No. 8 Buckeyes survive late rally to top No. 19 Wolverines 4-3
No. 8 Ohio State defeated No. 19 Michigan 4-3 Friday at Ty Tucker Tennis Center to remain undefeated in Big Ten play.
It was a tightly contested game that wasn’t decided until the final two games as the Buckeyes trailed 3-2. Head coach Melissa Schaub said the game could have gone either way.
“I think we showed a lot of character in how we stayed there and how we competed,” Schaub said. “I have tremendous respect for Michigan and what they’ve done. They are better than their ranking. I think they can beat anyone.
Ohio State (11-4, 4-0 Big Ten) quickly jumped to a 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point.
Senior Isabelle Boulais and junior Kathleen Jones beat a Michigan duo (10-5, 4-1 Big Ten) that included second Kari Miller, ranked No. 11 in singles, and junior Nicole Hammond, ranked No. 102 in singles, 6-1 on court two.
The No. 72-ranked Wolverine duo of second-year Jaeden Brown and junior Andrea Cerdan beat senior Kolie Allen and rookie Sydni Ratliff 6-2 on the first court, which left junior Irina Cantos Siemers and junior Lucia Marzal to bring down senior Anca Craciun and second. Gala Mesochoritou 6-2 on court three.
After doubles play, all but two of the singles matches required three sets to decide a winner.
Cantos Siemers, who ranks No. 8 in singles, handled Hammond 6-1, 6-2 on court two to give the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead.
But the Wolverines would not go down easily.
After winning her first set against Miller, the No. 26 Boulais collapsed in the second set, losing 0-6. Boulais went on to lose three more games in a row, losing 0-3 in the third set. She couldn’t mount a comeback and eventually lost 6-4, 0-6, 3-6 on the first court, giving the Wolverines their first run 2-1.
Michigan kept up its momentum when No. 73 Brown snuffed out another comeback from Ohio State, passing Allen 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 on court three. With three games left to play, the score is tied at 2-2.
Sophomore Madeline Atway saw the court in place of graduate student Luna Dormet, who was absent due to injury. Atway played well but was beaten by Mesochoritou 4-6, 6-7 to give Wolverines a 3-2 lead with two games remaining.
On court four, Ratliff and Cerdan went back and forth for the entirety of three sets, as did Marzal and rookie Julia Fliegner on court five. Both matches ended simultaneously.
Marzal struck first and won her opening set by a tight 7-6. However, it was all Fliegner in the second set that beat Marzal 6-0. With one set to decide the match, the two players were in contention for victory and Marzal pulled out at the last minute to win 6-4. The match was tied 3-3 with one court, one set and two athletes remaining: No. 60 Ratliff and No. 111 Cerdan.
Ratliff beat Cerdan 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to earn victory for Ohio State, met by a rush of scarlet skirts as her team crowded around to congratulate her on her win.
Ohio State remains undefeated at home and in Big Ten play.
“I’m certainly not trying to start at the bottom; it kind of happens,” Ratliff said. “But to come back, my last two matches I had to do that, so I think it just shows my granularity and tenacity. I’m not ready to give up in my matches.
The Buckeyes’ next game is Sunday at noon, where they face Michigan State. The match will be played away at the Auer tennis complex.