Columbus, Ohio – The No. 21 Ohio State women’s tennis team (9-2) fell to 10th-ranked Tennessee (6-2)  5-2 Saturday afternoon at home in the OSU Varsity Tennis Center. The loss was just the second for the Buckeyes this season, who have faced seven ranked foes this season, including four Top 25 squads.

“We were in a position to win until the very end,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said. “I was pleased with the way we fought back throughout the match. Hats off to Tennessee for the way they played.”

In doubles, Ohio State’s top duo of Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs faced off against the nation’s top ranked pair, Caitlin Whoriskey and Maria Sorbello. The Buckeyes started strong, taking the first game, but the Tennessee tandem took control from there, winning eight- consecutive games to win 8-1. On court three, Buckeye freshmen Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele went back and forth with Tennessee’s Jennifer Meredith and Katie Lee. The teams were tied at 4 before the Scarlet and Gray pulled away to win 8-5 and improve to 6-0 in the spring season and 9-1 overall.

Needing to win to take the doubles point, Christina Keesey and Paloma Escobedo dropped to a deep deficit on court two to the Volunteer duo of Rosalia Alda and Zsofia Zubor. Down 7-2, the Buckeyes found their rhythm with a little help from the crowd, climbing back to win five-consecutive games and tie the match at 7. The 20th-ranked Tennessee team shut the door on an Ohio State win after taking the next two games to win 9-7.

In singles, the Volunteers defaulted at the No. 6 spot because of injury, tying the match at 1. On court two, No. 37 Sorbello downed Escobedo in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, to put the Lady Vols ahead, 2-1. No. 67-ranked Buckeye senior Kirsten Flower and No. 7 Whoriskey faced off on court one. In the top singles match, Flower battled but ultimately fell in straight sets to Whoriskey, 6-3, 6-1, giving UT a 3-1 lead.

Steele provided the Buckeyes with another point after downing Lee in straight sets on court five, 6-2, 6-3, bringing the overall score to 3-2. Steele has won her last five matches and has a team-best 16 wins this season, with a 10-1 mark in dual-match play. On court three, Keesey pushed Alda to a third set after dropping the first. The junior Volunteer took the third set, 7-5, to clinch the fourth team point and the match for Tennessee. Moving on to super-tiebreaker format, Haviland was defeated by Zubor in three sets 6-4, 4-6, 10-3, after rallying to tie the match at No. 4.

Up next for the Buckeyes is a road match against regional foe Notre Dame at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in South Bend, Ind. The Scarlet and Gray then return home to Columbus for a doubleheader against Oregon and California University (Pa.) Saturday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, in the Ohio State University Varsity Tennis Center.

Tennis Match Results
Tennessee vs Ohio State
Feb 20, 2010 at Columbus, Ohio
(OSU Varsity Tennis Center)

#10 Tennessee 5, #21 Ohio State 2

 Singles competition
1. #7 Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) def. #67 Kirsten Flower (OSU) 6-3, 6-1
2. #37 Maria Sorbello (UT) def. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) 6-2, 6-0
3. Rosalia Alda (UT) def. Christina Keesey (OSU) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
4. Zsofia Zubor (UT) def. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-4, 4-6, 10-3
5. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Katie Lee (UT) 6-2, 6-3
6. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Jennifer Meredith (UT), by default

 Doubles competition
1. #1 Maria Sorbello/Caitlin Whoriskey (UT) def. Kelsey Haviland/Cami Hubbs (OSU) 8-1
2. #20 Rosalia Alda/Zsofia Zubor (UT) def. Paloma Escobedo/Christina Keesey (OSU) 9-7
3. Fidan Manashirova/Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Jennifer Meredith/Katie Lee (UT) 8-5

Match Notes:
Tennessee 6-2; National ranking #10
Ohio State 9-2; National ranking #21
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,2,1,5,3,4)
T-3:33  A-130