April 18, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 62nd-ranked Ohio State women's tennis team will host one match and go on the road for another this final regular season weekend. The Buckeyes (8-14, 3-6 Big Ten) welcome Michigan State (8-12, 0-9 Big Ten) for Senior Day at the OSU Varsity Outdoor Courts at 2 p.m. Friday before facing 14th-ranked Michigan (15-6, 8-1 Big Ten) in Ann Arbor, Mich., at noon Sunday.
As always, admission to regular season home matches is free.
Throughout the season, stay connected with the Buckeyes on Twitter @OhioState_WTEN or on Facebook at facebook.com/OhioStateWomensTennis.
A link for live stats is available on the women's tennis schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
On Deck for Ohio State
Following the match against Michigan Sunday, Ohio State will turn its attention to the Big Ten tournament. The hosting Buckeyes have reached at least the quarterfinals the last five seasons, including a semifinal run in 2011.
The match against the Spartans marks the final regular season home contest for senior Kelsey Haviland. A Senior Day ceremony will be held following the conclusion of the match.
The Dayton, Ohio native has racked up 61 career singles victories, including six against nationally-ranked opponents, coming into the weekend while playing 85 percent of dual matches in the top half of the lineup since her sophomore year. Haviland also has 44 career doubles wins and has been a part of 58 team wins as a Buckeye, including the squad's 4-1 victory over DePaul in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in 2010.
Haviland helped lead the Buckeyes to tie for third in the Big Ten last season while playing at No. 1 singles, where she downed a trio of ranked foes to earn second team All-Big Ten honors.
Junior Gabby Steele leads the team with 18 singles victories, followed by classmate Fidan Manashirova and freshman Kelsey Dieters, who both have 17 wins. Manashirova's 7-2 Big Ten record sets the pace for the team. Sophomore Tiffany Dittmer and Haviland have both reach the double-digit singles win mark, as Dittmer has claimed 14 and Haviland 10 this season.
Manashirova and Steele also form the winningest Buckeye doubles tandem, as the junior duo holds a 15-9 record, including an 11-7 dual-match ledger.
Ohio State's junior class of Kara Cecil, Manashirova and Steele has combined to win 32 singles contests this spring, 50 percent of the team's 64 singles victories in dual matches. The trio has accounted for 161 career wins. In doubles, the juniors have played a part in 75 percent of the Buckeyes' wins this spring with 21 of 28 decisions.
Michigan State Spartans
Sophomore Olga Chernova and junior Nicole Herzog have split time at No. 1 singles for Michigan State this season. Marina Bohrer and Katarina Lingl, both sophomores, have each collected 10 singles wins in dual matches.
The Buckeyes are 29-13 all-time against the Spartans, including a 14-1 record under head coach Chuck Merzbacher. Ohio State has won the last five meetings.
The Wolverines feature a trio of nationally-ranked singles players, led by freshman Emina Bektas (13th). She is joined by sophomore Brooke Bolender and junior Mimi Nguyen at 73rd and 108th, respectively. The doubles tandem of Bektas and Bolender comes in at No. 8 in the ITA polls as well. Bektas leads the team at No. 1 singles, where she has earned a 15-4 record.
Ohio State is 13-37 all-time against Michigan. The most recent victory for the Scarlet and Gray came in a 4-3 triumph at home in 2003. The Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines five times from 1999-2003.
Big Ten Tournament Coming to Columbus
Ohio State will host the 2012 Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament April 25-29 at The Ohio State University Varsity Outdoor Tennis Courts. All 12 conference schools will participate in the event, with one round held each day. Admission to all matches is FREE. For more information on the tournament, including a schedule and live stats links during play, visit: http://go.osu.edu/2012WTENBTT.
Odds and Ends
Ohio State is 7-2 against unranked or lower-ranked opponents and 6-2 when taking the doubles point in 2012. The Buckeyes are 6-4 at home this season, including a 2-0 record at the new OSU Varsity Outdoor Courts.
Merzbacher's Winning Ways
Coming into the match against Michigan State, Merzbacher has recorded 613 matches in his career as a collegiate head coach, spanning back to his first season with Northern Illinois in the 1989-90 campaign. In those 613 matches, he has collected 365 wins with a win percentage of nearly 60 percent (.595). Merzbacher has been at the helm for the Buckeyes in 417 matches, dating back to the 1996-97 season. With Ohio State, Merzbacher has achieved a .556 winning percentage on the way to a program-record 232 victories.