Buckeyes now in third place in the Big Ten

COLUMBUS, Ohio The 29th-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (16-3, 3-1 Big Ten) takes on No. 1 Northwestern (17-1, 5-0 Big Ten) this Saturday in Evanston, Ill., before traveling to Madison, Wis., Sunday for a match with Wisconsin (7-10, 0-5 Big Ten). The Buckeyes have won five-consecutive matches, including three in a row in Big Ten play.

Top-ranked Northwestern has won 11 consecutive matches, with the last loss coming in the championship match of the ITA National Indoor Championships against Georgia Tech Feb. 10 (4-2). The Wildcats are coming off a successful week in which they knocked off then-No. 2 Baylor and No. 17 Texas on the road, before returning to Big Ten play to sweep Purdue and Illinois.

The Wildcats boast four nationally-ranked singles players and two nationally-ranked doubles teams. Freshman Maria Mosolova is ranked third in the country, junior Georgia Rose is ranked fifth, sophomore Samantha Murray is 25th nationally and sophomore Lauren Lui is the 42nd-ranked player in the country. Lui and Murray are ranked 13th in doubles, while Lui and Rose are the 14th-ranked tandem in the nation.

Ohio State and Northwestern have met 31 times, with the Wildcats taking the win 26 times. The last win for the Buckeyes came in 2003, when an NCAA tournament-bound Ohio State team edged Northwestern, 4-3, in Columbus.

Wisconsin hosts Ohio State Sunday following a Saturday contest at home with No. 28 Indiana. The Badgers are led by senior Chelsea Nusslock, who has a 9-7 record this season from the No. 5 and No. 6 spots. In doubles, Nusslock and teammate Katya Mirnova have won five-consecutive matches.

Ohio State is 7-30 all-time against the Badgers, but was victorious in the meeting with Wisconsin last season, sweeping them 7-0 in Columbus.

Already the owner of the freshman singles win record, freshman Cami Hubbs is now poised to break the all-time single-season win record of 31 set by Kristy Dascoli in 2001. With 30 singles victories entering the weekend, Hubbs could tie and break the record this weekend at Northwestern and Wisconsin.

Playing primarily from the No. 5 spot this season, Hubbs has put together a 30-5 record, including a 16-2 mark in dual match action. She is currently on a 12-match winning streak in singles play and also owns a 14-match win streak in doubles play with teammate Julie Blackmore.

Hubbs joined Blackmore as the only Buckeyes to win Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors this season when she earned the award for the week of March 17-23

The Scarlet and Gray hit their stride in the month of March, posting an 8-1 team record and finishing the month in third place in the Big Ten. March began with wins over Cornell and Eastern Michigan, before Indiana dealt the Buckeyes their sole loss of the month in a tightly contested 4-3 decision in Columbus.

Ohio State then traveled to Fort Myers, Fla., and swept both Drake and Coastal Carolina over spring break. The Buckeyes returned to Columbus to knock off Minnesota, Iowa, Boston University and Michigan State.

Leading the way were Cami Hubbs (8-0) and Julie Blackmore (9-0), who were both undefeated, and also Christina Keesey, who went 8-1 on the month. The Buckeyes went 24-2 in doubles, including a 9-0 mark from the No. 2 doubles spot.

Ohio State has been nearly perfect in doubles at the OSU Varsity Tennis Center this season, posting a 34-2 mark in 12 matches in the new building. Leading the way are Angela DiPastina and Christina Keesey, who have a 20-8 record together from the top position.

Cami Hubbs and Julie Blackmore have been equally outstanding, posting a 19-4 record and winning 14 consecutive matches together. Paloma Escobedo and Caitlin O’Keefe round out the Ohio State doubles unit with a 17-5 record from the No. 3 spot this year.

With the majority of their home schedule behind them, the Scarlet and Gray will take to the road for four of their final six regular-season matches. Following trips to No. 1 Northwestern and Wisconsin this weekend, the team returns home for the home finales against Purdue April 12 and Illinois April 13. The regular season wraps up with road trips to Michigan April 18 and Penn State April 20.

Ohio State will then travel to West Lafayette, Ind., for the Big Ten Tournament April 24-27, and then await a selection decision for the NCAA tournament, which begins May 9.

The Buckeyes concluded non-conference play at home against Boston University last Saturday before facing off with Big Ten foe Michigan State Sunday.

Ohio State blanked the Terriers by claiming the doubles point and cruising in singles to a 7-0 victory. Christina Keesey paced the Buckeyes, picking up a 6-2, 6-4 win from the No. 4 position. Paloma Escobedo clinched the match with a 6-3, 6-1 win from the No. 2 spot.

The Scarlet and Gray took on the Spartans Sunday in Big Ten play. Ohio State overpowered Michigan State in the doubles point behind an 8-2 win from the No. 1 position. The Buckeyes kept the momentum going into singles play, where they used victories from Caitlin O’Keefe and Cami Hubbs to win the match, 6-1.

Ohio State downed No. 49 Minnesota, 6-1, and No. 43 Iowa, 4-3, at the OSU Varsity Tennis Center March 22-23 to pick up their first two wins in Big Ten action.

Despite a power outage that delayed play by nearly six hours, Ohio State still handled the Golden Gophers, winning the doubles point and clinching the match behind strong singles efforts from Caitlin O’Keefe at the No. 6 spot and Paloma Escobedo at the No. 1 spot. Cami Hubbs tied the program record for victories by a freshman with her 27th win on the season in No. 5 singles.

The Scarlet and Gray again brought their best against the Hawkeyes for the Easter Sunday match. After taking the doubles point for the 10th time in 11 home matches, Keesey, Julie Blackmore and Cami Hubbs nailed down victories from the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 spots to get the win. Hubbs claimed the freshman win record with the win, leaving her just three wins shy of the all-time single season mark of 31.

Ohio State swept both Drake and Coastal Carolina at the Fort Myers Collegiate Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla., on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University Monday.

In the morning match, the Buckeyes faced Drake. Ohio State took the doubles point behind 8-3 victories from the No. 1 doubles team of Christina Keesey and Angela DiPastina and the No. 2 doubles team of Cami Hubbs and Julie Blackmore. The No. 3 spot was won by default by the Buckeyes, since the Bulldogs could only compete with five athletes because of illness.

It was more of the same in singles action, where every Ohio State player won in straight sets. Paloma Escobedo, who was playing at the No. 1 spot for the first time in eight matches, won, 6-1, 6-1 while DiPastina followed suit with a 7-5, 6-2, win from the No. 2 spot. The No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 spots were all dominant, with Blackmore winning 6-1, 6-0 in No. 3 singles, Keesey winning 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 4 spot and Caitlin O’Keefe picking up a 6-1, 6-0 victory at the No. 5 spot. Julie Voss won by default at the No. 6 spot.

The afternoon match was with Coastal Carolina in the championship match, who beat Florida Gulf Coast in its morning match, 4-3. The Buckeyes again had no problem winning the doubles point, with DiPastina and Keesey leading the way with an 8-3 win in No. 1 doubles. Blackmore and Hubbs recorded their 10th-consecutive doubles win with an 8-2 decision at the No. 2 spot.

The Scarlet and Gray finished it out in singles, winning all six matches in straight sets, including two white-washings. Escobedo won her ninth match in 10 outings with a 6-0, 6-0, victory in No. 1 singles. Keesey provided her second 6-0, 6-0, win of the day from the No. 4 spot and DiPastina won 6-3, 6-1 in No. 2 singles. Blackmore won her eighth straight, 6-1, 6-0 at the No. 3 spot and O’Keefe added a 6-2, 6-1 victory from the No. 6 spot.

Hubbs picked up a 6-2, 6-2, win from the No. 5 spot, giving her 26 singles wins on the season and leaving her just one win shy of tying the freshman wins record held by Sadhaf Pervez.

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