Junior Cosmina Ciobanu

No. 2 Irish Women's Tennis Takes Down No. 23 Texas A&M, 5-2

March 3, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With its 26th consecutive home dual match victory, the No. 2 Notre Dame women’s tennis team broke the school record with a 5-2 win against No. 23 Texas A&M at Notre Dame’s Eck Tennis Pavilion this Friday. The Irish move to 11-1 on the season, and the Aggies fall to 10-2.

Notre Dame’s home dual match winning streak reaches back to Feb. 26, 2005, breaking the previous mark that stretched from Sept. 24, 1979 through Sept. 25, 1982.

In the historic victory, the Irish captured the all-important doubles point from Texas A&M, but it was not without a serious fight from the Aggies. Texas A&M’s No. 1 doubles team of Clifford and Foster appeared on the verge of a major upset of the Thompson twins. Clifford and Foster raced out to a 5-2 lead, but the fifth-ranked Irish duo fought back. The Thompsons drew even at 6-6, took the lead on serve at 7-6 and broke the Aggies tandem to win the match, 8-6.

The twins improve to 16-5 overall and 8-2 in dual matches following their third consecutive victory. For their career, the Thompsons now stand 88-36 overall and 58-22 in dual action.

Notre Dame clinched the doubles point following its victory at No. 3 doubles. Ciobanu and freshman Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, KS) had little trouble with Blagodarova and Michelle Sammons. The Irish freshman tandem cruised past the Aggies’ duo, 8-3. Ciobanu and Krisik, who improved their winning streak to a team-best six matches, now stand 16-3 overall and 10-2 in dual matches.

With the point already decided, 15th-ranked Buck and Tefft were unable to defeat 34th-ranked Lubinsky and Mechem. Trailing 7-5, the Irish duo responded with a game to narrow the deficit to 7-6 and led 40-15 in the next game, but the Aggies team fought off four game-points and eventually won the match, 8-6. Buck and Tefft drop to 17-5 overall and 9-2 in dual matches.

The Irish have now captured the doubles point in 10 of their 12 matches this season and 38 of their last 41 matches overall. They improve to 10-0 when winning the doubles point this season.

In singles action, Notre Dame’s Cosmina Ciobanu made quick work of Texas A&M’s Nicki Nechem 6-1, 6-1 in No. 5 singles to take the second point for the Irish. Ciobanu improves to 22-4 overall and remains undefeated at 12-0 in dual action this spring. However, Texas A&M bounced back soon after when Anna Blagodarova defeated Notre Dame’s Kelcy Tefft 6-4, 6-1 in No. 4 singles. Tefft drops to 12-5 overall and 7-2 in dual matches.

Irish junior Brook Buck also picked up a point to make it 3-1 Notre Dame when she beat Tiffany Clifford in No. 6 singles 6-4, 6-1. Buck moves to 10-5 overall and 7-1 in dual matches.

Notre Dame clinched the record-breaking victory in the No. 3 singles match-up when Colleen Rielley beat Sarah Foster 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. A supportive crowd helped No. 73 Rielley come back to finish an impressive win. Rielley is now 6-6 in dual matches and climbs to 17-9 overall.

In No. 2 singles , Notre Dame’s Christian Thompson overcame Texas A&M’s Elze Potgieter 7-5, 6-2 to improve to 10-8 overall and 7-4 in dual matches. Her sister Catrina retired in the third set to No. 65 Anna Lubinsky (A&M) to end the match 5-2 in favor of the Irish. No. 16 Catrina falls to 14-6 overall and 9-3 in dual action.

With the victory, Notre Dame improves its all-time record against the Aggies to 4-1. The Irish extended their winning streak over Texas A&M to four games – a span that dates back to the 1990 season. Notre Dame improves to 30-15 all-time against current members of the Big 12.

The Irish return to action tomorrow afternoon with another match against a Big 12 foe. Notre Dame hosts No. 19 Texas inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion. First-serve is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The Longhorns lead the all-time series with the Irish, 8-3.

#2 NOTRE DAME 5, #23 TEXAS A&M 2
1. #65 Anna Lubinsky (A&M) def. #16 Catrina Thompson (ND); 6-4, 3-6, 4-1 (Thompson retired in third set)
2. Christian Thompson (ND) def. #36 Elze Potgieter (A&M); 7-5, 6-2
*3. #73 Colleen Rielley (ND) def. Sarah Foster (A&M); 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Anna Blagodarova (A&M) def. Kelcy Tefft (ND); 6-4, 6-1
5. Cosmina Ciobanu (ND) def. Nicki Mechem (A&M); 6-1, 6-1
6. Brook Buck (ND) def. Tiffany Clifford (A&M); 6-4, 6-1
Order of finish: 5, 4, 6, 3, 2, 1
* clinching point

1. #5 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Clifford/Foster (A&M); 8-6
2. #34 Lubinsky/Mechem (A&M) def. #15 Buck/Tefft (ND); 8-6
*3. Ciobanu/Kali Krisik (ND) def. Blagodarova/Michelle Sammons (A&M); 8-3
Order of finish: 3,1,2
* clinching point