Buckeyes Open Home Slate with Doubleheader vs. Syracuse and Youngstown State

Noelle Malley
Noelle Malley

Jan. 30, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women's tennis team is set to open its home slate Friday with a doubleheader vs. Syracuse and Youngstown State at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Buckeyes will host the Orange at 1 p.m. followed by the Penguins at 6 p.m. Admission is free to all Buckeye regular-season home matches.

The match vs. Youngstown State will be the Buckeyes Go Pink match with proceeds going to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. The match will feature a basket raffle and courtside tables are available for rent at $25. Pink frosted tennis ball cookies and pink ribbon cupcakes will also be for sale at the match. In addition, there will be a silent auction and a raffle at the match, with those proceeds also goint to the Spielman fund. 

Syracuse is looking for its first win of the spring campaign after dropping its first three matches of the season vs. USF, TCU and Baylor. The Orange are led by senior co-captains Maddie Kobelt, the sister of Ohio State men's tennis player Peter, and Aleah Marrow, as well as Amanda Rodgers who ended last season ranked No. 16 in the Northeast region.

Ohio State is 2-0 all time vs. Syracuse. The squads last met in 2011-12 when Ohio State defeated Syracuse, 5-2, at home.

Youngstown State opened the 2014 spring slate with a 6-1 loss at Bowling Green. The Penguins are led by three-time All-Horizon league selection Margarita Sadovnikova, who posted a 17-6 record in dual play last season. Junior Marta Burak set a school record with 28 singles wins last season and earned a spot on the All-Horizon League first team.

The Buckeyes are 2-0 all-time vs. the Penguins. Ohio State blanked Youngstown State last season 7-0 at the Varsity Tennis Center.

The Buckeyes hold a 1-3 record in the spring campaign. Ohio State opened the spring with a 4-3 loss to No. 19 Baylor with freshman Gabriella De Santis claiming her second career victory over a ranked opponent. The Buckeyes bounced back to blank Prairie View A&M, 7-0. Last weekend, Ohio State competed in ITA Kickoff Weekend in Coral Gables, Fla., and fell to No. 9 Miami, 4-2, and No. 59 South Florida, 4-1.



The Buckeyes feature a balanced roster of returning and new players this season. Seniors Kelsey Becker and Noelle Malley, redshirt sophomore Nicole Flower and sophomore Grainne O'Neill are joined by freshmen Ferny Angeles Paz, Gabriella De Santis, Miho Kowase and Sandy Niehaus, who will be making their debut at the Varsity Tennis Center. The freshman quartet joined the squad ranked as the No. 12 recruiting class by Tennis Recruiting Network and the first recruiting class for head coach Melissa Schaub.

Ohio State saw action in four competitions in the fall campaign. The Scarlet and Gray kicked off the fall slate collecting 19 wins at the Akron Invitational Oct. 4-6. Freshman Sandy Niehaus earned a spot in the main draw singles competition of the ITA Midwest Regional Championship, while the Buckeye duo of Miho Kowase and Grainne O'Neill advanced to the round of 16 of the doubles main draw of the event before falling to the Illinois tandem of Misi Kedzierski and Louise Kwong. The Buckeyes combined for 13 singles wins and eight doubles victories at the Tennessee Fall Invite, claiming eight of their nine doubles matches on the weekend vs. Kentucky, North Carolina State and Tennessee. Ohio State wrapped up fall competition at the Jack Kramer Invitational Nov. 10 with Ferny Angeles Paz and Noelle Malley reaching the doubles final of the event. In the tournament, the Buckeyes totaled seven singles win and five doubles victories.

Melissa Schaub is in her second year as head coach of the Buckeyes after serving as the interim head coach last season and is joined by associate head coach and former Buckeye standout Bryan Koniecko. Four-time Ohio State letterwinner Fidan Manashirova joined the coaching staff as a student assistant coach this season. Manashirova, a two-time MVP for the Scarlet and Gray, led the squad last season with a team-best 24 singles wins to earn fifth all-time in program history in career singles victories with 89 wins. Jeremy Fleming is serving as the squad's volunteer coach.

Ohio State will be back in action at the Varsity Tennis Center to face Tennessee at 5 p.m. Feb. 21.