Fighting Illini outlast Buckeyes in closely contested match
COLUMBUS, Ohio The 31st-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team (18-5, 5-3 Big Ten) lost to No. 58 Illinois (9-9, 5-3 Big Ten), 5-2, in the final home match of the season for Ohio State.

“Illinois played great today,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said following the match. “You have to give them all the credit in the world for coming in here and doing what they did. We have to keep looking forward and stay focused on big matches next weekend with Michigan and Penn State.”

The Buckeyes dropped the doubles point for the second-consecutive match, again losing at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Ohio State picked up a dominating win from Caitlin O’Keefe and Paloma Escobedo at the No. 3 position, winning, 8-1, over Kristina Minor and Annie McCarthy.

After starting the year with a 19-4 record from the No. 2 position, Cami Hubbs and Julie Blackmore fell for the third time in four matches, losing to Marisa Lambropoulos and Leigh Finnegan, 8-3.

The deciding point was earned at the top spot, where Angela DiPastina and Christina Keesey faced off with Megan Fudge and Shivani Dav. After falling behind 6-3, the Illini tandem fought back to tie the match at 7-all. Illinois rode the momentum of the comeback to claim the match and the doubles point with a 9-7 win.

Singles action followed, where the Buckeyes held a 59-19 home record entering competition.

Illinois got its second point of the day at the No. 6 spot from Momei Qu, who topped O’Keefe, 6-4, 6-1, in her final home match as a Buckeye. The third Illini point came from the top spot, where Fudge knocked off DiPastina, 6-4, 6-1.

The Fighting Illini clinched the match behind a win from Finnegan at the No. 2 spot, knocking off Escobedo, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1. Hubbs continued to build on her Ohio State single-season win record with her 33rd victory of the season over Minor at the No. 5 spot, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1.

Keesey battled at the No. 4 spot, entering two set tiebreakers before falling to Dav, 0-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (0). Blackmore won her 26th match of the season, coming from a set down to defeat Marisa Lambropoulos at the No. 3 spot, 3-6, 7-6,(3), 6-2.

Ohio State will be back in action Friday (April 18), for a match at Michigan at 4 p.m. The Buckeyes will then close out the regular season April 20, at Penn State at 11 a.m.

Tennis Match Results
University of Illinois vs Ohio State
Apr 13, 2008 at Columbus, Ohio

#58 University of Illinois 5, #31 Ohio State 2

 Singles competition
1. Megan Fudge (ILL) def. Angela DiPastina (OSU) 6-4, 6-1
2. Leigh Finnegan (ILL) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 1-6, 6-2, 6-1
3. Julie Blackmore (OSU) def. Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
4. Shivani Dave (ILL) def. Christina Keesey (OSU) 0-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-0)
5. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Kristina Minor (ILL) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1
6. Momei Qu (ILL) def. Caitlin O’Keefe (OSU) 6-4, 6-1

 Doubles competition
1. Megan Fudge/Shivani Dave (ILL) def. Angela DiPastina/Christina Keesey (OSU) 9-7
2. Marisa Lambropoulos/Leigh Finnegan (ILL) def. Julie Blackmore/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-3
3. Caitlin O’Keefe/Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Annie McCarthy/Kristina Minor (ILL) 8-1

Match Notes:
University of Illinois 8-9; National ranking #58
Ohio State 18-4; National ranking #31
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,1,2,5,4,3)