No. 1 singles player Kelcy Tefft will look to lead Notre Dame to their third straight NCAA quarterfinal appearance.

Irish Off To Coral Gables To Open NCAA Play

May 8, 2008

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2008 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis ChampionshipCoral Gables, Fla. • Neil Schiff Tennis Center
First Round - Friday, May 9[No. 17-32 seed] #22 Notre Dame (21-8) vs. #45 Florida International (13-9), 2:00 p.m. (ET)Live Scoring:
#12 Miami (15-5) vs. Quinnipiac (9-10), 11:00 a.m. (ET)Live Scoring:
Second Round - Saturday, May 10First Round Winners, 11:00 a.m. (ET)Live Scoring: (if ND wins Friday)

#22 IRISH OFF TO CORAL GABLES FOR NCAA FIRST & SECOND ROUNDS: The 22nd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (21-8) will travel to the University of Miami for early round play in the NCAA Division I Championship this weekend at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. Action will begin Friday at 11:00 a.m. (ET) with the host and 12th-seeded Hurricanes facing Northeast Conference champion Quinnipiac (9-10) in one first round matchup, with the Irish taking on #45 Florida International (13-9) at 2 p.m. (ET) in the other opening round contest. The winners will play on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. (ET).

NOTRE DAME IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame earned a No. 2 seed in the Coral Gables regional, failing to secure one of the top 16 national seeds for the first time since 2005. The Irish were seeded No.2 in `06 (highest seed in school history) and No. 6 last season. The last two seasons the Irish hosted the early rounds and failed to yield a point in four matches on their way to back-to-back NCAA quarterfinalists. This is the ninth year in which the NCAA Team Championship will consist of a 64-team field (31 conference champions received automatic bids and 33 at-large entries). The first two rounds of the team championship are being contested at 16 campus sites this weekend. The 16 remaining teams will advance to the national site, the University of Tulsa’s Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla, for the final four rounds of the tournament, to be contested May 15-20. Notre Dame has qualified for the team portion of the NCAA Championships for the 13th consecutive year and the 15th time in the last 16 seasons, all under the guidance of current head coach Jay Louderback. The best finish for the Irish came in 1996, 2006 and 2007, when they reached the quarterfinals. Notre Dame lost to Stanford, 5-1, in Tallahassee, Fla., to close the `96 campaign, while the Irish came up short against Miami (Fla.) two years ago. The Irish fell to eventual national champion Georgia Tech 4-2 in last year’s quarters. Notre Dame has advanced to the round of 16 four other times (1993, `94, 2000, and `01). The Irish have earned one of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA Championship seven times overall, having done so previously in 1996 (Nos. 5-8 seed), 1999 (No. 12), 2000 (Nos. 13-16), ’01 (No. 13) and `06 (No. 2) and `07 (No. 6). The Irish will open NCAA tournament play on the road for the fourth time since the tournament changed to its current 64-team format. Notre Dame is 20-14 all-time in NCAA Championship play and has won at least one match in all but one of its previous appearances in the national tournament. Notre Dame is 3-4 all time in NCAA first and second round matches played away from the Courtney Tennis Center, including 0-3 when playing against a team on its home court, falling to Northwestern in Evanston in `04 and `05 and bowing out to Vanderbilt in Nashville in `03. The Irish also had a good deal of success in the NCAA Tournament before moving up to the Division I level. In its final four years as a Division II competitor, Notre Dame tied for sixth in the AIAW national tournament in 1982, then took third in the NCAAs a year later, repeated that finish in 1984, and was the runner-up to Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1985. In addition to its recent team success, Notre Dame has sent at least one player to either the NCAA singles or doubles tournament every year since 1989. For the 14th time in 16 years, the Irish will have entrants in both the singles and doubles events this season. Junior Kelcy Tefft earned her first ever invitation to the 64-player NCAA Singles Championship, while she and doubles partner Brook Buck are in the doubles tournament for the second time in as many years. The singles event begins May 21, while the doubles competition commences the following day, with both concluding May 26. Both take place at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.

IRISH HEAD COACH: Jay Louderback is in his 19th season at Notre Dame with a 358-160 (.691) record and his 29th year as a collegiate coach with a 562-338 (.624) mark. He ranks fourth among active NCAA Division I women’s coaches in career victories and became just the 10th collegiate women’s coach ever to register 500 wins (4-3 win at Texas A&M on March 18, 2006). Louderback’s Irish have finished in the national top 30 in each of the last 15 seasons and have won 14 conference titles. Since the preseason of the 1992-93 season, Louderback’s teams have been in the national top 30 in all but two sets of ITA rankings and reached an all-time high of #2 (a total of 17 different times the last three years). After taking over a program looking for its first NCAA tournament appearance, Louderback has helped Notre Dame to the NCAAs 15 times in the last 16 years (which only 10 other schools have done), including seven appearances in the round of 16 and three quarterfinal finishes (1996, 2006, 2007). Louderback, a four-time Midwest Region coach of the year, has been honored as his conference’s top coach on ten occasions, including seven times in 13 years in the BIG EAST (including this season). In his time at Notre Dame, Louderback’s players have earned All-America honors 19 times, won four national ITA awards, and earned 23 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 16 to the NCAA doubles tournament. In the fall of 2005, he delivered the first individual title in an ITA grand slam event, when junior twins Catrina Thompson and Christian Thompson won the doubles crown in the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. His players have dominated the University awards during Louderback’s tenure, leading all sports in both Byron V. Kanaley awards (eight) and Francis Patrick O’Connor awards (seven). His family was not only honored with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Tennis Family of the Year Award for 2002, but he was recently inducted into the USTA Missouri Valley Tennis Hall of Fame. The Arkansas City, Kan., native, and 1976 graduate of Wichita State arrived at Notre Dame prior to the 1989-90 season after coaching for seven years at his alma mater and three years (men and women) at Iowa State.

Brook Buck SHINES AT O.S.C.A.R.S.: The Notre Dame Athletics Department held the seventh annual O.S.C.A.R.S (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements and Recognition Showcase) last week at the Joyce Center honoring the more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2007-08 school year. The presentation of the three major athletics awards – the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award and the Christopher Zorich Service Award – highlighted the evening’s festivities. Senior Brook Buck was a double winner on the evening as she took home both the Byron V. Kanaley Award and the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award. The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, has been given each year since 1927 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders. Chosen by the University’s Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are named in honor of the 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the baseball team as an undergraduate. Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960. Buck was joined by men’s tennis player Sheeva Parbhu as a winner of the O’Connor Award. Since 1993, the University has presented this award in the name of O’Connor, a former student-athlete who died in 1973 following his freshman year at Notre Dame. Pat was the son of William “Bucky” O’Connor, who played guard for the Notre Dame football team in the 1940’s. The O’Connor Award honors male and female student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspirations to their respective teams. To be considered, student-athletes must possess those qualities attributed to Pat O’Connor: caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience. Buck also captured the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award for women’s tennis at last week’s event. This year marked the eighth time a member of the women’s tennis team earned the Byron V. Kanaley awards award and seventh time they have captured the Francis Patrick O’Connor awards. Both are the most of any team on campus.

BUCK, TEFFT Selected To NCAA Individual Tennis Championships: For the second consecutive year, Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft have earned invitations to the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Doubles Championship. Tefft will also participate in the Singles Championship for the first time in her career. It marks the 13th time in 16 years that a Notre Dame player has earned an invitation to both the singles and doubles championships. The feat has been accomplished by only four players previous to Tefft; Wendy Crabtree, Jennifer Hall, Michelle Dasso, and Catrina Thompson. The individual championships will take place May 21-26 at Tulsa’s Michael D. Case Tennis Center. Buck and Tefft will be looking to improve upon last year’s result when they bowed out to Frederica van Adrich and Ani Mijacika of Clemson in last year’s first round. Regardless of how the pair concludes the season, Buck and Tefft are simply one of the most prolific doubles pairs in Irish tennis history. The duo won the ITA National Indoor Championship this past fall, becoming just the second Notre Dame pair to win a collegiate grand slam championship. (The other title came from Catrina and Christian Thompson in 2005 when they captured the ITA All-American Championships). Buck and Tefft also became the second ever Notre Dame duo to capture the #1 national ranking this past March. The pair held the ranking for six weeks before falling to #3 in the most recent ITA poll. They posted a 13-1 mark as the #1 team with the lone loss coming in a tiebreaker. Buck and Tefft will head into the doubles tournament as the No. 3 overall seed behind the teams of Riza Zalameda and Tracey Lin (UCLA) and Tinesta Rowe and Melanie Gloria (Fresno State), Nos. 1 and 2 respectively. Here are a few more of the pair’s accomplishments:

qThey have posted a 94-19 career record, good for second all-time and just ten wins behind the Thompsons who played together for four years. Buck and Tefft are in their third year as partners.

qThe pair is 65-11 in their career in dual matches, just two wins shy of tying the school record held by the Thompsons.

qIn 2008, Buck and Tefft are 35-5, one win away from tying the Thompsons for the school record for most wins in a season.

qThe 24-3 dual mark is just one win away from tying Lauren Connelly and Kristina Stastny for most dual wins in a season. All wins have come at the No. 1 position, tying the school record for most wins at No. 1

qBrook Buck is the career doubles wins school record holder with 126, Tefft is already tied for fifth with 106, and is just six wins away from moving into second with a whole year of eligibility remaining.

Tefft has backed her doubles play with stellar play on the No. 1 singles court this season. Since moving into the No. 1 place in February, Tefft is 14-5 and 21-5 overall in dual play. She has defeated six ranked foes this season and earned a career-high singles win with a victory over #13 Ellah Nze of Duke. She also earned a career-high singles ranking of #38 in mid-March. The Irish junior is on her way to becoming one of the most decorated all-around players in Notre Dame history. She is a threat to challenge Michelle Dasso’s mark of 249 all time combined wins. With a 185-42 career mark, Tefft stands at ninth in all-time wins with a full season remaining. She also stands at 7th place on the all-time dual match wins list having already piled up 135 dual match wins. She will look to add on to her accolades when she takes part in her first career NCAA singles championship later this month. The eight seeded teams in doubles have already assured themselves of being named ITA All-Americans in doubles, and they will be joined by the tournament’s quarterfinalists, as well as any squad finishing in the national top 10. This will be the first All-American honor for both Buck and Tefft. This will be the 14th time in the last 16 years that Notre Dame has had at least one entry in both the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments. Since 1989 (a span of 20 years), Notre Dame competitors have garnered 23 invitations to the national singles tournament and 16 to the doubles event.

SWINGING IN THE SUNSHINE STATE: This year will mark the third year that Notre Dame will play an NCAA tournament match in the state of Florida, but the first since 1996. The Irish advanced to the quarterfinals that year when the tournament was played in Tallahassee where they fell to #2 Stanford 5-0. The Irish also played the first two rounds of the 1993 tournament in Gainsville defeating Alabama 5-0 in opening round play before falling to the Cardinal 5-0. With the Big East Conference tournament held in the state of Florida every year that the Irish have been members, Notre Dame has played a match in Florida each of the last thirteen years.

ND SEES 17 OPPONENTS EARN NCAA BIDS: An incredible 18 of Notre Dame’s 29 matches from this season were against teams that qualified for the tournament: Northwestern (No. 1 seed), Vanderbilt (No. 11 seed), USF, Texas A&M, Indiana, Duke (No. 9), North Carolina (No. 15 seed), Michigan, Georgia Tech (No. 3 seed), Wake Forest, Louisville, William & Mary, Baylor (No. 5 seed), Ohio State, Illinois, UCLA (No. 7 seed) and Georgia (No. 2). The Irish went 9-9 against that group (beat South Florida twice).

CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE: Notre Dame has an incredible record of success in conference action, holding a 67-6 (.918) all-time record against conference foes, including a 29-5 (.853) record in the BIG EAST tournament. Four defeats came against Miami (Fla.), which was a fellow member of the BIG EAST Conference from 1996-2004, with the other loss coming at the hands of USF in last year’s title match. Notre Dame has a 48-3 (.941) all-time record against current BIG EAST schools, having lost to Marquette in 1989 and South Florida in 1993 in regular season play, long before they joined the league, and suffering the loss to the Bulls last season. Following seven years as an independent, the Irish were members of the North Star Conference from 1983-84 to 1987-88, the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1988-89 to 1994-95, and the BIG EAST since 1995-96. In 25 years of league membership, Notre Dame has been league champs 20 times (and runner-up the other five years) and won 27 consecutive matches against league foes from 1983-98.

ALL-TIME RECORDS AGAINST CURRENT BIG EAST TEAMS: See below Notre Dame’s all-time record against the current members of the conference.

School Record vs.  BIG EAST Tournament LastCincinnati  1-0 0-0 `85 (fall)-W, 6-1Connecticut 1-0 1-0 `07 (BET) W, 4-0DePaul      12-0    2-0 `08 (BET) W, 4-0Georgetown  1-0 1-0 `98 (BET)-W, 4-0Louisville  3-0 0-0 `08-W, 6-1Marquette   11-1    1-0 `08-W, 7-0Pittsburgh  0-0 0-0 --Providence  1-0 1-0 `97 (BET)-W, 4-0Rutgers     5-0 4-0 `08 (BET)-W, 4-0St. John's  2-0 2-0 `05 (BET)-W, 4-0Seton Hall  1-0 1-0 `00 (BET)-W, 5-0South Florida   3-2 2-1 `08 (BET)-W, 4-1Syracuse    5-0 2-0 `08 -W, 6-1Villanova   0-0 0-0 --West Virginia   2-0 1-0 `01-W, 7-0Totals          48-3    18-1

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE NUMBER ONE?: On March 4, Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft became only the second Notre Dame team ever to earn the #1 national ranking. Christian and Catrina Thompson had previously earned the top ranking in 2006 and posted a 5-2 record while being ranked #1. Buck and Tefft posted 13 wins in 14 matches with the top billing, with the only loss coming against Francis and Bubien of SMU in a tiebreaker. Only two of their 13 wins since the beginning of March have come by a score closer than 8-4. The pair has a 35-5 overall record including 25-4 in dual play. Buck and Tefft have also gone 8-4 against nationally-ranked teams including three wins on their way to the ITA National Indoor Championship in November, giving Notre Dame just its second Collegiate Grand Slam title. (The Thompsons won the ITA All-American championships in fall, 2005). The Irish duo has a career mark of 94-19, and has a chance to become just the second ever Notre Dame team to post 100 career wins (the Thompsons were the first).

DOUBLES DOMINANCE: The tradition of solid doubles play has continued this season for Notre Dame as the Irish have captured the doubles point in each of their last 16 matches. In the course of that streak, the Irish took the doubles point from each of the top two teams in the country (#2 Georgia Tech, March 1; #1 Northwestern April 9). Overall, the Irish have captured the doubles point in 23 of 29 matches this spring and have not dropped a doubles point at home this season. The Irish are 20-4 when they win the match’s initial point and 1-4 when they drop it. On the season, the Irish have a combined record of 97-30 (.764) in paired play including 65-19 (.774) in spring duals. The Irish are also a remarkable 26-3 (.897) at the No. 1 position thanks to the stellar play of Buck and Tefft. Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu have emerged as a solid No.2 team for Notre Dame, posting an 20-2 mark since being paired together in February. The .909 winning percentage for the team is the highest in school history (minimum 15 matches) over the course of a single season.

LET’S GO STREAKING: The following streaks are currently active for the Notre Dame women’s tennis team… The Irish have won fourteen of their last fifteen matches and 19 in row against lower ranked squads….Notre Dame has won the doubles point in each of their last 16 matches…Cosmina Ciobanu owns the longest singles winning streak on the team as she has won each of her last nine outings and twelve of her last thirteen… Notre Dame has earned a victory in the No. 1 doubles position in 21 of their last 22 matches…Brook Buck has won seven matches in a row at No. 2 singles and 13 of her last 14… The Irish have been victorious at No. 3 singles in 12 of their last 13 matches… Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu had their streak of ten doubles wins in a row snapped with a loss to DePaul, but the duo has won 13 of thier last 14 contests.

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: In April 9th’s loss to Northwestern, the Irish recorded two career-high singles wins. Cosmina Ciobanu upset 25th-ranked Samantha Murray 6-3, 6-2, and Brook Buck defeated fifth-ranked Georgia Rose in a match tiebreaker. The win for Buck was her best since a victory over #16 Karin Coetzee of Wake Forest in her freshman year (2005). Kelcy Tefft also recorded a career-best singles win against 16th-ranked Ellah Nze of Duke in a 4-3 Irish loss. Tefft came from a set down to win the second set in a tiebreaker and took the match tiebreaker by a 10-7 count. Buck and Tefft also earned a career-high doubles win in the ITA All-American Championships consolation, an 8-6 triumph over Dulgheru and Kosakowski of Clemson, who were ranked eighth at the time.

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS, YET AGAIN: The following players for Notre Dame have earned career-high rankings this season: Brook Buck/Kelcy Tefft (#1, current, previous high 5th); Cosmina Ciobanu/Colleen Rielley (#45, February 19); Kali Krisik (#89, January 15, first ranking); Kelcy Tefft (#38, March 18, previous high 110th).

ND FACES TEN TOP-25 TEAMS: Notre Dame’s schedule has seen the Irish take on ten squads ranked in the national top 25 at the time of the match. The Irish have wins against #13 William & Mary (4-3), #19 Wake Forest (4-3), and #25 Indiana (6-1). They have fallen to #16 Vanderbilt (4-3), #6 Georgia (4-2), #11 Baylor (5-1), #8 Duke (4-3), #5 North Carolina (6-1), #2 Georgia Tech (5-2), and #1 Northwestern (4-3). The Irish schedule featured four of the teams currently ranked in the top 5 in the country, and seven teams ranked in the top 14. These seven teams have handed the Irish all but one of their losses. (The other at current #19 Michigan).

ND SEES SCHOOL RECORD 35-MATCH WINNING STREAK HALTED: Notre Dame had won 35 consecutive matches at home – 11 against top-25 opponents – since falling 4-3 to #13 Texas in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 26, 2005. The streak was snapped when Notre Dame fell to #2 Georgia Tech 5-2 on March 1. Notre Dame’s only other home loss came against #1 Northwestern, a 4-3 defeat.

LONGEST IRISH HOME WINNING STREAKS: See below a list of the longest home winning streaks in the 30-year varsity history of Notre Dame women’s tennis.

#, Dates        Loss Ending It35, Feb. 27, 2005 - Feb. 17, 2008   3/1/08 vs. #2 Ga. Tech, 5-225, Sept. 12, 1979 - Sept. 22, 1982 9/25/82 vs. Purdue, 7-024, April 9, 1988 - Feb. 24, 1991   2/24/91 vs. LSU, 6-214, Feb. 19, 1993 - Feb. 8, 1994    2/11/94 vs. #15 Kansas, 8-114, Sept. 7, 1985 - April 6, 1986   9/12/86 vs. Illinois, 5-3

KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, check The official athletic website provides schedule and results information for varsity sports along with game recaps and weekly releases. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Ryan Kiefer at, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.