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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Can Ohio State 'make it'?

On paper OSU's record is formidable. Their team record this season from ITA;

 4/30/2017 #10 University of Michigan Win 4-0
 4/29/2017 at #50 University of Illinois Win 4-3
 4/28/2017 University of Nebraska Win 4-0
 4/23/2017 Purdue University Win 4-0
 4/21/2017 Indiana University-Bloomington Win 7-0
 4/16/2017 at #39 Northwestern University Win 7-0
 4/14/2017 at #50 University of Illinois Win 7-0
 4/9/2017 at University of Nebraska Win 7-0
 4/7/2017 at University of Iowa Win 7-0
 4/2/2017 University of Maryland, College Park Win 7-0
 3/31/2017 Univ. of Dayton Win 7-0
 3/31/2017 Rutgers University Win 6-1
 3/19/2017 at University of Minnesota Win 7-0
 3/17/2017 University of Wisconsin, Madison Win 7-0
 3/14/2017 #1 University of Florida Loss 4-1
 3/8/2017 #43 University of Virginia Win 5-2
 3/5/2017 at #26 Arizona State University Win 4-0
 3/4/2017 #12 Pepperdine Win 6-1
 2/26/2017 #16 Baylor University Win 4-0
 2/25/2017 #28 University of Miami (Florida) Win 4-0
 2/19/2017 Penn State University Win 7-0
 2/17/2017 #10 University of Michigan Win 5-1
 2/12/2017 #4 North Carolina Loss 4-3
 2/11/2017 #9 Oklahoma State University Win 4-3
 2/10/2017 #11 Auburn University Win 4-1
 2/5/2017 at #3 Vanderbilt University Win 5-2
 1/29/2017 #41 University of Alabama Win 4-0
 1/28/2017 #37 Florida State University Win 4-0
 1/20/2017 Wright State University Win 7-0
 1/20/2017 Bowling Green State University Win

Most quality wins came early, mostly at NTI; defeated VU, Auburn then Oklahoma State. Routed Pepperdine too, in March.
Now NCAA is played outdoors. Personally dunno if there's a huge difference, but still, a difference nevertheless.
Conference matches weren't very competitive, since Big Ten is not like in their halcyon days, when NU were ranked #1 winning NTI 2 years in a row, and ND made NCAA semifinals 2 years in a row. OSU defeated Michigan with ease, but that Michigan has lost to Southern California this year.

Any team other than the Big 3, they have to worry about their depth; OSU is no exception, especially since they don't have recognizable stars except Di Lorenzo; think of Oklahoma State and Pepperdine, which are loaded with 'stars'.

Score of their win against Illinois precisely illustrate this depth problem;
(score from OSU)

Illinois vs Ohio State
Apr 29, 2017 at Urbana, Ill.
(Atkins Tennis Complex)
#4 Ohio State 4, Illinois 3
Singles competition
1. #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (OSU) def. Louise Kwong (ILL) 6-1, 6-0
2. Alexis Casati (ILL) def. #60 Anna Sanford (OSU) 6-4, 6-4
3. #94 Gabriella De Santis (OSU) def. Madie Baillon (ILL) 6-4, 6-3
4. #95 Miho Kowase (OSU) def. Jaclyn Switkes (ILL) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
5. #102 Sandy Niehaus (OSU) def. D. Pedraza Novak (ILL) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Grace Tapak (ILL) def. #117 Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU) 6-4, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. #19 Francesca Di Lorenzo/Miho Kowase (OSU) def. Louise Kwong/Ines Vias (ILL) 6-3
2. Madie Baillon/Jaclyn Switkes (ILL) def. Anna Sanford/Sandy Niehaus (OSU) 6-4
3. Alexis Casati/D. Pedraza Novak (ILL) def. Gabriella De Santis/Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU) 7-5
Match Notes:
Illinois 14-13
Ohio State 27-2; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (1,3,2,6,5,4)
Played on indoor courts
T-2:50

Casati is a good player, so probably not that surprising. Even Kowase was tested against Switkes at #4.

Luckily they avoided many contenders due to their #3 seeding; they're not going to meet UF, VU, UGA, OSU, GT and Pepperdine until the final.
Still they're in the most exciting 3rd quarter, having to play probably USC, then Auburn/Tech winner. Really I would LOVE to visit UGA if only to watch those matches. Lack of fund precludes me from visiting this college tennis mecca, Dan Magill complex.

If they manage to pull through, the winner of Stanford/Michigan/UNC/Ole Miss/Lady Vols awaits in the semi. Especially Stanford will be a bad matchup, because of their very strong lower singles positions. UNC is not shabby either in that regard: Graham and COP will be especially hard to beat in their respective positions.

So winning the doubles point will be all the more important to them, and they have excelled in that discipline. Again, those doubles matches will be the marquee matches at UGA.

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