April 18, 2009
TAMPA, Fla. – The fourth-ranked and top-seeded Irish women’s tennis team shut out Rutgers, 4-0, Saturday, advancing to the BIG EAST Tournament final match for the 14th consecutive year.
The Irish have advanced to every final since joining the league in 1996 and will face second-seed DePaul Sunday morning for the title. The Irish will try for the ninth BIG EAST title in 14 years.
Notre Dame topped its win total from a year ago, improving to 23-4 on the season.
Notre Dame snapped the Scarlet Knights’ eight-match win streak and improved to 6-0 all-time against Rutgers. The Irish are 23-0, including 22 shutouts, in early-round (first round through semifinals) BIG EAST tournament matches.
The Irish were on the attack early, sweeping the doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead.
Second-ranked Kristy Frilling and Kelcy Tefft topped Polina Zaretser and Amy Zhang, 8-2, while No. 79 Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik downed Katherine Arlak and Leorna Slatnick, 8-2, to clinch the point for the Irish.
No. 35 Tefft defeated Zhang, 6-0, 6-0, at first singles to put Notre Dame up 2-0. The senior from Enid, Okla., improved to 16-8 in dual matches this season.
No. 37 Frilling handled Arlak, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 2 singles, stretching her current singles win streak to five.
Krisik clinched the win for the Irish with a 6-2, 6-0, victory over Slatnick at fifth singles. The Arkansas City, Kan., native is currently on a 10-match win streak.
Ciobanu won her first set at No. 3 singles 6-2, but was battling Holzberg, 3-4, when the match was called. Mathews topped Maryana Milchutskey, 6-0, in the first set at fourth singles with the second set deadlocked at 5-5. Kristen Rafael lead Caitlin Baker, 6-1, 5-2, at No. 6 singles before the match could be completed.
Sunday’s match will be the second meeting this season between Notre Dame and DePaul. The Irish defeated the Blue Demons, 5-2, when they met in Chicago on April 2.
Notre Dame is 12-0 all-time against DePaul, including two wins in the BIG EAST Tournament. The Irish shut out the Blue Demons in the BIG EAST semifinals in 2006 and 2008.
Complete results will be available at www.und.com following Sunday’s match.