COLUMBUS, Ohio – The second-seeded Ohio State women’s tennis team earned a spot in the Big Ten Tournament Championship final Saturday evening as the Buckeyes defeated No. 3 seed and tournament host Northwestern, 4-1, in the semifinals at Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill. The Buckeyes will face No.1 seed Michigan at 1 p.m. ET Sunday in the championship final.
“This was a great match today,” head coach Melissa Schaub said. “Northwestern played well and we were able to fight through for the win. I could not be happier of our girls and the effort that they have brought for this tournament and this entire year.”
Ohio State will look to capture the program’s first Big Ten tournament title vs. No. 1 seed Michigan. It is the team’s first Big Ten Championship appearance since the 2004 season when the Buckeyes fell to Northwestern, 4-0. The match will be televised on the Big Ten Network at 7:30 May 12.
Doubles proved to be intense battle as all courts were tied at 4-all before the Buckeyes began to pull away on courts one and three to claim the point. The freshman duo of Anna Sanford and Olivia Sneed notched an 8-6 victory vs. Alex Chatt and Lok Sze Leung, 8-6, before the 48th-ranked tandem of Sandy Niehaus and Gabriella De Santis earned their second victory vs. a ranked B1G opponent to earn the doubles point vs. Northwestern. DE Santis and Niehaus won 8-6 vs. 39th-ranked Alicia Barnett and Erin Larner, 8-6. Miho Kowase and Ferny Angeles Paz led 7-6 when play was suspended.
The Buckeyes claimed three wins in singles to claim the victory vs. the Wildcats. Niehaus tallied a 6-2, 6-2, win on court three to earn the victory, while De Santis posted 6-4, 6-3 victory at No.1 singles vs. Barnett to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 advantage. Sanford forced a third set before falling 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on court two before Kowase sealed the team victory and a spot in the finals at No. 4, topping Alex Chatt, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3, at No. 4. O”Neill and Sneed did not complete their singles matches.
Ohio State 4, Northwestern 1
No. 1 – Gabriella De Santis (OSU) def. Alicia Barnett (NU), 6-4, 6-3
No. 2 – Erin Larner (NU) def. Anna Sanford (OSU), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
No. 3 – Sandy Niehaus (OSU) def. Lok Sze Leung (NU), 6-2, 6-2
No. 4 – Miho Kowase (OSU) def. Alex Chatt (NU), 1-6, 6-1, 6-3
No. 5 – Rheeya Doshi (NU) vs. Grainne O’Neill (OSU), 5-7, 6-1, 3-3 (unfinished)
No. 6 – Olivia Sneed (OSU) vs. Brooke Rischbieth (NU), 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (unfinished)
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 4*
No. 1 – De Santis/Niehaus (OSU) def. Barnett/Larner (NU), 8-6
No. 2 – Kowase/Angeles Paz (OSU) vs. Doshi/Rischbieth (NU), 7-6 (unfinished)
No. 3 – Sneed/Sanford (OSU) def. Leung/Chatt (NU), 8-6
Order of Finish: 3, 1*