April 22, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded and second-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team was upset by second-seeded USF in the BIG EAST Championship Sunday afternoon by a score of 4-3. The Bulls not only kept the Irish from their third straight conference title, but also snapped Notre Dame’s eight-match tournament winning streak. The Irish drop to 25-3 on the season.

The championship match came down to the last point of a singles match between USF’s Iciri Rai and Notre Dame’s sophomore Katie Potts (Brookfield, WI). Rai was victories, giving USF the crown, in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Notre Dame won the doubles point when senior All-American twins, Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, NV) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, NV), defeated USF’s tandem of Jessica Sweeting and Gabriela Duch 8-4. The freshman duo of Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, CA) and Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, KS) earned an 8-4 victory over Liz Cruz and Rai of USF.

The singles matches would heat up the competition as USF took the first single’s point, tying the match, 1-1, when Courtney Vernon knocked off Christian Thompson in straight sets 6-1, 6-1. Notre Dame grabbed a 2-1 lead when freshman Colleen Rielley (Overland Park, KS) was victorious over USF’s Sweeting at No. 3, 6-1, 6-3.

The Irish pushed the advantage to 3-1 when sophomore Kelcy Tefft (Enid, OK) defeated Liz Cruz 7-5, 6-1, at No. 4.

The Bulls drew within a point, 3-2, following Shadisha Robinson’s triumph over Catrina Thompson in a three set marathon (6-3, 4-6, 6-1). Gabriela Duch tied the match, 3-3, with a win over Ciobanu at No. 5, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. The defeat was the first of the dual match season for Ciobanu.

The final point came down to Rai and Potts. Rai took the first set, 6-4 before falling to Potts, 3-6, in the second. With all of the other matches completed, all eyes were on court six. Despite having to delay the match due to cramping, Rai was victorious over Potts in the final set, 7-5.

1. Shadisha Robinson (USF) def. Catrina Thompson (ND); 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
2. Courtney Vernon (USF) def. Christian Thompson (ND); 6-1, 6-1
3. Colleen Rielley (ND) def. Jessica Sweeting (USF); 6-1, 6-3
4. Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Liz Cruz (USF); 7-5, 6-1
5. Gabriela Duch (USF) def. Cosmina Ciobanu (ND); 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
6. Iciri Rai (USF) def. Katie Potts (ND); 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

1. Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Sweeting/Duch (USF); 8-4
2. Brook Buck/Tefft (ND) vs. Robinson/Vernon (USF); 7-7
3. Ciobanu/Kali Krisik (ND) def. Cruz/Rai (USF); 8-4

— ND —