams since coach Chuck Merzbacher took over the program prior to the 1996-97 season.

Freshmen Get It Going In Fall
A trio of Ohio State freshmen earned their first collegiate singles wins during the fall season.

Caitlin O’Keefe earned a three-set victory over Emily Vest of Middle Tennessee State, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, for her first win Sept. 17 in Knoxville, Tenn., in the first round of the University of Tennessee/St. Mary’s Fall Classic.

The following weekend at the Kentucky Fall Classic in Lexington, Ky., Silvia Prajescu beat Alex de Guzman of William and Mary, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, for her first victory.

On Oct. 10 at the Eck Classic in South Bend, Ind., it was Nidhi Shah’s (Fr., Mumbai, India/Mithibai College) turn to break into the win column, topping Virginia’s Dora Bechliwanis in an eight-game pro set, 8-6.

Recruiting News
The Buckeyes have signed two student-athletes, Julie Blackmore, a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Julie Voss, a senior from San Angelo, Texas, who attends St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, to NCAA National Letters of Intent to attend Ohio State and join the Buckeyes’ tennis team beginning in Fall 2005.

Blackmore is ranked No. 47 in the nation and No. 11 in Florida in the Girls’ Under-18 USTA rankings. She is a three-time state champion in singles and doubles in Division 2A and reached the Round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles at the National Clay Courts meet in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this year. Blackmore, whose father, Bob, is an Ohio State alumnus, also is on the honor roll.

Voss, who plays for St. Stephen’s Tennis Academy, has been ranked in the Top 10 in Texas since age 10 and is ranked No. 9 in the state in the Girls’ Under-18 age group. She has been ranked as high as No. 14 nationally and recently advanced to the round of 16 of the International Tennis Federation tournament in El Paso, Texas. Voss also is a top student and a talented musician.

Next Up
The Buckeyes’ match with Wisconsin concludes the regular season for both teams. Ohio State returns to action April 28-May 1 at the Big Ten Championship in East Lansing, Mich.