Kristen Rafael's 6-1, 7-5 victory over Blair Seideman clinched the win for the Irish over Yale and advanced the team into the championship match against Arkansas on Sunday.

No. 4 Irish Cruise Past No. 47 Yale, 7-0

Jan. 29, 2011

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fourth-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team advanced to the championship match of the ITA National Team Indoor qualifying tournament, defeating 47th-ranked Yale 7-0 Saturday at the Eck Tennis Center.

The Irish got off to a quick start, capturing the doubles point for a 1-0 advantage. Kristen Rafael (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Julie Sabacinski (Plantation, Fla.) were first to finish at No. 3 doubles. The duo made quick work of the Bulldog team of Elizabeth Epstein and Kim Szokol, 8-1.

The junior pairing of Kristy Frilling (Sidney, Ohio) and Shannon Mathews (Birmingham, Mich.) clinched the point for the Irish at No. 1 doubles, taking down Vicky Brook and Lindsay Clark of Yale, 8-5. The two teams tussled to a 4-4 tie midway through the set, before Frilling and Mathews captured four of the next five games.

With the point in hand and the final doubles match between Notre Dame’s team of Chrissie McGaffigan (Davenport, Iowa) and Jennifer Kellner (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Yale’s team of Stephanie Kent and Annie Sullivan squared at seven apiece, the team’s played a tiebreaker to determine the winner. Kent and Sullivan outlasted McGaffigan and Kellner to claim the match, 8-7 (7-5).

In singles, Frilling got the Irish out to a 2-0 lead after posting a straight-sets victory over Brook at No. 1 singles. With Frilling up 2-1 early in the first set, the ninth-ranked junior reeled off four consecutive games to close out the first set and didn’t look back, taking the second with ease for a 6-1, 6-2 decision.

McGaffigan finished next for the Irish, closing out Sullivan at No. 4 singles in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. The sophomore recovered after a tough loss at Illinois to earn the victory over the Yale freshman and secure her first victory of the 2010-11 dual season.

With the match standing at 3-0, Rafael earned the match clincher at No. 3 singles with a victory over Blair Seiderman, 6-1, 7-5. The senior overpowered the Bulldogs freshman, earning her second consecutive straight-sets victory to begin the dual campaign.

After sweeping through the first set 6-0, Mathews finished next for Notre Dame, closing out Epstein in straight sets after holding on for the second set 7-6 (10-8).

With the score standing at 5-0, Kellner and Sabacinski closed out the Irish sweep with wins over Stevi Petrelli (1-6, 6-2, 1-0 [10-6]) and Szokol (7-6 [7-3], 6-3), respectively.

The Irish now face 23rd-ranked Arkansas in the title match of the qualifying bracket on Sunday, after the Razorbacks advanced over 41st-ranked Utah in the morning session, 4-2. The match is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (ET) and will be preceeded by the consolation match between Utah and Yale at 9 a.m.

Be sure to check in to the tournament central page for live stats updates for both of the matches as well as a live blog of the championship match. A full recap of the championship match will be posted following play as well.

Yale vs. Notre Dame#4 Notre Dame 7, #47 Yale 0Jan. 29, 2011 at Notre Dame, Ind.
Singles competition1. #9 Kristy Frilling (ND) def. Vicky Brook (YALE) 6-1, 6-22. #104 Shannon Mathews (ND) def. #65 Elizabeth Epstein (YALE) 6-0, 7-6 (10-8)3. #79 Kristen Rafael (ND) def. Blair Seideman (YALE) 6-1, 7-54. #78 Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) def. Annie Sullivan (YALE) 6-2, 6-25. #106 Jennifer Kellner (ND) def. Stevi Petrelli (YALE) 1-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-6)6. Julie Sabacinski (ND) def. Kim Szokol (YALE) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
Doubles competition1. Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (ND) def. Vicky Brook/Lindsay Clark (YALE) 8-52. Stephanie Kent/Annie Sullivan (YALE) def. Jennifer Kellner/Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) 8-7 (7-5)3. Kristen Rafael/Julie Sabacinski (ND) def. Elizabeth Epstein/Kim Szokol (YALE) 8-1
Match Notes:Yale 3-1; National ranking #47Notre Dame 2-0; National ranking #4Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,4,3,2,5,6)