COLUMBUS, Ohio In a six-hour battle that saw five singles matches reach three sets, the Ohio State women’s tennis team (3-3, 0-0 Big Ten) fell by the smallest of margins to No. 20 Kentucky (6-0, 0-0 SEC), 4-3, in Lexington, Ky.

“That had to be one of the closest matches I’ve ever seen in college tennis,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach said. “The momentum was back and forth all day. There were matches we were out of we climbed back into, and there were matches we controlled they played their way back in to. I’m disappointed for our team because they left everything out there. It was an absolute battle.”

Ohio State started it out in doubles with wins in two of three matches. Paloma Escobedo and Julie Blackmore scored an 8-3 win over Megan Broderick and Caroline Lilley in No. 2 doubles. Cami Hubbs teamed with Angela DiPastina at the No. 3 doubles spot, where they won, 8-6, over Jennifer Stone and Chan Hines.

Kirsten Flower took her first turn at the top of the doubles lineup with Christina Keesey, but the two were turned away by the 42nd-ranked Wildcat team of Christine Johnston and Carolina Escamilla, 8-5.

With only four courts available inside the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, singles action was split into two sections, with No. 1-No. 4 singles hitting the court first. Flower took on the 61st-ranked Broderick at the top spot, taking the first set, 7-5, but falling in the second set, 6-4. The final set belonged to Broderick, as she took the set and the match, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.

Escobedo won the first set of her match with Escamilla in No. 2 singles, 6-4, before Escamilla rebounded with a 6-4 win of her own in the second set. The Buckeye sophomore came right back in the third set, claiming the match, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Hubbs faced Johnston at the No. 3 spot, where she rebounded from a 6-1 first-set loss to claim the second set, 6-4, but ultimately lost the match, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. Blackmore also fought hard into three sets, but was defeated by Whitney Spencer in No. 4 singles, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

With all four of the early matches going into three sets and the Wildcats holding a 3-2 advantage, it came down to Kelsey Haviland and DiPastina in No. 5 and No. 6 singles to try and pull out a victory for Ohio State.

DiPastina took care of business at the No. 6 singles spot, holding off Stone in two sets, 6-2, 6-1. The win was the sixth of the spring season for DiPastina and tied the match at 3-all.

Haviland and Lilley squared off in the deciding match, with Lilley taking the first set decisively, 6-2. Haviland stormed back in the second frame, however, edging a 7-5 victory. The third set ultimately belonged to Lilley, coming back from a 2-0 hole to take the match, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

There will be no rest for the Buckeyes this weekend, as they return to the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center Friday for a match with No. 29 Virginia at 3 p.m. and an 11 a.m. match Sunday with Virginia Tech. Merzbacher, who currently has 99 home victories as a Buckeye, will look to earn his 100th career home victory at Ohio State this weekend as well.

Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs Kentucky
Feb 04, 2009 at Lexington, Ky.

#20 Kentucky 4, #31 Ohio State 3

 Singles competition
1. #61 Megan Broderick (KY) def. Kirsten Flower (OSU) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
2. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Carolina Escamilla (KY) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
3. Christine Johnston (KY) def. Cami Hubbs (OSU) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
4. Whitney Spencer (KY) def. Julie Blackmore (OSU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. Caroline Lilley (KY) def. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-4
6. Angela DiPastina (OSU) def. Jennifer Stone (KY) 6-2, 6-1

 Doubles competition
1. #42 Carolina Escamilla/Christine Johnston (KY) def. Christina Keesey/Kirsten Flower (OSU) 8-5
2. Julie Blackmore/Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Megan Broderick/Caroline Lilley (KY) 8-3
3. Cami Hubbs/Angela DiPastina (OSU) def. Jennifer Stone/Chane Hines (KY) 8-6

Match Notes:
Ohio State 3-3; National ranking #31
Kentucky 6-0; National ranking #20
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (3,4,1,2,6,5)