Melissa Schaub and Nicole Flower
May 22, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Incoming freshmen Gabriella De Santis, Miho Kowase and Ferny Angeles Paz signed NCAA National Letters of Intent this spring and are set to join Sandy Niehaus, who signed her NLI in December, on the Ohio State women's tennis team in the 2013-2014 season. The class of four incoming freshmen marks the first recruiting class for head coach Melissa Schaub, who was tabbed head coach of the Buckeyes May 14.
"I am absolutely thrilled to have Miho, Gabriella, and Ferny joining us at Ohio State," Schaub said. "They have all had remarkable junior careers, and Bryan (Koniecko) and I believe they are going to make an immediate impact on our program. We could not be more excited to get these three, along with Sandy Niehaus, here to start working."
De Santis is currently the second-highest ranked player in Venezuela and ranked No.161 in the world. De Santis competed in the 2013 Fed Cup in Medellin, Colombia and has represented her country at the Junior Fed Cup five times. De Santis has also played in several ITF tournaments in four different countries, including the Casablanca (Mexico) and Copa del Café (Costa Rica).
Kowase ended the 2011 season ranked No. 48 in the world and has spent the last six years competing on the Japanese National Team. Kowase captured the title at the U-16 Junior Fed Cup and earned a career-high world ranking of No.14. Kowase reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 Wimbledon Juniors (GA) in doubles competition and was singles runner up at the 2010 Osaka Mayor's Cup. Kowase's sister, Maho, is a junior on the University of Georgia women's tennis team.
Angeles Paz earned a career-high No. 50 ranking in the junior ITF standings and was named the Doubles Champion at a Grade 2 ITF tournament in Argentina. The Lima, Peru, native claimed her first ITF tournament at age 14 and was a two-time doubles finalist in Grade 1 ITF contests in Brazil and Colombia. Angeles Paz reached the semifinals in singles competition in two Grade 2 ITF outings in Chile and Argentina and is No. 1 in every age group in Peru.
Niehaus, a five-star recruit according to tennisrecruiting.net, won the Ohio Division I state singles championship in 2010 and was the state runner-up in 2011 and '12. A three-time first team All-Ohio selection and a 2011 National High School Tennis All-American, Niehaus is currently ranked No. 1 in Ohio, No. 7 in the Great Lakes Region and No. 69 nationally. She helped guide Mount Notre Dame to a runner-up finish in the state tournament as a freshman. The three-time team MVP received the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association John P. Harlow Sportsmanship Award in 2011.