April 25, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the third straight year and 10th time since joining the conference, the Notre Dame women’s tennis team captured the BIG EAST Championship. The top-seeded Irish defeated the third-seeded DePaul Blue Demons, 4-0, to claim the crown. The win guarantees Notre Dame’s 15th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame is now 22-3 on the season and has won seven straight.
Senior captain Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan./Arkansas City) was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after going 3-0 at both No. 5 singles and No. 1 doubles. Krisik earned match-clinching singles victories against West Virginia in the quarterfinals and DePaul in the final match.
Strong doubles play led the charge for the Irish, who captured the match’s initial point for the 22nd time this season. Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa/Bettendorf) and Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas/Nolan Catholic) cruised past Kirsten Gambrell and Gia McKnight, 8-2, at third doubles to improve to 7-0 together and 2-0 during the tournament. The third-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio/Lehman & Abeka) and Krisik battled to an 8-6 victory over No. 19 Anna Redesci and Selma Salkovic at first doubles to clinch the point for the Irish and notch their third win of the weekend. Frilling and Krisik are now a perfect 21-0 at No. 1 doubles this season.
“We pulled through doubles today,” head coach Jay Louderback said. “DePaul played great doubles today, but we were able to come out on top.”
Ciobanu put the Irish up 2-0 when she won her seventh straight match and 22nd this season, a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Zmak at fourth singles. The 16th-ranked Frilling topped No. 79 Redesci, 6-1, 6-2, to improve to 19-5 on the season and give Notre Dame a 3-0 advantage.
Krisik clinched the win for the Irish with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over McKnight at fifth singles. Krisik notched her second match-clinching victory of the tournament and won her seventh straight contest.
Mathews was battling Salkovic, 6-3, 1-5, at No. 2 when the point was clinched. No. 112 McGaffigan and Katarina Milinkovic sat at 6-3, 2-3, at third singles, and Rafael led Gambrell, 6-2, 5-2, at sixth singles when the Irish clinched the title.
“We played great singles,” Louderback said. “It took a lot of pressure off us after we won the first set in each match. I was really proud of the poise we had in singles today.”
The Irish are now 10-5 all-time in BIG EAST Championship finals. Notre Dame is 3-0 against DePaul this season and improved to 2-0 against the Blue Demons in the conference final. The Irish topped DePaul, 4-2, in the 2009 BIG EAST Championship.
Notre Dame will be well-rested for NCAA Tournament action, which gets under May 14-15. Notre Dame is in the running to host the NCAA First and Second Rounds for the second straight year, but will have to wait until early May to find out their early-round location and pairings.
Notre Dame 4, DePaul 0
1. #16 Kristy Frilling (ND) def. #79 Anna Redesci (DU) 6-1, 6-2
2. Shannon Mathews (ND) vs. Selma Salkovic (DU) 6-3, 1-4, unf.
3. #112 Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) vs. Katarina Milinkovic (DU) 6-3, 2-3
4. Cosmina Ciobanu (ND) def. Sandra Zmak (DU) 6-2, 6-1
5. Kali Krisik (ND) def. Gia McKnight (DU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Kristen Rafael (ND) vs. Kirsten Gambrell (DU) 6-2, 5-2, unf.
Order of finish: 4,1,5
1. #3 Frilling/Krisik (ND) def. #19 Redesci/Salkovic (DU) 8-6
2. Ciobanu/Mathews (ND) vs. Milinkovic/Zmak (DU) 8-7, unf.
3. McGaffigan/Rafael (ND) def. Gambrell/McKnight (DU) 8-2
Order of finish: 3,1