In a nationally-televised dual match against the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles, the Ohio State Buckeyes Women’s Tennis team came back from the brink of defeat to spring the upset.
The match, hosted at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida (part of Orlando), was broadcast on Tennis Channel. Both teams made strong statements in a match that will have a positive impact on both programs, and college tennis in general.
The dual match was tense and tight from the start, with the doubles point coming down to a tiebreak on Court 2. Florida State’s Sasha Hill (remember that name) and Emmanuelle Salas ran away with it against Danielle Wolf and Isabelle Boulais, clinching that point for the Seminoles. If Ohio State wanted to spring the upset, the Buckeyes would need to win four singles matches.
Interestingly enough, Florida State only has one player nationally-ranked in singles at the moment. However, the Seminoles came into the match at 12-2 because they manage to find the right players at the right time to win matches. It looked like they would do the same against Ohio State, even though the Buckeyes have three nationally-ranked players.
All of the singles matches were pretty well-played, though five of the six had a clear superior player. Danielle Wolf, who just keeps getting better and better for the Buckeyes, beat Petra Hule in two quick sets. Top Buckeye Shiori Fukuda was challenged early, but quickly ran away with her match against Salas. Meanwhile, Florida State’s Victoria Allen and Nadnini Das won their singles matches in straight sets.
The unsung hero for Ohio State, though, is actually Luna Dormet. Dormet doesn’t always find her way into the starting lineup, and she actually had a losing record on the season coming into Sunday’s match. She found a way to beat Andrea Garcia in straight sets, though, setting the stage for one final singles match to determine the outcome.
Kolie Allen, who has not been as impressive this season as some had hoped, given her success last year, was on the brink of defeat against Sasha Hill. Hill served for the match (had four match points) in the second set, but Allen won four straight to break back. In the second-set tiebreak, Hill had a 5-2 lead. Allen came back again, winning five straight points to force a third and deciding set.
The third set, with Allen and Hill the only two players left on court, are what made this nationally-televised match a compelling classic. Allen saved break points serving at 1-2, then rattled off four straight games for a 5-2 lead. She failed to serve out the match twice, but broke again for 6-5. She finally held to serve out the set and the match, earning a Gatorade bath from her teammates in the process.
Not only is this is a great win for the Buckeyes, but it shows just how much upside this team has. Wolf seemingly has no limit. She just keeps on winning–on the same day that her brother won an ATP Challenger Tour title, Danielle possibly had the better day. Fukuda is one of the top singles players in the country. And between Allen and Irina Cantos Siemers, the Buckeyes have a lineup that cam beat just about anyone.
Ohio State, by far the class of the Big Ten, will play conference matchups for the rest of the year–aside from a quick trip to Baylor in early April. The Buckeyes have played the toughest schedule in the country so far, and currently sit at 8-3. The schedule gets far easier from here, which means that the Buckeyes should have a lot of momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament in May.
(Note: Those who watched the match on Tennis Channel may have noticed that the commentators said Ohio State was No. 10 in the country and Florida State was No. 6. The commentators referred to the USTA/Tennis Channel poll, while this article used the far more common ITA computer rankings.)