Ohio State Falls to Top Seed Northwestern in Big Ten Tournament
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s tennis team, ranked 63rd nationally and seeded ninth, fell to 11th-ranked and No. 1-seed Northwestern, 4-0, Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, hosted by the Buckeyes at the OSU Varsity Outdoor Tennis Courts. The Scarlet and Gray defeated No. 8 seed Penn State, 4-2, in the first round of the tournament Thursday.
The Buckeyes (10-16, 4-7/t-7th Big Ten) could not find momentum in doubles and dropped decisions on courts two and three to the Wildcats (17-7, 10-1 Big Ten). Northwestern picked up a pair of straight-set singles wins and a three-setter to clinch the match, 4-0, and move to the semifinals.
“I was proud of how we went into singles and battled,” Chuck Merzbacher, Ohio State head coach, said after the contest. “There was no quit and no panic on this team at any point today.”
Northwestern’s Nida Hamilton and Brittany Wowchuck sealed the doubles point with an 8-5 win over Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele on court two after NU’s No. 3 tandem of Belinda Niu and Kate Turvy defeated Kelsey Haviland and Noelle Malley, 8-1.
The Buckeyes’ No. 1 doubles team of Kara Cecil and Kelsey Dieters stayed close to Northwestern’s top duo of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning, ranked 72nd nationally, and trailed by just a game, 6-5, before play was suspended.
The Wildcats came out strong in singles in their first match of the tournament after a first-round bye. Hamilton won first for Northwestern, downing Tiffany Dittmer, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 6 singles before the Wildcats’ Niu captured a 6-2, 6-1 win over Cecil at No. 2.
Abu Mushrefova sealed the win for Northwestern, bouncing back from a first-set loss to Steele at No. 5 with 6-1, 6-4 second and third-set victories.
Buckeye senior Haviland was in the middle of a second-set battle, trailing Turvy, 3-2, at No. 1 and Manashirova was tied with 66th-ranked Wowchuk, 4-4, in the second frame when matches were suspended. Both Buckeyes dropped first sets.
Dieters was leading the first set, 4-2, against Corning at No. 4.
“We came a long way and players on this team stepped up in the last month,” Merzbacher added. “We have a lot of promise and talent with who is coming back to play next year. I feel good about the future of this team.”
Tennis Match Results
Northwestern vs Ohio State
Apr 27, 2012 at Columbus, Ohio
(OSU Varsity Outdoor Tennis Courts)
#11 Northwestern 4, #63 Ohio State 0
1. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) vs. #19 Kate Turvy (NU) 4-6, 2-3, unfinished
2. Belinda Niu (NU) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) 6-2, 6-1
3. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) vs. #66 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) 4-6, 4-4, unfinished
4. Kelsey Dieters (OSU) vs. Veronica Corning (NU) 4-2, unfinished
5. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Gabby Steele (OSU) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Tiffany Dittmer (OSU) 6-0, 6-2
1. Kara Cecil/Kelsey Dieters (OSU) vs. #72 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) 5-6, unfinished
2. Nida Hamilton/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Fidan Manashirova/Gabby Steele (OSU) 8-5
3. Belinda Niu/Kate Turvy (NU) def. Kelsey Haviland/Noelle Malley (OSU) 8-1
Northwestern 17-7; National ranking #11
Ohio State 10-16; National ranking #63
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (6,2,5)
Quarterfinals of Big Ten Tournament
Northwestern - No. 1 seed
Ohio State - No. 9 seed