Ohio State Opens Fall at Akron Invitational
Senior Noelle Malley
Oct. 3, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team will open the 2013-14 season Friday through Sunday at the Akron Hidden Dual Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The hidden dual, hosted by the University of Akron, features the host Zips, Buckeyes, Cornell and West Virginia in singles and doubles competition.
“We are thrilled to be starting our season this weekend,” Melissa Schaub, head coach of the Buckeyes, said. “The team has been working very hard and we are all ready to see where we are against other competition. Half of our team will be playing their first collegiate matches and I think this is a great tournament to get started.”
Seniors Kelsey Becker and Noelle Malley, redshirt sophomore Nicole Flower, sophomore Grâinne O’Neill and freshmen Gabriella De Santis, Miho Kowase and Sandy Niehaus will represent the Buckeyes in this weekend’s competition.
HOW IT WORKS
Teams, playing like a dual match, will face off against one team in singles and another in doubles that same day. A tournament winner will be determined by a points system, based on singles and doubles wins for each team.
OHIO STATE SCHEDULE
Singles vs. Cornell, 9 a.m.
Doubles vs. Akron, Noon
Singles vs. West Virginia, 9 a.m.
Doubles vs. Cornell, Noon
Doubles vs. West Virginia, 12 p.m.
Singles vs. Akron, 1 p.m.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD
The Buckeyes, who were ranked No. 73 in the ITA poll at the end of the 2012-13 season, will square off against Akron, Cornell and West Virginia in a hidden dual format with singles and doubles competition.
Akron opened their fall campaign at the Cornell Invitational with Olga Shkundina and Shannon Newnes capturing flight A doubles, while Madison Cohen claimed the C singles bracket. The Zips competed in the Spartan Invitational last weekend with Shkundina finishing third in flight A singles after collecting a 3-1 record in the tournament. Last season, Akron notched an 18-10 record (5-3 MAC), advancing to the MAC tournament's semifinal round for the fourth-straight season. The squad ended the year ranked eighth in the ITA's Midwest Region.
Cornell earned a 14-4 record in the 2012-13 season with a 3-4 ledger in conference play to finish fifth in the Ivy League. Hosting their own tournament to kick off the fall, senior Ryann Young and D’Ascenzo captured flight A and flight B singles, respectively, at the Cornell Fall Invitational. The Big Red wrapped up the Cissie Leary Invitational Sept. 22 with sophomore Dena Tanenbaum and freshman Alexandra D'Ascenzo earning second place in the doubles competition.
West Virginia tallied two third-place finishes at the USAFA Invitational Sept. 29 with their top doubles tandem of sophomore Hailey Barrett and junior Ikttesh Chahal in flight ‘alpha’ and sophomore Vivian Tsui and freshman Oana Manole finishing third in flight ‘bravo.’ The Mountaineers return four from last season, including Barrett who claimed seven singles and doubles victories for the squad.
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 will be joined by freshmen Ferny Angeles Paz, Gabriella De Santis, Miho Kowase and Sandy Niehaus. The freshman quartet join the squad ranked as the No. 12 recruiting class by Tennis Recruiting Network and the first recruiting class for head coach Melissa Schaub.
Melissa Schaub enters into 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 joins 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.
Following the Akron Hidden Dual, Ohio State will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to compete in the ITA Midwest Regional Oct. 10-14 before heading to Knoxville, Tenn., to play in the Tennessee Fall Invite Oct. 25-27 for the second-consecutive year. The Buckeyes will close out the fall Nov. 8-10 in the Jack Kramer Tournament in Los Angeles, Calif.
The Buckeyes, who were ranked as high as No. 41 in the ITA polls, notched a 10-14 record in the 2012-13 season, including three shutout victories, three conference wins and two victories over ranked opponents. Manashirova collected a team-best 24 singles wins and eight wins in Big Ten outings. O’Neill, who collected the team’s Most Improved award, led the team with six conference victories.