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WOMEN”S TENNIS: Top-seeded Irish set to take on UConn

Chris Hine | Friday, April 20, 2007

No. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Notre Dame will take on Connecticut in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament today. The Irish earned a bye in the first round due to their consistent play throughout the season, which gave them a 23-2 dual match record. Notre Dame coach Jay Louderback expects junior Brook Buck to take part in the doubles matches, but said she will sit out No. 6 singles.”I don’t know who’ll play No. 6 singles, but the doubles will be full strength,” Louderback said.Today marks the first time Buck and her doubles partner, sophomore Kelcy Tefft, will be competing together since March 16. Together, they have a 21-5 record from the No. 2 slot.Louderback said his team, which is 11-2 against top-25 opponents this season, is not looking past today’s match.”[Connecticut] just competes and their doubles teams…. looked pretty good,” Louderback said. “I think it’ll be a good match for us, especially the first match out. I think we’re definitely the more talented team but they look like a bunch of kids who compete very well.”The Irish battle Connecticut at 9 a.m. today, and should they win, they will face the winner of Marquette and Rutgers Saturday.

After winning it first conference series of the season last weekend then and taking it two midweek games in dramatic fashion, Notre Dame heads into a weekend series against West Virginia having won five of its last six contests.West Virginia comes into the showdown with a 5-6 Big East record to go along with its 21-11 overall mark. The Irish are 4-7 in conference play – 18-17 overall – and figure to battle the Mountaineers for a spot in the Big East Tournament May 22-26 in Brooklyn, New York.After taking two of three from Georgetown last weekend, the Irish defeated Toledo 8-7 Tuesday and triumphed over Purdue 1-0 Wednesday, with both winning runs coming in the last Irish at bat.The Irish rotation for the weekend is set, with sophomore ace David Phelps getting the start Friday. Last week, in a 10-0 victory over Georgetown, Phelps threw seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.34 on the season. He also struck out eight while passing out just two walks.Lefthander Wade Korpi will take the hill for the Irish Saturday. In the win against Purdue, Korpi warmed in the bullpen as sophomore Sam Elam ran up his pitch count in the late innings. But Korpi never entered the game as Elam held the Boilermakers scoreless over nine innings. Korpi takes a 3.99 ERA into the matchup with West Virginia. “I would have never guessed that Sam Elam would give us nine innings like he did,” Irish coach Dave Schrage said.Junior righty Tony Langford came in to pitch the tenth against Purdue before the Irish scored the deciding run in their half of the inning.On Sunday, freshman righty Eric Maust gets the ball for the Irish. Schrage noted that Maust, also a punter on the football team, was originally scheduled to start Saturday. But Schrage altered the rotation so that Maust could play in the Blue-Gold Game.The Irish, who are 10-4 at home, are hitting .320 with men on base this season but have struggled badly in losses with runners on.