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Buckeyes close out regular season with Big Ten split

The Ohio State women’s tennis team closed out the 2010 regular season this weekend winning one of two matches at home to finish at 18-8 overall and 5-5 in conference play.

Coming off a hard-fought victory at Indiana the previous weekend, OSU welcomed the Wisconsin Badgers to Columbus Friday night for the first match of its final homestand.

Able to carry over the momentum from the previous weekend, the Buckeyes made quick work of the overmatched Badger squad with a 7-0 victory.

The convincing victory marked the team’s record-best ninth shutout of the year, surpassing its previous best of eight attained in both the 1978-1979 and 2006-2007 seasons.

“It was a big match,” coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “We needed to get that win for Big Ten seeding and NCAA purposes, so that was an important match and fortunately we were able to get it.”

Following Friday’s strong showing, the Buckeyes returned to the OSU Varsity Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon hoping to take down Goliath in the form of the No. 6 Northwestern Wildcats.

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Despite being backed by an enthusiastic, packed house, Northwestern proved to be too much to handle, downing the Buckeyes with relative ease 5-2.

One of two seniors playing her final home match in scarlet and gray, Christina Keesey provided one of OSU’s few bright spots of the day downing her opponent in straight sets 7-6, 6-2.

“Northwestern is a great team, and we knew we had to fight hard today,” Keesey said. “I was glad I was able to end the way I did, and the team battled as hard as we could so that’s all you can ask for.”

With the regular season now behind them, the team has its sights set on Iowa City, where it will travel for the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday with high expectations.  

“I was pretty pleased with the whole weekend,” Merzbacher said. “We competed pretty well and the Big Ten is wide open, so when we go to the Big Ten tournament I think we can play with anybody.”

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