ND Women’s Tennis: Irish defeate two Top-25 opponents
Chris Hine | Monday, March 5, 2007
Notre Dame kept rolling this weekend, soundly defeating two more top 25 opponents. The No. 2 Irish knocked off No. 23 Texas A&M 5-2 and No. 19 Texas 7-0, improving to 12-1 in dual match play. Against the top-25 this season, the Irish are 9-1 and have now won 27 consecutive matches at home – a new school record.”We played O.K. against A&M,” Notre Dame coach Jay Louderback said. “They’re a scrappy group and their tough to play at times, but I thought against Texas we played very well.”We won a lot of close matches against a team that’s very good.”Against the Aggies, the Irish had trouble grabbing the doubles point. No. 5 seniors Christian and Catrina Thompson feel behind 5-2 to Texas A&M junior Tiffany Clifford and senior Sarah Foster, while No. 15 sophomore Kelcy Tefft and junior Brook Buck fought Texas A&M’s No. 34 team of seniors Anna Lubinsky and Nicki Mechem neck and neck. In practice the last two weeks, Louderback has spent a lot of time working with his doubles teams.”We made a lot of errors. We tried to overhit the ball instead of using a little bit more feel and throwing the lob in,” Louderback said. “We did start doing it eventually.”The Thompsons stormed back and captured six of the next seven games to grab an 8-6 victory, while Notre Dame’s third doubles team of freshmen Kali Krisik and Cosmina Ciobanu clinched the doubles point with an 8-3 victory over Aggie junior Anna Blagodarova and freshman Michelle Simmons. Ciobanu and Krisik ended the weekend with a 10-3 record in their doubles play for the season.”Our one and two doubles teams are pretty strong and so when we play teams, we tend to see some pretty good No. 3 teams because they figure they can beat us there,” Louderback said. “[Opponents] tend to load up at No. 3 doubles and [Ciobanu and Krisik] play very well there.”Buck and Tefft eventually lost their match 8-6 but Notre Dame still took a 1-0 lead. The Irish then continued their season long strong singles play against the Aggies. Notre Dame freshman Colleen Rielley pulled off a hard-fought three set victory against Foster 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to give the Irish their fourth point and the victory. “She just started slow. The match before that she did that too,” Louderbeck said. “Once she gets going though, she can get on a roll and games go by pretty fast.””She came back in that match and that was big because at the time, we needed that.”At No. 1 singles, Catrina Thompson retired to Lubinsky in the third set after the match had already been decided and Tefft dropped her match to Blagodarova giving the Aggies their two points.Against the Longhorns, the Irish again captured two of three doubles matches to claim and early 1-0 lead. Tefft and Rielley each dispatched of their opponents with relative ease to make the score 3-0. Catrina Thompson then clinched the victory with a 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory against Texas freshman Vonja Corovic. Christian Thompson held off a surge from Texas junior Courtney Zauft to win 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to give the Irish a 5-0 advantage.Buck then won her match against Longhorn senior Ristine Olson 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-5 to improve to 8-1 this season.Ciobanu rounded out the scoring with a grueling, three-hour long, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) win over Texas freshman Stephanie Davison. Ciobanu has now won all 13 of her dual matches this season.