Oct. 23, 2006

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Notre Dame women’s tennis team pulled off a remarkable feat at the 2006 ITA Midwest Regional Championships on Monday. The Irish doubles team of junior Brook Buck and sophomore Kelcy Tefft captured the doubles draw, while a pair of Notre Dame freshmen, Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu, advanced into the singles draw final.

The performances of Rielley and Ciobanu really stole the show. Ciobanu reached the final with a pair of straight-set victories. She survived an opening set tiebreaker against Sam Murray of Northwestern, 7-6 (2), in the quarterfinals before cruising to a 6-1 rout in the second set. Ciobanu then faced Chisako Sugiyama of Michigan for a berth into the final. She was not fazed one bit by the pressure of the situation and blitzed Sugiyama, 6-3, 6-2. Ciobanu improved to 10-1 on the season.

Rielley took down Mili Veselinovic of Iowa, 6-4, 6-4, for a spot in the semifinals. She was able to evoke a little revenge as Veselinovic eliminated Christian Thompson in the second round. Rielley was then forced to rally after losing the first set to Megan Fudge of Illinois, 7-5. She took the next two sets, 6-4, 6-3, to reach the final. Rielley upped her overall record to 11-1.

Rielley and Ciobanu will meet on Tuesday for the singles main draw title.

Buck and Tefft, the tournament’s top seed, were equally impressive in their victory over No. 2 seed Georgia Rose and Alexis Prousis of Northwestern. The duo was victorious, 8-4. With the victory, Buck and Tefft earned a berth into the main draw of the season’s second grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.

Buck and Tefft are the first Irish doubles team to capture the title since Dasso and Becky Varnum in 2000 (Varnum and Dasso also captured the title in 1999, Wendy Crabtree and Holyn Lord won the event in 1994). Either Ciobanu or Rielley will be the first Notre Dame singles player to capture the title since Dasso in 2000. In fact, only four Irish players have ever captured the award (1991: Melissa Harris, Wendy Crabtree: 1993, Michelle Dasso: 1997, 2000).

Notre Dame’s top doubles team, Catrina and Christian Thompson, already guaranteed a bid to the National Indoors, so they did not compete in the ITA Midwest Championships. The National Indoor Championships is in February and is the third leg of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association grand slam.

ITA Midwest Championships (October 23)
Doubles – Main Draw
[1] Brook Buck/Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Georgia Rose/Alexis Prousis (NW); 8-4

Singles – Main Draw
Cosmina Ciobanu (ND) def. Sam Murray (NW); 7-6 (2), 6-1
Cosmina Ciobanu (ND) def. Chisako Sugiyama (UM); 6-3, 6-2
Colleen Rielley (ND) def. Mili Veselinovic (Iowa); 6-4, 6-4
Colleen Rielley (ND) def. Megan Fudge (Ill.); 5-7, 6-4, 6-3

— ND —