March 14, 2008
For the second time in three days, the Notre Dame women’s tennis team won in convincing fashion at home. The Irish (10-7) had little trouble with the visitors from Western Michigan as Notre Dame earned the 7-0 victory.
The Irish steamrolled through singles play, winning four first sets by 6-0 scores. Colleen Rielley posted the first singles win for Notre Dame, a 6-0, 6-0 “bagel” over Emily Dudzik. The Irish sophomore rebounded from a tough loss in a match tiebreak against Illinois to win for the 14th time this season. The win evened Rielley’s dual record at 8-8.
Cosmina Ciobanu and Kristin Rafael closed out their matches within minutes of each other to clinch the win for the Irish. Ciobanu won the first seven games of her match against Noriko Saruta and never looked back, winning by a 6-0, 6-2 count. The win was the sophomore’s third in a row and it improved her record to 18-14 on the year. Rafael returned to the singles lineup after playing only doubles against Illinois. The freshman also jumped out to a lead by capturing the first seven games, and won easily 6-0, 6-1 over Yumi Matusoto at No. 6. Rafael won for the third time in four dual singles matches and improved her overall record to 8-4.
Senior Brook Buck made it 5-0 with her third straight win, a 6-0, 6-2 decision over Priyanka Parekh. Buck was able to overpower her opponent and shorten points, allowing her to improve to 10-14 this season.
Kali Krisik continued her solid play at the bottom of the lineup with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Ashley Moccia at No.5. Krisik battled to win the first set and jumped out to a 4-1 advantage in the second. She was unable to hold serve at 5-2 to close the match, but broke the Bronco junior in the match’s final game. Krisik improved her record to 15-2 on the spring, good for the best record on the team. All of her wins have come in straight sets.
Kelcy Tefft and Kerstin Pahl played a grueling match at No. 1 with the Irish junior emerging victorious 6-4, 7-5. Tefft earned her 15th dual win against just three losses. The junior earned the win in the first set after jumping out to an early advantage. The second set was a back and forth affair that was on serve at 4-4 before Pahl earned a break to take a 5-4 lead. The Bronco junior served for the match but was unable to convert. When Tefft held at 5-5, Pahl served to stay in the match, but was again broken by Tefft who won the final three points of the match to secure the straight-set win.
For the ninth time in ten matches, Notre Dame emerged with the doubles point. Katie Potts, playing in just her second dual doubles match of the year, paired with Krisik to defeat the Broncos’ Moccia and Parekh 8-1 at No. 3. The Irish pair, playing in their first match together this season won the match’s first seven games and cruised to the easy win. Krisik pushed her doubles mark to 9-8 on the spring while Potts evened her mark at 1-1.
Western Michigan appeared to gain some momentum in the top two matches before the Notre Dame teams regained control. In the No. 1 match, the nation’s top-ranked team of Buck and Tefft jumped out to a 5-2 lead over Pahl and Noriko Saruta before the Bronco team ran off three straight games to tie the contest at five games apiece. Buck and Tefft rallied, however, earning a key break at 6-5 to fuel a three-game run that propelled them to an 8-5 win. The #1 duo ran their winning streak to eight matches, including three in a row since becoming the earning the #1 ranking. Buck and Tefft are 25-4 on the year.
The final match at No.2 saw Rielley and Ciobanu fall behind 4-3 to Dudzik and Matsuto. The Irish team won a close deuce game and used that momentum to win the match’s final five games for an 8-4 victory that completed the Notre Dame doubles sweep. The Irish sophomores are 11-1 as a team and have now won four straight matches.
Notre Dame will have eight days off before their next dual match, a road contest at Texas A&M next Saturday. The Irish will stay in Texas over the Easter holiday and will play SMU in Dallas a week from Monday. First serve against the Aggies is set for 1:30 p.m CT.