COLUMBUS, Ohio Behind the doubles point and wins at four singles spots, the No. 35 Ohio State women’s tennis team downed Rice, 5-2, in a non-conference match in the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center. Ohio State moves to 7-5 this year (1-0 Big Ten). Rice falls to 9-6 (0-0 Conference USA).

“That was a very good Rice team we beat today,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said. “It felt like they competed well and we answered the bell. We really needed a match like this before playing South Florida this weekend.” 

Ohio State took a 1-0 lead after winning 2-of-3 doubles matches. In singles, Rice’s Jessica Jackson tied the match at 1-all with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Buckeye senior Angela DiPastina at No. 3. Sophomore Cami Hubbs closed out Rebecca Lin at No. 4, 6-1, 6-3, to put Ohio State back on top. Freshman Kelsey Haviland added to the Buckeye lead with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Alex Rasch of Rice at the No. 6 spot. Paloma Escobedo clinched the victory, downing Ana Guzman at No. 2. Escobedo won the first set, 6-2, before winning a close second set, 6-4. Julie Blackmore secured the Buckeyes’ fifth point with a win in a super tiebreaker, rallying from a set down. She dropped the first set vs. Rebekka Hanle, 4-6, but won the second, 6-2, and the tiebreaker, 1-0 (11-9). Julie Chao posted Rice’s second point, rallying to defeat Buckeye junior Kirsten Flower in a super tiebreaker, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 1-0 (12-10).

All three doubles matches finished 8-5, with Ohio State coming out ahead on Nos. 2 and 3 to earn the doubles point. At No. 3 Flower and Escobedo were first off the court after defeating Rasch and Lin. Hubbs and Blackmore clinched the doubles point with a victory over Jackson and Shiva-Shankar. Rice took the No. 1 match, as DiPastina and Christina Keesey lost to Chao and Guzman.

The Buckeyes will return to action with a match at South Florida at 11 a.m. Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

Tennis Match Results
Rice vs Ohio State
Mar 03, 2009 at Columbus, Ohio
(OSU Varsity Tennis Center)

#35 Ohio State 5, Rice 2

 Singles competition
1. Julie Chao (RICE) def. Kirsten Flower (OSU) 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 1-0 (12-10)
2. Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Ana Guzman (RICE) 6-2, 6-4
3. Jessica Jackson (RICE) def. Angela DiPastina (OSU) 6-2, 6-2
4. Cami Hubbs (OSU) def. Rebecca Lin (RICE) 6-1, 6-3
5. Julie Blackmore (OSU) def. Rebekka Hnle (RICE) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (11-9)
6. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) def. Alex Rasch (RICE) 6-3, 6-4

 Doubles competition
1. Julie Chao/Ana Guzman (RICE) def. Angela DiPastina/Christina Keesey (OSU) 8-5
2. Cami Hubbs/Julie Blackmore (OSU) def. Jessica Jackson/Varsha Shiva-Shankar (RICE) 8-5
3. Kirsten Flower/Paloma Escobedo (OSU) def. Alex Rasch/Rebecca Lin (RICE) 8-5

Match Notes:
Rice 9-6, 0-0 C-USA
Ohio State 7-5, 1-0 Big Ten; National ranking #35
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,4,6,2,5,1)