Aug. 10, 2006
Notre Dame senior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) won their second professional tournament in a row, while the Irish incoming freshmen continued to be dominant on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Summer Circuit, picking up three more singles titles. Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif./Troy H.S.) won a pair of events in California, and Colleen Rielley (Overland Park, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) prevailed in Kansas. The three student-athletes who signed national letters of intent last November – Ciobanhu, Rielley, and Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan./Arkansas City H.S.), who were ranked as the nation’s top class by TennisRecruiting.net – have combined to win the singles title in every ITA Summer Circuit event that at least one of them has entered, five in all (in addition to one doubles championship).
Just two weeks after earning their first professional title in the Via Christi Women’s 10k of Wichita, the Thompsons – who are able to play pro tournaments but maintain their collegiate eligibility by not accepting prize money – took another break from their summer classes at Notre Dame, traveling to St. Joseph, Mo., and winning three consecutive three-set matches to claim the title in the Car City Hyundai Women’s Classic at the Noyes Tennis Center the week of July 31. In a sisters-vs.-sisters matchup, they began with a 6-0, 6-0 win over the Chilean team of Coral and Melodia Morales, but things would get tougher from there.
In the quarterfinals, the Thompsons faced the team of Helena Besovic and Anna Sydorska from Texas Christian University – who won the ITA Southwest Championships doubles title last fall and finished the spring ranked 24th nationally – in a three-setter for the second tournament in a row and again prevailed, this time by scores of 5-7, 6-2, 6-4. In the semifinals, the twins won a third-set tiebreaker for a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) victory against Audra Cohen of Miami – a former national #1 in singles with whom the Thompsons have developed a rivalry, born when she played for Northwestern in 2004-05 – and Alexandra McGoodwin from UCLA. The title match saw the Notre Dame sisters face Anne Yelsey – who finished her career at Stanford this past spring ranked #1 in the nation in doubles – and Maureen Diaz, who played collegiately at USC. The Irish squad came through for a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win to earn their second title in a $10,000 International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament.
Both Thompsons also participated in the main draw in singles. Christian garnered a wild card, but fell 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to Courtney Vernon from South Florida in the opening round after dropping a straight-set decision against her in the final of the BIG EAST Championship in April. Catrina fought her way through qualifying and then won a match in the main draw. In the qualies, she beat Bria Hitt (6-0, 6-0) and Amanda Hellberg (6-1, 6-3) and then went on to defeat Diaz 6-2, 6-3 in the main draw. Her run ended in the round of 16, as the lost 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1 to the event’s second seed, Tiya Rolle.
Ciobanhu won the ITA Summer Circuit tournaments in Newport Beach and Pomona in July. In the former, she did not drop a set, beating high schooler Michaela Hein (6-3, 6-0), Maria Malec from Cal Poly (6-3, 6-1), California’s Daron Moore (6-3, 6-2), Tanvi Duhedela of Michigan (6-2, 6-1), and finally North Carolina’s Laura Richert (7-6, 6-1) in the final. At Cal Poly-Pomona, she topped Yasamen Sakhakorn from UC Riverside (6-0, 6-0), Moore (6-4, 6-1), Malec (6-1, 6-1), Wisconsin’s Elizabeth Carpenter (6-0, 6-0), and UCLA’s Elizabeth Schnack (6-3, 5-7, 10-6) in the title match.
Rielley was one of the four seeded players in the ITA Summer Circuit event at the University of Kansas from July 22-24. Following a first-round bye, she won 6-0, 6-2 against Carly Dixon of Arkansas and then beat Marquette’s Shannon Brown 6-1, 6-0. Her toughest match came in the semis against another of the seeded players, but Rielley won 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 (10-4) against Liza Avdeeva, who played No. 2 for Kansas last season. In the title match, she beat another seeded Jayhawk, Lauren Hommell – who played No. 4 last spring – 6-2, 6-1.