March 12, 2008
The Notre Dame women’s tennis team overcame a slow start in doubles to post their ninth dual win of the year, a 6-1 triumph over Illinois, Wednesday inside the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
All three doubles matches were tied at four games all, but the Irish would only relinquish three total games the rest of the way. Notre Dame captured all three matches to earn the doubles point for the eleventh time in sixteen matches this season.
Cosmina Ciobanu and Colleen Rielley were first off the doubles court for Notre Dame (9-7). The sophomores were 8-5 victors over Annie McCarthy and Alejandra Meza Cuadra in a match that featured a number of quick points. The Irish duo jumped out to a 4-1 lead before the Illini ran off three straight games to tie the match. A pair of holds tied the match at five before Notre Dame got the decisive break at 6-5. The Irish held in the match’s final game to earn the win. The victory was the tenth in eleven matches for the pair this spring and the third win in a row.
Kristin Rafael and Kali Krisik clinched the doubles point with an 8-4 win over Shivani Dave’ and Marisa Lambropoulos. The Irish again jumped to a quick lead at 2-0 before the Illini team responded by winning four of the next five games to take their only lead of the match at 4-3. Krisik and Rafael regained control with a crucial break at 4-4, part of a five game run for the Irish duo that sealed the win. The Notre Dame pair ran their record to 6-4 together and extended their winning streak to three matches.
Kelcy Tefft and Brook Buck made it a clean sweep for Notre Dame, as the pair won its second match as the nation’s #1 doubles team. The win did not come easy for the Irish veterans however, as Leigh Finnegan and Megan Fudge of Illinois proved to be up to the challenge. The Illini pair captured the first two games for a quick 2-0 lead before Buck and Tefft asserted themselves by winning the next three games for a 3-2 Irish lead. An Illini break and hold swung the score to 4-3 in favor of the visitors before the Irish pair ran off four straight games to take a 7-4 lead. Fudge and Finnegan held and broke to close the gap the 7-6. Illinois served to tie the match, but a strong return game from Notre Dame led to a break and clinched the 8-6 victory. The win was the eighth in a row for the Irish pair who improved their record to a team-best 24-4 overall and 13-2 in dual play.
The Irish came out hot in singles, winning all six first sets. Katie Potts claimed the first Irish singles point when she downed Kristina Minor 6-4, 6-0 at No 6. Potts, who was making her first appearance in the lineup since a February 24th loss to North Carolina, earned a break late in the first set to take her first lead of the match at 4-3. The Notre Dame junior would only drop one game the rest of the way, taking the match in straight sets. The win evened Potts’ singles record at 7-7 and improved her overall mark to 14-8.
With the Irish up 2-0, Ciobanu put Notre Dame on the verge of victory with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Dave’ at No. 3. The Irish sophomore jumped out to a 4-1 lead and frustrated the Illini junior with a mix of shots. The second set was close early, with Ciobanu jumping out to a 3-2 lead. Ciobanu removed any doubt by winning the match’s final three games to earn the second straight-set win of the day for Notre Dame. Ciobanu earned her sixth dual singles win of the year against ten defeats. Her overall record stands at 17-14.
Tefft closed out the Illini with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Finnegan. In a match that featured numerous rallies and long points, the Notre Dame veteran asserted herself by earning breaks early in both sets. Tefft, who boasts a career-high ranking in singles at #39, is now 6-3 at the No. 1 singles position and 13-3 overall in dual competition. Tefft has a combined singles and doubles record of 46-10, the best mark on the team.
Krisik recorded her team-best 14th singles win this spring with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Illinois senior Momei Qu at No. 5. The Irish sophomore jumped out to a 3-0 lead and appeared to be cruising to a first set win before the Illini veteran responded by winning four straight games. The first set eventually reached 5-5 before Krisik was able to record a break of serve to gain the advantage. A strong final service game pushed the sophomore over the top in the first set. The second set was tight throughout with a single late break again providing the final margin for Krisik. She leads the team with 23 singles wins this season against just four losses.
Lambropoulos put the visitors on the board with a come-from-behind win over Rielley at No. 4. Rielley won the match’s first four games on her way to an easy first set win. The second set would prove much closer, however, with Rielley taking an early 3-2 lead. A break of serve, followed by a hold gave Lambropoulous a lead she would not relinquish on her way to a second set victory. With the match decided, the two played a grueling match tie-break that went the way of the Illini, giving Illinois a 1-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-7) victory. The loss drops Rielley’s record to 13-11 on the year.
The longest and most competitive match of the day took place at No. 2 where Irish captain Buck outlasted Fudge 7-6 (7-1), 6-3. The match was close throughout the first set with neither player taking more than a one game lead. Fudge was able to run down numerous shots from Buck who tried to overpower her opponent. Down 4-5, Fudge’s counterpunching style broke through as she held and then broke the Irish senior to vault to a 6-5 advantage. She could not close out the first set as Buck won a long deuce game and used that momentum to propel her to an easy tie-break win. The second set was just as close with the two splitting the set’s first six games. Buck got the decisive break at 3-3 to take a lead she would not relinquish. A hold and a final break gave the captain the final margin. The win was Buck’s fifth of the dual season and ran her overall singles record to 9-14.
Notre Dame will look to win its third match in a row Friday when they take on Western Michigan at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. First serve for the contest against the Broncos is set for 4:00 p.m.
#23 Notre Dame 6, #61 Illinois 1
SinglesNo. 1: #39 Kelcy Tefft (ND) d. Leigh Finnegan (ILL) 6-2, 6-1No. 2: Brook Buck (ND) d. Megan Fudge (ILL) 7-6 (7-1), 6-3No. 3: Cosmina Ciobanu (ND) d. Shivani Dave' (ILL) 6-1, 6-2No. 4: Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) d. Colleen Rielley (ND) 1-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-7)No. 5: #113 Kali Krisik (ND) d. Momei Qu (ILL) 7-5, 6-4No. 6: Katie Potts (ND) d. Kristina Minor (ILL) 6-4, 6-0
Order of finish: 6, 3, 1*, 5, 4, 2
DoublesNo. 1: #1 Buck/Tefft (ND) d. Finnegan/Fudge (ILL) 8-6No. 2: Krisik/Kristen Rafael (ND) d. Dave'/Lambropoulos (ILL) 8-4No. 3: Ciobanu/Rielley (ND) d. Annie McCarthy/Alejandra Meza Cuadra (ILL) 8-5Order of finish: 3, 2*, 1