May 6, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fifth-ranked and fifth-seeded Irish women’s tennis team is set to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship this weekend at the Courtney Tennis Center.
First-round play gets underway Friday with No. 17 Michigan taking on No. 58 Sacramento State at 10:00 a.m. (ET), before No. 5 Notre Dame faces off with Illinois Chicago at 1:00 p.m. The first-round winners will then meet on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for the right to advance to the round of 16 in College Station, Texas.
The Irish (24-4) earned the BIG EAST Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, after claiming their second straight conference crown. Notre Dame will make its 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Irish have made 16 NCAA appearances since their first trip in 1993, reaching the round of 16 on seven occasions and the 1996, 2006 and `07 quarterfinals. Notre Dame reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
UIC (15-7) will make its 10th consecutive NCAA appearance after winning its 13th straight Horizon League crown. Michigan (17-6) was the Big Ten runner-up this season and will compete in the NCAA Championship for the eighth time in as many years. Sacramento State (19-8) earned the Big Sky’s automatic berth after clinching their eighth straight league title.
Notre Dame is 8-0 all-time against the Flames. The two teams last met in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Championship with the Irish taking a 4-0 win. Notre Dame holds a 19-9 advantage over Michigan, including a 4-3 win over the Wolverines this season at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish have never faced Sacramento State.
The NCAA Championship features a field of 64 teams, consisting of 31 automatic-qualifying conference champions and 33 at-large selections. The first and second rounds will take place May 8-10 at 16 campus sites, with the final four rounds hosted by Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
Tickets for this weekend’s early-round action are $5 for adults and $3 for youth and senior citizens. The first 150 Notre Dame students with valid ID will receive free admission.
2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship
Notre Dame, Ind. â€¢ Courtney Tennis Center
First Round – Friday, May 8
#5 Notre Dame (24-4) vs. UIC (15-7), 1:00 p.m.
#17 Michigan (17-6) vs. #58 Sacramento State (19-8), 10:00 a.m.
Second Round – Saturday, May 9
Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner, 1:00 p.m.
Live stats available at www.und.com
The NCAAs at Notre Dame:
The Courtney Tennis Center will play host to NCAA women’s tournament action for the third time in four years, after being the national site in 1998 and an early-round venue in 1997, `99, 2000, `01, `06 and `07. Notre Dame holds a 10-2 home record in NCAA play, including an 8-0 mark since 2000.
Irish in the NCAA Championship:
The Irish earned a No. 1 seed in the South Bend regional and a No. 5 seed overall. A year ago, the Irish traveled to Coral Gables, Fla., where they defeated Florida International, 4-1, in the opening round, before falling to Miami, 4-0, in round two. In 2006 and 2007, the Irish hosted early-round action and advanced to the quarterfinals, their best showing at the NCAA tournament.
This is the 10th year in which the NCAA Team Championship will consist of a 64-team field (31 conference champions plus 33 at-large entries). The first two rounds of the team championship will be held at 16 campus sites this weekend. The 16 remaining teams will advance to the national site, the Texas A&M Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, for the final four rounds of the tournament May 15-19.
Notre Dame has qualified for the team portion of the NCAA Championships for the 14th consecutive year and the 16th time in the last 17 seasons, all under the guidance of current head coach Jay Louderback. The best finish for the Irish came in 1996, 2006 and `07 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.) in 2006. The Irish fell to eventual national champion Georgia Tech, 4-2, in the `07 quarterfinals. 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), `06 (No. 2), `07 (No. 6).
The Irish will open NCAA tournament play at home for the third time in four years and seventh time overall. The Irish are 10-2 at home in NCAA action. Notre Dame is 21-15 all-time in the NCAA Championship and has won at least one match in all but one of its previous appearances in the national tournament.
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 15th time in 17 years, the Irish will have entrants in both the singles and doubles events this season. Senior Kelcy Tefft earned her second invitation to the 64-player NCAA Singles Championship, while freshman Kristy Frilling will make her first appearance. Tefft and Frilling will compete together in the doubles tournament, as well. The singles and doubles events will be held May 20-25 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.
Irish Head Coach:
Jay Louderback is in his 20th season at Notre Dame with a 383-165 (.699) record and his 30th year as a collegiate coach with a 587-343 (.631) mark. He ranks second, behind only Indiana’s Lin Loring, among active NCAA Division I women’s coaches in career victories and became just the 10th collegeiate 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 16 seasons and have won eight BIG EAST titles since joining the conference in 1995-96. 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 No. 2 (a total of 17 different times over the last four years).
After taking over a program looking for its first NCAA tournament appearance, Louderback has helped Notre Dame to the NCAAs 16 times in the last 17 years (which only 10 other schools have done), including seven appearances in the round of 16 and three quarterfinal finishes (1996, 2006, and `07). Louderback, a four-time Midwest Region Coach of the Year, has been honored as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year seven times in 14 seasons. In his time at Notre Dame, Louderback’s players have earned All-America honors 22 times, won four national ITA awards and earned 25 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 17 to the NCAA doubles tournament. In the fall of 2005, he delivered the first individual title at an ITA grand slam event, when juniors Catrina Thompson and Christian Thompson won the doubles crown at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. The feat was repeated in 2007 as Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft won the doubles title at the ITA National Indoor Championships.
His players have dominated the University awards, leading all sports in both Byron V. Kanaley awards (nine) and Francis Patrick O’Connor awards (seven). His family was honored with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Tennis Family of the Year Award in 2002 and, in 2006, Louderback was inducated 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.
Tefft, Frilling Selected to NCAA Individual Tennis Championships:
Senior Kelcy Tefft and freshman Kristy Frilling have been selected to compete at the 2009 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Both Irish student-athletes will compete in the singles competition and will team up as the No. 2 seed doubles team, as well. This marks the 14th time in 17 years that Notre Dame has had at least one player selected to both the singles and doubles championships. Tefft and Frilling are the fifth and sixth Irish players to accomplish the feat joining Wendy Crabtree, Jennifer Hall, Michelle Dasso and Catrina Thompson.
Tefft competed in both the singles and doubles competitions a year ago, advancing to the second round of the singles championship and the semifinals of the doubles event with former partner Brook Buck. Tefft and Buck lost in the first round of the doubles championships in 2007.
Tefft and Frilling went 34-3 overall this season and 21-2 in dual matches at No. 1 doubles for the Irish. They won the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles crown and were runners-up at the ITA National Indoor Doubles Championship. The duo opened the 2009 season ranked No. 1 nationally after going 13-1 in fall tournaments. The pair have stayed in the top three all season and are currently ranked No. 2. Tefft and Frilling enter the doubles championship as the No. 2 seed behind Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State. Tefft and Frilling are just five wins shy of the Irish single-season record of 39 doubles wins set by Tefft and Buck a year ago.
Tefft, currently ranked 29th in singles, was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year, after recording a 3-0 mark at the BIG EAST Tournament and leading the Irish to their second consecutive league title. She notched a 27-13 overall record and a 17-8 mark in dual matches. One of the top women’s tennis players in program history, the Enid, Okla., native has rewritten the Irish record books during her career. This season, she became the first Irish women’s tennis player to earn all-BIG EAST honors for four straight years. Tefft makes up half of the most successful senior class in Irish women’s tennis history. During her career, Notre Dame has recorded a 101-19 overall record and three straight top-20 finishes. The Irish have won three BIG EAST Championships and will make their fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament this season. An All-American in 2008, Tefft is ranked first all-time in the Irish record books with 152 doubles wins, 97 doubles dual-match wins, and 260 combined wins. Her 108 singles victories place her fourth all-time among the Irish greats.
Frilling has had one of the most successful freshman seasons in program history. The BIG EAST Freshman of the Year went 26-9 overall this season, including an 18-8 mark in dual matches at first and second singles. The Sidney, Ohio native opened her collegiate career by taking the singles and doubles titles at the Fall Gator Classic. She is currently ranked 38th in singles nationally.
Irish See 14 Opponents Earn NCAA Bids:
An impressive 14 of Notre Dame’s 26 opponents from the 2009 season earned bids to the NCAA Championships: Northwestern (No. 1 seed), Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Pepperdine, Georgia Tech (No. 9 seed), Baylor (No. 4 seed), Texas A&M, Michigan, North Carolina, Arkansas (No. 14 seed), Duke (No. 3 seed), Wake Forest and Tennessee (No. 10 seed). The Irish went 12-4 against that group (0-2 against Northwestern and 1-1 against Baylor).
Class of the Conference:
Notre Dame has an incredible record of success in conference action, holding a 73-6 (.924) all-time record against conference foes, including a 32-5 (.865) mark 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 the 2007 title match. Notre Dame has a 52-3 (.947) 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 in `06. 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 26 years of league membership, Notre Dame has been conference champs 21 times (and runner-up the other five years) and won 27 consecutive matches against league foes from 1983-98.
Team at the Top:
On Jan. 6, Kelcy Tefft and Kristy Frilling became just the third Notre Dame doubles team ever to earn a No. 1 national ranking. Tefft became the first Irish player to ever hold the No. 1 spot as a member of two different teams. Catrina Thompson and Christian Thompson were the first duo to claim the top position, compiling a 5-2 record as the No. 1 team in 2006. Tefft joined Brook Buck to earn the No. 1 ranking in 2008, with the Irish duo recording a 13-1 mark as the top team.
Tefft and Frilling opened the 2009 season ranked No. 1 and won six of seven matches, with their only loss coming against Baylor’s third-ranked Lenka Broosova and Csilla Borsanyi. The Irish duo have compiled a 34-3 overall record and a 21-2 mark in dual matches. Tefft and Frilling won the 2008 ITA Midwest Regional Doubles crown and were runners-up at the ITA National Indoor Doubles Championship. The pair are 8-2 against nationally-ranked opponents and have stayed in the top three all season, with a current No. 2 ranking. Tefft and Frilling enter the doubles championship as the No. 2 seed behind Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State. Tefft and Frilling are just five wins shy of the Irish single-season record of 39 doubles wins set by Tefft and Buck a year ago.
The tradition of solid doubles play has continued this season for Notre Dame as the Irish have captured the doubles point in 23 of their 28 matches in 2009. Their only doubles defeats came at the hands of Northwestern (twice), Baylor, Duke and Stanford, with the Irish using superb singles play to notch comeback wins over Duke and Stanford. On the season, the Irish have a combined record of 63-18 (.778) in spring doubles dual matches. The Irish are also a remarkable 24-3 (.889) at the No. 1 position, with Kelcy Tefft and Kristy Frilling holding a 21-2 (.913) mark at the top spot. Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik have held the No. 2 doubles position for most of the season, compiling a 15-6 (.714) record. The Irish have also had a solid anchor at the No. 3 spot, as Shannon Mathews and Colleen Rielley recorded an 18-8 (.692) mark at that position.
We’re Going Streaking:
The following streaks are currently active for the Notre Dame women’s tennis team … The Irish have won their last six matches and 10 of their last 13 … Notre Dame has won the doubles points in their last six matches … Kali Krisik has won 11 straight singles matches and 14 of her last 16 … Notre Dame has earned a victory at the No. 1 doubles position in 14 of its last 15 matches … Shannon Mathews has won seven singles matches in a row and eight of her last 10 … Kelcy Tefft and Kristy Frilling have won seven consecutive doubles matches, as well as 13 of their last 14, all at No. 1 doubles.
Notre Dame Faces 12 Top-25 Teams:
Notre Dame’s schedule has seen the Irish take on 12 squads ranked in the national top 25 at the time of the match. The Irish have wins against No. 3 Duke, (5-2) No. 4 Baylor (4-3), No. 5 Stanford (4-3), No. 12 North Carolina (5-2), No. 12 Tennessee (5-2), No. 14 Arkansas (4-1), No. 18 Michigan (4-3) and No. 23 Wake Forest (6-1). Notre Dame fell to No. 1 Northwestern (4-3 twice), No. 4 Baylor (4-3) and No. 7 Georgia Tech (4-3). The Irish schedule featured three teams currently ranked in the top five (Northwestern, Duke, Baylor) in the country and seven of the top 14.
Women’s Tennis Recognized at 2009 O.S.C.A.R.S.:
The Irish women’s tennis squad and its members made multiple appearances at the 2009 O.S.C.A.R.S (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements and Recognition Showcase), hosted by the Notre Dame Athletics Department, honoring its 26 varsity sports and more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2008-09 academic 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 Kelcy Tefft was one of seven Irish student-athletes honored with the Byron V. Kanaley Award.
The Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, has been given annually 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.
This marked the ninth time a member of the women’s tennis team earned the Kanaley Award, the most of any team on campus. Tefft also received the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP Award for women’s tennis.
Along with her athletic accomplishments, Tefft is a member of Notre Dame’s Academic Honors Program and volunteers with the South Bend Reads Program, the Early Childhood Development Center, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Fight for Life and at Notre Dame tennis clinics.
The women’s tennis squad was honored as the Irish team with the highest grade-point average for the 2008 spring and fall semesters. The team had a cumulative 3.541 GPA in the spring semester, followed by a 3.512 grade-point average in the fall.
Keeping Up With Notre Dame Tennis:
For the latest Irish women’s tennis news, results and statistics, visit www.und.com. The official athletic web site provides schedule and results information for varsity sports, along with game recaps and weekly releases. Fans can now follow Irish sports, including women’s tennis, on Twitter. Notre Dame fans can easily sign up at www.twitter.com/signup or by going directly to the Fighting Irish UND.com Twitter page at www.twitter.com/UND_com. In addition, media members and fans can sign up for Irish text alerts at www.und.com and may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Stephanie Fischer at email@example.com.