April 7, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Buckeyes, ranked No. 40, (10-6, 3-1 Big Ten) are beginning a stretch of six-consecutive Big Ten matches. The squad, which is a perfect 7-0 at home, will face No. 15 Northwestern today before going up against No. 28 Illinois tomorrow at 10 a.m. The matches, scheduled to be played outdoors at the Stickney Tennis Center, will be moved indoors to Jesse Owens West Recreation Center in inclement weather.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 15 and come into the match with a mark of 14-3 overall, 4-1 in the Big Ten. The team was undefeated in conference play before losing, 4-3, to Illinois. Katherine Nasser, ranked No. 54, plays at both No. 1 singles and doubles for Northwestern. The No. 1 doubles duo of Nasser and Colleen Cheng is ranked No. 30 in the latest ITA rankings. Last season the Wildcats claimed the Big Ten title and ended the season ranked No. 24.
The Northwestern Coach
Claire Pollard is in her second year at the helm for the Wildcats. In her first season, the squad captured the conference title and recorded a mark of 19-5 overall, 9-1 in the Big Ten. Prior to coming to NU, Pollard was the head coach of the women’s tennis team at Lamar University for five seasons and was the head men’s coach for the past four years. She also served as the head coach at her alma mater, Mississippi State, for two seasons. She was the 1989 NCAA doubles champion and a Wimbledon participant that same year.
OSU vs. NU
Northwestern leads the all-time series between the teams, 18-3. The Wildcats won the last two matches between the squads, including a 6-1 win in Evanston, Ill. last season. The Buckeyes’ last victory over NU was at home in 1997.
The Fighting Illini moved up in the rankings from No. 51 to No. 28 after defeating then-No. 13 ranked and defending Big Ten Champion Northwestern, 4-3, last Saturday. Illinois is currently 8-9 overall and in first place in the conference with a perfect 5-0 mark. The squad is led by Eldina Fazlic and Simone Kung, who play at the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively. The Illini will travel to face Penn State Saturday before facing OSU on Sunday.
The Illinois Coach
Sujay Lama is in his second season at the helm for the Fighting Illini. In his first year he led the squad to a Big Ten tournament semifinal appearance and a berth in the NCAA tournament. Prior to coming to Illinois, Lama served as the top assistant at Florida, helping the Gators win two NCAA titles, three SEC crowns and post three undefeated dual meet seasons.
OSU vs. IU
Illinois leads the series between the schools, 18-7. The Illini won the last three meetings between the schools, including posting a 5-2 victory in the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State’s last win over Illinois was a 5-2 victory in the 1998 Big Ten tournament.
The Buckeyes’ Last Outing
Ohio State moved to a perfect 7-0 at home after defeating Miami (Ohio), 6-1, Tuesday afternoon at Jesse Owens West Recreation Center. The Buckeyes earned the doubles point after winning two of three matches. Kristy Dascoli and Monica Rincon posted a win for the squad at No. 1, while Sadhaf Pervez and Laura Maloney were victorious at No. 2. Ohio State won five of six singles matches to clinch the win. Dascoli, Rincon, Michelle Matko, Pervez and Maloney each posted singles wins for the Buckeyes.
A New High for the Program
After earning the highest ranking in program history earlier this season, Dascoli broke her own mark in the latest singles rankings released by the ITA. In the poll released March 29, Dascoli was ranked No. 32 in the nation. That ranking topped her previous high of No. 36 (tied) set earlier this season.
The Buckeyes’ Coach
Chuck Merzbacher is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Buckeyes. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after leading the squad to a 14-11 record last season. His overall career record is 179-107, while his mark at OSU has improved to 46-44.
The 20-Win Club
Three Buckeyes have reached the 20-win mark so far this season. Rincon holds an overall mark of 24-7, while Dascoli is 22-9 and Pervez moved her record to 21-11 with wins against Penn State and Miami (Ohio).
After receiving her first national ranking March 22, Rincon moved up to No. 77 in the most recent rankings released by the ITA (April 5). She leads the squad in wins (24) and has compiled a mark of 13-2 this spring.
Home Sweet Home
The Buckeyes are in the midst of a six-match homestand. The squad is a perfect 7-0 at home this season. The team has two more home matches remaining on its schedule after this weekend as it will face No. 64 Purdue and No. 44 Indiana, April 15th (Saturday) and 16th (Sunday), respectively.
The Big Ten is Tough
Including Ohio State, 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 75: Northwestern, 15th, Illinois, 28th, Minnesota, 33rd, Ohio State, 40th, Iowa, 48th, Indiana, 51st, Michigan, 53rd, Purdue, 57th, Penn State, 63rd, and Wisconsin, 66th. Michigan State is the only school not ranked by the ITA.
Vs. the Ranked
The Buckeyes are 5-6 this season against ranked opponents. The squad has recorded wins over No. 25 Marquette (5-4), No. 41 Kansas (7-2), No. 60 Minnesota (4-3), No. 61 Penn State (4-3) and No. 66 Wisconsin (5-2) but has lost to four Top 25 teams and two Top 75 squads. Last year, the team was 3-9 over ranked opponents, including a mark of 1-6 against teams in the national Top 25.
The Buckeyes have not been shutout since a 9-0 loss to Duke, Feb. 13, 1999. Since Merzbacher took over the program, the squad has only failed to win at least one match only three times. Ohio State was not shutout in any matches in 1998 and only suffered two blankings in 1997, Merzbacher’s first season with the team.
The National Team Rankings
The Buckeyes, currently ranked No. 40 by the ITA, have been ranked as high as No. 31 this season. The Buckeyes’ rankings are as follows:
Fall 38 Feb. 2 35 (Tied) Feb. 9 36 Feb. 16 33 Feb. 23 34 March 1 33 March 8 31 March 15 34 March 22 31 March 29 45 April 5 40
OSU vs. The Big Ten
Ohio State is 3-1 in Big Ten play after recording wins over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Penn State this spring. The team’s only conference loss was a 5-2 loss at Iowa at the end of its seven-match road swing. Last season, the Buckeyes tied the school record for most wins in the Big Ten with six. That squad finished sixth, the highest-ever finish in program history. Ohio State has finished higher in the Big Ten each season under Merzbacher.
In the Record Book – Again
For the second-consecutive season, Rincon has broken into the Top 10 in program history for season singles wins. Her mark of 24-7 this season ranks seventh (tied) all-time in program history, while her 23-10 record last season ranks 10th (tied) all-time. Maria Olazagatsti holds the record for most singles wins in a season with 29 in 1977, while Kristen Jordan has the most wins (27 in 1997) since the NCAA limited the number of competitive dates to 25 in 1992. Rincon needs six more wins to become the all-time program leader in that category.
The End of the Dual Season
After this weekend, the Buckeyes have five dual matches left on their schedule before the Big Ten Tournament. All five teams Ohio State will face are conference foes and four of the five are ranked by the ITA.
Dascoli moved her record to 22-9, including a mark of 12-2 this spring, with a victory against Miami. She is currently on a six-match winning streak and has lost only twice in her last 12 outings.
Leading the Way in Doubles
Overall, Rincon has also compiled the most doubles wins for the squad, with a record of 18-9 this year. Dascoli ranks second with a mark of 15-10 while Castro is 13-10.
Moving Up in the Record Book
With a career singles record of 65-32, Dascoli is tied for sixth place all-time on the career singles wins list. She needs 16 singles wins to become the program’s all-time leader. The current leader is Maria Olazagatsti, who compiled a record of 81-20 from 1977-79.
Winning as a Team
As a team, the Buckeyes have recorded an overall singles mark of 122-83 this season for a winning percentage of 60 percent. The squad has gone 44-36 in doubles this year, tallying a 55 percent winning percentage.
The Buckeyes’ freshman class of Bowen, Martin and Pervez have all contributed to the team’s success this season. Pervez currently plays at No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles for the Buckeyes, while Bowen and Martin have stepped into the lineup when needed. Overall, Pervez has gone 21-11 in singles and 12-13 in doubles. Bowen played at No. 6 in the last four matches for the Buckeyes, while Martin played in that spot against San Diego State.
Strong at the Top
The Buckeyes have recorded a mark of 28-4 at the top two spots, while the squad is 32-32 at the lower four spots in the lineup.
No. 1: 14-2 No. 2: 14-2 No. 3: 10-6 No. 4: 9-7 No. 5: 8-8 No. 6: 5-11
Leading the League
In addition to leading the squad in wins, Rincon has also compiled the most wins among No. 2 singles players in the Big Ten. As of April 5, her then-23 wins ranked fourth in the conference. Dascoli was ranked second (tied) among No. 1 players.
Against the Conference
Dascoli leads the Buckeyes with a perfect 4-0 mark in the Big Ten this season. Rincon and Pervez are both 3-1, while Matko and Maloney are 2-2 in the league.
Keep Up with the Bucks
Information on the Buckeyes’ women’s tennis team is available on-line at ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Releases as well as statistics and match recaps are available. Information is also available on Ohio State’s 34 other varsity teams.