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April 22, 2012
University Park, Pa. - On Sunday night, the No. 50 Penn State women's tennis team (12-10, 4-7) learned who they will face in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions will take on host No. 62 Ohio State (9-15, 4-7) on Thurs., April 26 at 10 a.m to kick off action in Columbus, Ohio. Penn State enters the tournament as the No. 8 seed and Ohio State comes in as No. 9.
Earlier this season, the Nittany Lions defeated then No. 57 Ohio State, 4-3, on February 7th. Although Penn State lost the doubles point during that match, the Nittany Lions stormed back in singles action as they won four of the six matches. The winner of the PSU/OSU match-up will face the No. 1 seed, Northwestern, on Friday at 10 a.m.
Penn State has had a great season thus far, having been ranked in the ITA poll for 10 straight weeks. Prior to this season, the Nittany Lions had not broken into the poll since 2008, when they came in at No. 75 during the week of Feb. 22, 2008. Penn State has defeated four ranked opponents this season: then No. 57 Ohio State, No. 40 VCU, No. 65 Marshall and No. 27 Purdue.
In addition to Penn State's team success, Petra Januskova (Ottawa, Canada) has enjoyed a season-long stay in the ITA singles poll. No. 76 Januskova has earned 16 wins so far this season and during the week of Jan. 10 she was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week, becoming just the third Nittany Lion in program history to earn that honor.
As Big Ten rivals, Penn State has faced Ohio State a total of 44 times in program history. The Buckeyes hold the advantage in the series, claiming 28 wins to Penn State's 16. Prior to PSU's win in February, the Nittany Lions had not beaten OSU since the spring of 2005.
The Buckeyes are led by Head Coach Chuck Merzbacher, who has been at the helm of Ohio State for 15 seasons. Ohio State is led by freshman Kelsey Dieters, who came to OSU as a five-star recruit and the No. 1 player from Michigan. Dieters totaled 19 victories in her first season as a Buckeye. Additionally, Gabby Steele and Fidan Manashirova have tallied 20 and 18 wins, respectively.
The tournament is scheduled to begin on Thursday, with first-round matches beginning at 10 a.m. ET at Ohio State's Varsity Tennis Center. Friday will feature quarterfinal matches beginning at 10 a.m., while Saturday will showcase the tournament semifinals starting at 10 a.m. Sunday's championship match is scheduled for Noon ET.
BTN will air the championship match on tape delay on Wednesday, May 9 at 6 p.m. ET.
All of the Nittany Lion's home matches can be followed through the link for live stats at http://www.gopsusports.com/livestats/c-tennis/xlive.htm. Make sure to "like" the Penn State Women's Tennis page on Facebook and follow @PSUWomensTennis on Twitter!