April 17, 2008
2008 BIG EAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPTampa, Florida â€¢ USF Varsity Tennis Courts
Friday, April 18Quarterfinals, 9 a.m. (ET) -  Notre Dame (18-8) vs. Rutgers/  Pittsburgh
Saturday, April 19Semifinals, 9 a.m.
Sunday, April 20Final, 9 a.m.
#17 NOTRE DAME AIMS FOR EIGHTH BIG EAST TITLE: The top-seeded and 17th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (18-8) will look for its eighth title in the BIG EAST Conference Championship this weekend at USF in Tampa. The Irish, who gained a first-round bye in the 12-team event, will open play against either eighth-seeded Rutgers (13-8) or ninth-seeded Pittsburgh (11-7) on Friday at 9 a.m. (ET) in quarterfinal action. With a victory, Notre Dame would then face either fourth-seeded Marquette (12-12), fifth-seeded DePaul (16-6) or 12th-seeded Georgetown (6-13) on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the semifinals, while the top contenders in the other half of the draw are second-seeded and 41st-ranked Louisville (14-6) and third-seeded and 46th-ranked South Florida (16-5). The title match will be Sunday at 9 a.m. The Bulls upset the Irish in last year’s title match 4-3, but Notre Dame defeated USF 6-1 at home in February. The Irish has reached the final in all 12 years since becoming a conference member, winning championships in 1996, ’97, ’99, 2001, ’03, `05 and `06.
IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame was named the No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Tennis Championship, which will take place Friday through Sunday at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The field features a 12-team bracket with the top four seeds earning opening-round byes. The winner receives the BIG EAST’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, which begins at campus sites on May 10. The Irish have earned the No. 1 seed every year but one (2003) since joining the conference, advancing to the final in all 12 previous appearances, winning titles in 1996, ’97, ’99, 2001, ’03, `05 and `06. ND faced Miami in the first nine title matches, beat Syracuse in 2005 and South Florida in 2006. Junior Kelcy Tefft is a leading candidate to be named BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, as she is the highest-ranked singles player in the conference, at 44th. Tefft has been named to the all-conference singles and doubles team in each of her first two seasons. She is also part of he nation’s top-ranked doubles team with Brook Buck. The Irish captain is the only other member of the team to earn all-conference recognition (Singles in `05, `06, and Doubles `05, `07). She is currently ranked 89th in the country. Notre Dame’s other nationally ranked player is Cosmina Ciobanu at #84. USF’s Janette Bejlkova is the only player from another BIG EAST team to be ranked at #60. Buck and Tefft are the conference’s only ranked doubles team. Other past Notre Dame winners of the tournament MVP were Jennifer Hall in 1996 and former Notre Dame assistant and current Illinois head coach Michelle Dasso in 2000 and ’01. Head coach Jay Louderback has been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year six times (1996, ’97, ’99, 2000, ’01, `06), and figures to once again be a candidate for that award, as his squad has ascended to #17 in the ITA national rankings.
CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has an incredible record of success in conference action, holding a 64-6 (.914) all-time record against conference foes, including a 26-5 (.839) record in the BIG EAST tournament. Four defeats came against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1996-2004, with the other loss coming at the hands of USF in last year’s title match. Notre Dame has a 45-3 (.938) all-time record against current BIG EAST schools, having lost to Marquette in 1989 and South Florida in 1993 in regular season play, long before they joined the league, and suffering the loss to the Bulls last season. Following seven years as an independent, the Irish were members of the North Star Conference from 1983-84 to 1987-88, the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1988-89 to 1994-95, and the BIG EAST since 1995-96. In 24 years of league membership, Notre Dame has been league champs 19 times (and runner-up the other five years) and won 27 consecutive matches against league foes from 1983-98.
ALL-TIME RECORDS AGAINST CURRENT BIG EAST TEAMS: See below Notre Dame’s all-time record against the current members of the conference.
School Record vs. BIG EAST Tournament LastCincinnati 1-0 0-0 `85 (fall)-W, 6-1Connecticut 1-0 1-0 `07 (BET) W, 4-0DePaul 11-0 1-0 `08-W, 7-0Georgetown 1-0 1-0 `98 (BET)-W, 4-0Louisville 3-0 0-0 `08-W, 6-1Marquette 11-1 1-0 `08-W, 7-0Pittsburgh 0-0 0-0 --Providence 1-0 1-0 `97 (BET)-W, 4-0Rutgers 4-0 3-0 `06 (BET)-W, 4-0St. John's 2-0 2-0 `05 (BET)-W, 4-0Seton Hall 1-0 1-0 `00 (BET)-W, 5-0South Florida 2-2 1-1 `08 -W, 6-1Syracuse 5-0 2-0 `08 -W, 6-1Villanova 0-0 0-0 --West Virginia 2-0 1-0 `01-W, 7-0Totals 45-3 15-1
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE NUMBER ONE?: On March 4, Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft became only the second Notre Dame team ever to earn the #1 national ranking. Christian and Catrina Thompson had previously earned the top ranking in 2006 and posted a 5-2 record while being ranked #1. Buck and Tefft have posted ten wins in eleven matches since earning the top billing, with the only loss coming against Francis and Bubien of SMU in a tiebreaker. Only two of their 10 wins since the beginning of March have come by a score closer than 8-4. The pair has a 32-5 overall record including 22-4 in dual play. Buck and Tefft have also gone 8-4 against nationally-ranked teams including three wins on their way to the ITA National Indoor Championship in November, giving Notre Dame just its second Collegiate Grand Slam title. (The Thompsons won the ITA All-American championships in fall, 2005). The Irish duo has a career mark of 91-19, and has a chance to become just the second ever Notre Dame team to post 100 career wins (the Thompsons were the first).
DOUBLES DOMINANCE: The tradition of solid doubles play has continued this season for Notre Dame as the Irish have captured the doubles point in each of their last 13 matches. In the course of that streak, the Irish took the doubles point from each of the top two teams in the country (#2 Georgia Tech, March 1; #1 Northwestern April 9). Overall, the Irish have captured the doubles point in 21 of 26 matches this spring and have not dropped a doubles point at home this season. The Irish are 17-4 when they win the match’s initial point and 1-4 when they drop it. On the season, the Irish have a combined record of 91-30 (.752) in paired play including 59-19 (.756) in spring duals. The Irish are also a remarkable 23-3 (.885) at the No. 1 position thanks to the stellar play of Buck and Tefft. Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu have emerged as a solid No.2 team for Notre Dame, posting an 18-2 mark since being paired together in February. The .900 winning percentage for the team is the highest in school history (minimum 15 matches) over the course of a single season.
LET’S GO STREAKING: The following streaks are currently active for the Notre Dame women’s tennis team… The Irish have won eleven of their last twelve matches and sixteen in row against lower ranked squads….Notre Dame has won the doubles point in each of their last 13 matches…Cosmina Ciobanu owns the longest singles winning streak on the team as she has won each of her last seven outings and ten of her last eleven… Notre Dame has earned a victory in the No. 1 doubles position in 20 of their last 21 matches…Brook Buck has won four matches in a row at No. 2 singles and 10 of her last 11… The Irish have been victorious at No. 3 singles in 10 of their last 11 matches… Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu had their streak of ten doubles wins in a row snapped with a loss to DePaul, but the duo has won eleven of thier last 12 contests.
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: In April 9th’s loss to Northwestern, the Irish recorded two career-high singles wins. Cosmina Ciobanu upset 25th-ranked Samantha Murray 6-3, 6-2, and Brook Buck defeated fifth-ranked Georgia Rose in a match tiebreaker. The win for Buck was her best since a victory over #16 Karin Coetzee of Wake Forest in her freshman year (2005). Kelcy Tefft also recorded a career-best singles win against 16th-ranked Ellah Nze of Duke in a 4-3 Irish loss. Tefft came from a set down to win the second set in a tiebreaker and took the match tiebreaker by a 10-7 count. Buck and Tefft also earned a career-high doubles win in the ITA All-American Championships consolation, an 8-6 triumph over Dulgheru and Kosakowski of Clemson, who were ranked eighth at the time.
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS, YET AGAIN: The following players for Notre Dame have earned career-high rankings this season: Brook Buck/Kelcy Tefft (#1, current, previous high 5th); Cosmina Ciobanu/Colleen Rielley (#45, February 19); Kali Krisik (#89, January 15, first ranking); Kelcy Tefft (#38, March 18, previous high 110th).
ND FACES TEN TOP-25 TEAMS: Notre Dame’s schedule has seen the Irish take on ten squads ranked in the national top 25 at the time of the match. The Irish have wins against #13 William & Mary (4-3), #19 Wake Forest (4-3), and #25 Indiana (6-1). They have fallen to #16 Vanderbilt (4-3), #6 Georgia (4-2), #11 Baylor (5-1), #8 Duke (4-3), #5 North Carolina (6-1), #2 Georgia Tech (5-2), and #1 Northwestern (4-3). The Irish schedule featured seven of the teams currently ranked in the top 13 in the country. These seven teams have handed the Irish all but one of their losses. (The other at current #23 Michigan).
ND SEES SCHOOL RECORD 35-MATCH WINNING STREAK HALTED: Notre Dame had won 35 consecutive matches at home – 11 against top-25 opponents – since falling 4-3 to #13 Texas in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 26, 2005. The streak was snapped when Notre Dame fell to #2 Georgia Tech 5-2 on March 1.
LONGEST IRISH HOME WINNING STREAKS: See below a list of the longest home winning streaks in the 30-year varsity history of Notre Dame women’s tennis.
#, Dates Loss Ending It35, Feb. 27, 2005 - Feb. 17, 2008 3/1/08 vs. #2 Georgia Tech, 5-225, Sept. 12, 1979 - Sept. 22, 1982 9/25/82 vs. Purdue, 7-024, April 9, 1988 - Feb. 24, 1991 2/24/91 vs. LSU, 6-214, Feb. 19, 1993 - Feb. 8, 1994 2/11/94 vs. #15 Kansas, 8-114, Sept. 7, 1985 - April 6, 1986 9/12/86 vs. Illinois, 5-3
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, check www.und.com. The official athletic website provides schedule and results information for varsity sports along with game recaps and weekly releases. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Ryan Kiefer at Kiefer.email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.