May 10, 2008
A day after battling Florida International late into the night, the Notre Dame women’s tennis could not find its legs Saturday morning against Miami, falling 4-0 to the Hurricanes. Host Miami, the No. 12 seed in the tournament, captured the doubles point from the Irish, marking the first time Notre Dame failed to win the initial point of the match since a February 24th loss to North Carolina. The Hurricanes captured wins at Nos. 1, 2, and 4 singles to end Notre Dame’s season and advance to the Round of 16. It was the second time in three seasons that Miami eliminated Notre Dame from the tournament.
The Irish captured the first doubles contest completed at No. 3 as Kali Krisik and Kristen Rafael made short work of Michaela Kissell and Jenna Osborne, winning 8-1. The pair finished the year at 10-6 including 5-0 at the No. 3 position. Rafael picked up her first career NCAA tournament win, while Krisik moved to 4-1 in tournament doubles play.
The other doubles matches went down to the wire with Miami taking both to capture the point. Caren Seenauth and Bianca Eichkorn took the win over Colleen Rielley and Cosmina Ciobanu 9-7 in a match that was close throughout. No team took a lead of more than two games throughout as Miami emerged with a win in a match that was tied at 7-7. Rielley and Ciobanu lost for just the third time all season, and had won 14 of their last 15 contests. The Notre Dame pair closes the season at 21-3, and recorded the best doubles winning percentage in school history over the course of a single season.
After the teams split the first two matches all eyes turned to the No.1 court, a battle between top 20 teams. 20th-ranked Laura Vallverdu and Romy Farah took the first two games and jumped out to a 4-1 lead over the third ranked team of Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft in the final match on the court. The Irish team battled back but could not complete the comeback and fell 8-6. It was just the sixth loss of the season for the Notre Dame team who tied the school record for wins in a season yesterday with 36.
The Hurricanes quickly asserted themselves in singles play winning four of six first sets and winning three matches in straight sets to secure the shutout. It was the first time all season that the Irish failed to score a point in a match.
Eichkorn pushed the Miami lead to 2-0 when she bested Rielley 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4. The Notre Dame sophomore played her second lopsided match in as many days, but was on the wrong side of Saturday’s score. She finishes the season with a 23-14 record.
Veterans Buck and Tefft were both defeated in straight sets by ranked players to provide the final margin. Buck dropped the first set for the second straight day to No. 100 Farah, 6-3, and battled in the second before falling by a single break 6-4. The loss snapped a seven match win streak for Buck who had won 13 of 14 matches at the No. 2 position. She closes the season with a 20-16 singles mark and an impressive 82-43 career mark.
Tefft also dropped the initial set for the second time in the NCAA’s, but could not duplicate the come-from-behind effort of a day earlier, falling 6-2, 6-3 to 19th ranked Vallverdu. It was the first time all year that Buck and Tefft lost their doubles match and went on to each lose a singles match. Tefft fell to 26-9 this season and suffered just her sixth loss of the dual season. Her singles season is not over, however, as she will compete in the NCAA singles championship later this month.
Ciobanu was on the verge of victory at No. 3 in her match against Kissell, as she was ahead 6-2, 5-3, but was unable to close and earn a point for Notre Dame.
Krisik, who closes the season as the team leader in singles wins with 31, captured the first set over Seenauth, 6-4 and was tied 3-3 in the second when the match was halted.
Katie Potts dropped her third set of the weekend as she fell in the initial set of her match with Claudia Wasilewski in a tiebreaker, but was ahead 4-1 in the second when the contest was suspended.
The Irish failed to advance to the national site and the round of 16 for the first time since 2005. Notre Dame will be represented in Tulsa next week, however, as Tefft will compete in the NCAA singles tournament beginning May 21. She will also pair up with Buck to compete in doubles tournament which begins a day later at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.