The legacy of the rivalry between Ohio State and the University of Michigan is historically centered around football. However, ill will and passion for beating the other team holds no barrier between sports. The OSU women’s tennis team celebrated that thrill of victory defeating Michigan Friday afternoon, 5-1.
OSU and Michigan came into Friday’s match ranked fourth and 10th nationally, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s rankings.
After reaching the semifinals of the ITA National Indoor Championships before losing to North Carolina, the win against the Wolverines was a nice rebound for the Buckeyes.
Starting off in doubles, OSU was awarded the doubles point after winning two of three matches to take the early 1-0 advantage.
The senior duo of Sandy Niehaus and Gabriella De Santis won a close set by tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-2). Seniors Miho Kowase and Ferny Angeles Paz 6-1 victory compensated for Michigan’s lone doubles win over Buckeyes sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo and junior Anna Sanford, 6-3.
Three-time ITA national champion and top-ranked Di Lorenzo led the way first for the Buckeyes, disposing of Michigan sophomore Brienne Minor in straight sets, making quick work and another point for the Buckeyes, 6-1, 6-2.
Kowase followed with another victory for the Buckeyes to stretch the lead to 3-0, defeating Michigan junior Mira Rider-Hook in similar fashion, 6-0, 6-3.
Needing only one more point for the clincher and the match victory, OSU needed just one of four remaining singles matches to capture the win.
They’d get two out of three wins, with De Santis winning 6-3, 6-3 and Angeles Paz finishing off freshman Valeria Patiuk 6-3, 6-1, with the final score being 5-1 OSU and the two remaining matches being abandoned.
“You couldn’t ask for anything more, to be able to rebound and a chance to play Michigan at home in a couple days. So, it’s something that these guys definitely get up for and try to move on from the tough loss,” OSU coach Melissa Schaub said. “We’re going to come in here and fight hard. We were just able to get it done in front of our fans.”
Di Lorenzo echoed her coach’s sentiment about bouncing back for a team win against a top-ten opponent in rival Michigan.
“It feels really good and it was a quick turnaround, having to play Michigan, they’re our rival and they’re an unbelievable team and very competitive and strong,” she said. “Although we had a tough loss last weekend, we’re going to have to come back stronger and forget about it and just learn from it and move on, and I think that’s what we did today.”