WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 21 Purdue women’s tennis returns to Big Ten action this weekend. The Boilermakers have a pair of home matches as they take on No. 53 Ohio State on Friday and No. 37 Penn State on Sunday.
Purdue (9-1, 1-0 B1G) stepped away from conference action last week for a spring break trip to Florida. There, the team picked up a pair of 6-1 wins as it defeated Winthrop and Florida International. Mara Schmidt went 2-0 in singles during the trip with both victories coming at No. 2. She has been one of the top performers for the Boilers as she is 11-2 in singles, 8-2 during dual match play, including six-straight wins at No. 2. She is also part of the top doubles pair. She and Krisztina Kapitany are 10-2 on the year, 7-2 in dual match play, and are ranked No. 38 in the country.
Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum has also given a huge boost to the Purdue lineup. The freshman is 8-0 on the season with all of her matches coming at No. 4. Gisella Pere holds down the No. 6 spot and is 8-1 on the season with her only loss coming last weekend against Winthrop. The Boilermakers are also very strong in doubles play as they have taken the point nine times, including seven-straight. The team is 8-1 when winning the doubles point this season.
Ohio State (8-6, 1-1) is on a two-match skid and went 1-2 last weekend. The Buckeyes defeated Boise State, 4-0, before falling 4-2 to Tulane and 4-1 to Yale. Both Yale and Tulane are ranked in the top 40 in the latest ITA College Tennis poll. In Big Ten play, Ohio State faced Nebraska back on Feb. 2 and fell to the now-No. 12 Cornhuskers 4-2. Earlier this month, The Buckeyes defeated Penn State, 5-2.
The Buckeyes toughest spot in the lineup is No. 4. They are 11-1 on the year with Gabby Steele leading the way with a 5-0 mark at that spot. She is 9-2 overall during dual match play. Kelsey Dieters is the main No. 1 singles player and has a 6-5 record at the spot this season.
Last season, Purdue edged a 4-3 win in Columbus. The Boilermakers took the doubles point and then won three singles matches. Daniela Vidal and Gisella Pere are the lone two Boilers on the roster that picked up wins in that match a year ago. The Buckeyes return five singles players that faced Purdue in the 2012 match.
Penn State (10-1, 0-1) has been off since March 9 when it defeated College of Charleston, 5-2. The Nittany Lions have a few nice wins on the year including a 4-3 victory over now-No. 46 Kentucky, 4-3. Penn State also played Winthrop earlier this season and won, 4-3, in February. Purdue and Penn State have both also faced Marshall. Both teams picked up 6-1 wins on the road.
The Boilermakers fell to Penn State last season, 4-3. The Nittany Lions took the doubles point and then had wins at No. 1, No. 2, and No. 6. Petra Januskova leads the way for Penn State again this year. She is currently 10-1 on the season with a 9-1 record at No. 1. She is ranked No. 41 in the country for singles players. Chelsea Utting has also had an outstanding year. She is also 10-1 with a 9-1 record at No. 2 and also has a win at No. 1.
The Boilermakers are scheduled to face Ohio State on the Basham Courts at the Schwartz Tennis Center beginning at 3 p.m. ET on Friday. On Sunday, Purdue and Penn State will begin at 11 a.m. Live scoring, a free live video feed, and a live blog will be available for the match on PurdueSports.com.