April 18, 2008
The 17th-ranked and top-seeded Notre Dame women’s tennis team earned an easy 4-0 win over eighth-seeded Rutgers Friday morning in Big East quarterfinal play in Tampa and earned a berth in Saturday’s semifinals. The Irish lost just three games in singles play and improved their record to 5-0 all time against the Scarlet Knights.
The Irish used a familiar winning formula by earning the doubles point for the fourteenth match in a row and overpowering the competition in singles. The nation’s top ranked duo of Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft earned their second “bagel” in as many matches and fourth of the season with an 8-0 shutout of Katrina Elder-Bush and Katherine Arlak. The duo is now 33-5 on the year. Their next win will match their win total from all of last season, and the team is just three victories short of setting the all-time record for most doubles wins in a season. The pair is 22-3 in dual play this year.
The other two doubles matches did not come as easily for the Irish, but Kali Krisik and Kristen Rafael clinched the point when they closed out Amy Zhang and Caitlin Baker at No. 3 by an 8-5 count. The Notre Dame team improved their record to 9-6 on the year including 4-0 at the No. 3 position. The Irish team of Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu led Polina Zarester and Christine Tran 7-6 when the point was decided.
The Irish backed up a dominant doubles performance with one of the most dominant singles showings in recent memory. For the second straight match Tefft backed up a doubles bagel with a bagel in singles play. The Notre Dame junior earned the 6-0, 6-0 win over Elder-Bush at the top singles position to push her record to 25-9 on the year including a stellar 21-5 in dual play.
Buck backed up her doubles partner’s win with a decisive singles victory of her own, a 6-0, 6-1 triumph over Zhang at No. 2. The senior captain, playing in her first match as a ranked player (#89) since February, continued her late-season resurgence by earning her ninth win in ten matches and fifth in a row. Buck stands at 18-15 on the season and 14-11 this spring.
Rielley turned in one of her most impressive outings of the season, winning 6-0, 6-2 over Baker at No. 4 to seal the Notre Dame win. Rielley has now earned wins in six of her last seven matches and is 6-0 against Big East competition this season. Her record stands at 21-13 on the season, with 15 of those wins coming in dual play.
The Irish had won the first set in each of the other three singles matches at the time the match was clinched. Katie Potts was ahead of Anela Dujsic 6-2, 1-0 at No. 6, while Ciobanu had won the first set 6-4 over Arlak at No. 3 and Krisik was ahead of Tran 6-2, 4-0 at No. 5.
Notre Dame advances to Saturday’s semifinal round where they will take on DePaul. The Blue Demons upset Marquette in the quarterfinals to earn the semifinal berth. The Irish defeated DePaul 7-0 at home last Friday and are 11-0 all-time against the Blue Demons. The other semifinal, features the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, Louisville and USF. Both semifinals are scheduled to begin Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.