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No luck for women’s tennis underdogs in first round

BY JON FRANK | APRIL 30, 2010 7:30 AM

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The first round of the women’s tennis Big Ten Tournament held no surprises or upsets.

Following expectations exactly, the higher seeded teams not only won, they swept the opposition en route to today’s quarterfinal session.

Iowa sophomore Sonja Molnar, who earned first-team all-conference honors Thursday night, said the domination across the board in the first round illustrates the determination of the Big Ten’s most talented teams.

Senior Kelcie Klockenga, who earned the conference sportsmanship award on Thursday, said the matches ended as predicted and are inconsequential to her and her teammates, who are focusing on their match against Indiana at 10 a.m. today.

“We already knew who we were playing, so I watched the scores, but I didn’t really watch it that much,” she said. “We’re just focused on taking it one match at a time.”

In tournament’s closest pairing of the day, No. 8 seeded Wisconsin (9-14, 4-6) made short work of No. 9 seed Minnesota (10-14, 3-8) in the tournament’s opening match at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex, eventually shutting down the Golden Gophers, 4-0.

After winning the first two of three doubles matches for an early 1-0 advantage, the Badgers eliminated Minnesota from the postseason with three unanswered singles points. The three other singles matches were not finished.

Wisconsin junior Jessica Seyforth ended the Golden Gophers’ run with a three-set victory over freshman Doron Muravnik (2-6, 6-1, 6-0).

The Badgers will play top-seeded at 10 a.m. Michigan today.

Purdue routs Penn State

No. 6 seeded Purdue (17-5, 6-5) posted the second shutout in the opening round Thursday afternoon, downing No. 11 seed Penn State, 4-0.

The Big Ten Tournament win marked the Boilermakers’ second victory over the Nittany Lions (4-19, 0-11) during the spring season.

Purdue freshman Imogen Golder’s two-set win over Penn State freshman Sarah Henderson in the No. 5 spot sealed the Boilermakers’ quarterfinal meeting with No. 3 seed Illinois at 2 p.m. today.

Purdue tallied the first point with two 8-1 wins in the No. 1 and No. 3 spots during doubles play.

In singles, Boilermaker junior Bhavani Tirumurti won her set against Nittany Lion sophomore Maria Prishlyak at the No. 3 spot (6-2, 6-1) and increased the Purdue lead to 3-0.

Despite Penn State’s four overall wins and winless record in the Big Ten, Iowa junior Jessica Young credited the Nittany Lions’ effort in Thursday’s bout against a higher-seeded opponent.

“They went out, and they played really tough,” Young said. “The matches that were unfinished were three-set matches ... It was a lot closer than the final score.”

Ohio State dominates Michigan State

No. 7 seeded Ohio State (19-8, 6-5) ended the first round with a 4-0 thumping of No. 10 seed Michigan State (7-16, 1-10). The Buckeyes are slated to face No. 2 seed Northwestern at 2 p.m. today.

Ohio State doubles duo Paloma Escobedo and Christina Keesey began the match with an 8-0 shutout from the No. 2 spot.

No. 78-ranked Ohio State senior Kirsten Flower followed Escobedo in the top singles spot, defeating Spartan freshman Michaela Silesova (6-3, 6-0).

The final point for the Buckeyes came from Keesey in the No. 5 spot (6-1, 6-1).

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