May 20, 2007

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ATHENS, Ga. – The No. 6 seed Notre Dame women’s tennis team was unable to overcome its second consecutive disappointing doubles performance as No. 3 seed Georgia Tech held off the Irish, 4-2, in 2007 NCAA Tournament quarterfinal action from Henry Feild Stadium. Notre Dame closes its season with a school record 28 victories (28-4), while the Yellow Jackets advance into the semifinals and improve to 27-4.

Despite the poor start, the Irish appeared in good shape at the early point of singles action. Freshman #69 Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, CA) captured the first set at No. 5 and junior Brook Buck (Yukon, OK) No. 6, as well as senior #30 Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, NV) and twin-sister #124 Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, NV) held leads of 4-3 (up a service break) and 5-3 (up a service break) at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, but #6 Kristi Miller and #93 Alison Silverio of Georgia Tech rallied to take both sets.

#94 Amanda McDowell took her opening set from sophomore Kelcy Tefft (Enid, OK), 6-3, at No. 4 singles, but Tefft rebounded with a 6-4 victory in the second set to set up a third and deciding set. With the Irish on the brink of elimination, McDowell regained control and took the third set, 6-1, to clinch the victory for Georgia Tech, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. Tefft finishes the season with a 26-9 mark overall and 21-6 in dual action.

Notre Dame quickly evened the match, 1-1, following Ciobanu’s dissection of #62 Christy Striplin at No. 5. Ciobanu improved to 36-5 overall and 26-1 in dual matches with a 6-0, 6-1 straight-set victory. Already the single-season school record holder in singles (26) and combined (49) dual match victories, Ciobanu moved into a tie with Becky Varnum (1999) for fourth place with her 36th win of the year.

Georgia Tech re-gained the lead, 2-1, when #71 Amanda Craddock knocked off freshman Colleen Rielley (Overland Park, KS) in straight-sets at No. 3, 6-4, 6-1. Rielley and Craddock were on serve at 4-4 in the first set, while Rielley was broken to fall behind 5-4. Craddock then held serve to take the opening set, 6-4, and Rielley never recovered. Craddock cruised in the second set, 6-1. Rielley ends her rookie campaign with a record of 30-11 overall, 19-8 in dual matches and lost only her second match all year at No. 3 (16-2).

The Yellow Jackets pushed their advantage to 3-1 at No. 2 singles. #124 Christian Thompson actually held a 5-3 lead in the opening set and served for the set leading 5-4, but Silverio rallied for a 7-5 victory. Thompson quickly fell behind 5-1 in the second set and fought off a match point to draw within 5-2 before holding serve to make it 5-3, but Silverio held serve to secure a 6-3 victory. Thompson closes her senior season at 19-15 overall and 16-11 in dual action. She ends her singles career with a record of 79-50 and 54-36.

Buck brought the Irish within a point, 3-2, following her dramatic straight-set victory over #108 Tarryn Rudman, 7-6 (0), 6-2. In one of the strangest sets, Buck trailed in the opening set, 6-5, before the two played what has to be one of the longest points in college tennis history. After going into a deuce, advantage format, Buck and Rudman exchanged a total of 38 points, lasting 41 minutes, before Buck managed to hold serve sending the set into a tie-breaker. Buck cruised through the tie-breaker, 7-0, and had little trouble in the second set, 6-2. Buck closes her 2007 season with an overall record of 17-5 and 14-1 in dual action.

#30 Catrina Thompson and #6 Miller were in an absolute battle at No. 1 singles when the match was abandoned. After Miller rallied to take the opening set, 6-4, Thompson captured the second set, 6-4, setting up a third and final set. Catrina Thompson and Miller went toe-to-toe at No. 1 singles in the previous matchup this season (Thompson won, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1). The match was on serve and all square, 4-4, in the third set and was unfinished. Thompson will look to capture her 100th career singles victory later this week in the NCAA Singles Championship.

For the second consecutive match in the NCAA Championships, the Irish were unable to come away with the all-important doubles point. Notre Dame, which dropped the point in its round of 16 victory over #11 North Carolina, had only dropped the doubles five times in their 59 matches over the last two seasons.

Georgia Tech, which captured the doubles point in its 4-2 victory over Notre Dame in the ITA National Team Indoor final earlier this season, took command early in both matches at No. 1 and No. 2. But, the Irish were equally dominant at No. 3.

Notre Dame’s 22nd-ranked duo of Tefft and Buck dug themselves an insurmountable hole at No. 2 against #26 Rudman and Silverio. After the Irish held serve for a 1-0 lead, Rudman and Silverio ripped off seven consecutive points to grab a 7-1 lead. Buck and Tefft did earn a service break to cut the deficit to 7-3, but Georgia Tech broke back to close the match, 8-3. Buck and Tefft drop to 25-7 overall and 17-4 in dual action following their second straight defeat.

The Irish evened the doubles matches, at one match apiece after freshman Cosmina Ciobanu and freshman Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, KS) cruised past Craddock and Kirsten Flower at No. 3 doubles, 8-2. Ciobanu and Krisik end th year at 23-6 overall and 17-5 in duals.

Whitney McCray and Miller, ranked third in the ITA poll, raced out to a 6-1 lead over the 12th-ranked tandem of Christian Thompson and Christian Thompson. The Thompson twins did manage to gain a service break back and narrow the deficit to 6-4, but McCray and Miller held serve before breaking to close out the match, 8-4. The Thompsons drop to 28-9 overall and 20-6 in dual action.

The Thompsons, as well as Buck and Tefft will each continue on in the NCAA Doubles Championship, while Catrina Thompson will participate in the NCAA Singles Tournament.

Singles1. #6 Kristi Miller (GT) vs. #30 Catrina Thompson (ND) 6-4, 4-6, 4-4, unfinished2. #93 Alison Silverio (GT) def. #124 Christian Thompson (ND) 7-5, 6-33. #71 Amanda Craddock (GT) def. Colleen Rielley (ND) 6-4, 6-14. #94 Amanda McDowell (GT) def. Kelcy Tefft (ND) 6-3, 4-6, 6-15. #69 Cosmina Coibanu (ND) def. #62 Christy Striplin (GT) 6-0, 6-16. Brook Buck (ND) def. #108 Tarryn Rudman (GT) 7-6 (7-0), 6-2
Doubles1. #3 Miller/Whitney McCray (GT) def. #12 Thompson/Thompson (ND) 8-42. #26 Craddock/Silverio (GT) def. #22 Buck/Tefft (ND) 8-33. Coibanu/Kali Krisik (ND) def. Kirsten Flower/Tarryn (GT) 8-2
Match NotesNotre Dame 28-4; National ranking #7Georgia Tech 27-4; National ranking #3Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,3,2,6,4)

— ND —