Buckeyes now await possible at-large bid into NCAA Tournament
COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 34 Ohio State women’s tennis team (19-7, 6-4 Big Ten) was defeated by No. 43 Illinois (12-9, 7-3 Big Ten), 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Championship in West Lafayette, Ind., on the campus of Purdue University.

The loss for the Buckeyes was the second in two weeks to the Fighting Illini. The first came on April 13, when Illinois handed Ohio State a 5-2 defeat on senior day in Columbus.

The match began promisingly for the Scarlet and Gray, as they claimed the doubles point with wins from the No. 2 and No. 3 spot. Caitlin O’Keefe and Paloma Escobedo topped Kristina Minor and Annie McCarthy, 8-6, at the No. 3 spot while Julie Blackmore and Cami Hubbs avenged their April 13th defeat with an 8-4 win over Leigh Finnegan and Marisa Lambropoulos from the No. 2 position.

Angela DiPastina and Christina Keesey led Megan Fudge and Shivani Dave, 7-4, at the No. 1 spot before leaving the match unfinished because Ohio State had clinched the doubles point.

In singles, Hubbs turned in a quick, 6-2, 6-1, victory over Dave from the No. 4 position to give the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead.

Illinois came right back, however, as Finnegan topped DiPastina from the No. 2 spot, 7-6 (5), 6-4, and Lambropoulos defeated Blackmore, 6-2, 6-4, at the No. 3 position to tie the match at 2-all. The Illini then added their third point behind a 6-4, 6-2 victory from Fudge over Escobedo at No. 1 singles.

With the match on the line for Ohio State, O’Keefe delivered a three-set win over Momei Qu at the No. 6 spot, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, to even the match once again.

All eyes then turned to No. 5 singles, where Keesey and Minor squared off for the deciding point. After taking the first set, 7-5, Keesey fell in a tiebreaker in the second. Minor and the Fighting Illini owned the third set and the match, winning, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

The Buckeyes will now await a possible at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, which begins May 9 at campus sites. The announcement of the 64-team field will air April 29 between 2 and 2:30 p.m. on ESPNews.

Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs University of Illinois
4/25/2008 at Lafayette, Ind.
(Varsity Tennis Courts)

#43 University of Illinois 4, #34 Ohio State 3

 Singles competition
1. Megan Fudge (ILL) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 6-2, 6-4
2. Leigh Finnegan (ILL) def. Angela DiPastina (OSU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
3. Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) def. Julie Blackmore (OSU) 6-2, 6-4
4. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Shivani Dave (ILL) 6-2, 6-1
5. Kristina Minor (ILL) def. Christina Keesey (OSU) 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
6. Caitlin O’Keefe (OSU) def. Momei Qu (ILL) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2

 Doubles competition
1. Megan Fudge/Shivani Dave (ILL) vs. Angela DiPastina/Christina Keesey (OSU) 4-7, unfinished
2. Julie Blackmore/Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Leigh Finnegan/Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) 8-4
3. Paloma Escobedo/Caitlin O’Keefe (OSU) def. Kristina Minor/Annie McCarthy (ILL) 8-6

Match Notes:
Ohio State 19-7; National ranking #34
University of Illinois 12-9; National ranking #43
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,2,3,1,6,5)