March 30, 2008
The Notre Dame women’s tennis team appeared to be rattled early by the 25th ranked Indiana Hoosiers after falling behind by a break in all three doubles matches. The Irish rallied, however to earn the doubles point and turned in a dominating performance in singles to earn their sixth win in a row, 6-1 over Indiana.
The nation’s top-ranked doubles team of Kelcy Tefft and Brook Buck rebounded from a loss Monday against SMU and bested Brianna Williams and Katya Zapadalova by an 8-4 count. The Irish pair dropped three of the first four games against Indiana before winning six consecutive games to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 7-3 advantage. Tefft and Buck held on for the 8-4 win which pushed their season mark to 27-5. The pair is also 4-1 this season following a loss.
Notre Dame’s other nationally ranked doubles team of Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu clinched the doubles point for Notre Dame with a tough win over Alba Berdala and Lindsey Stuckey 8-6. The Notre Dame sophomores vaulted to a 5-2 advantage before dropping three straight games to fall into a 5-5 tie. At 6-6, Ciobanu earned a hold in a long game that featured numerous rallies. Leading 7-6, the Irish surrendered only one point to the Hoosiers the next game, earning the break to win the contest. Rielley and Ciobanu have won six matches in a row and are now 13-1 on the season and own the best winning percentage on the team.
Katie Potts stepped in for the injured Kristin Rafael the No. 3 position, but she and Kali Krisik could not overcome Sigrid Fischer and Myriam Sopel and fell 8-7. The Irish pair fell behind 6-3 before rallying to knot the match at 6-6. Two holds of serve sent the match to a tiebreaker at 7-7 because the doubles point had already been decided. Krisik and Potts fell behind 5-2 in the tiebreaker before running off three points to tie it at 5-5. Two Hoosier points secured the win for the visitors and sent Krisik and Potts to their second loss in three matches as a doubles team.
After a shaky start in doubles, the Irish left no doubt in singles, winning five of six contests including four in straight sets.
Ciobanu put on one of her most dominant performances of the year at No. 3, winning 6-1, 6-1 over Fischer in the first singles match completed. The Irish sophomore improved to 19-15 overall and 8-11 in dual contests.
The Hoosiers cut the Irish lead to 2-1 after a win from Stuckey over Rielley at No. 4. The Indiana sophomore won the first set by a single break and asserted herself early in the second set to earn the 6-4, 6-2 win. Rielley fell to 9-9 this spring.
Buck put the Irish on the verge of victory with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Charlotte Martin at No. 2. Buck extended her personal winning streak to six matches and ran her record to 12-14 on the year. Tefft was just as impressive at No. 1 as she clinched the win for Notre Dame with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Berdala. The Irish junior battled through a tough first set but asserted herself and won the match’s final seven games. Tefft has won sixteen of twenty dual matches this year with nine of those victories coming at the No.1 position.
Krisik improved her team-best singles record to 26-5 with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Williams. Each set was decided by a single break. Krisik’s win was her eighth in her last ten contests while Williams fell for just the second time in dual play this season.
Potts closed out the match at No.6 with a 6-4, 0-6, 1-0 (10-4) win over Sopel. After winning a closely contested first set, the Irish junior lost momentum and dropped six games in a row to lose the second set. She regained herself, however to take an early lead she would not relinquish in the match tiebreaker. The win improved Potts’ record to 8-7 this spring and 15-8 overall.
Notre Dame will look to extend its winning streak when it takes to the court in West Lafayette Wednesday afternoon for a match against Purdue. The Irish will then face Iowa in another road contest Friday evening before hosting Syracuse Sunday afternoon. The Irish will look to improve upon a 4-1 mark against the Big Ten this season.