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ND Women’s Tennis: No. 9 Notre Dame tops Cardinals 6-1 on road

Lorenzo Reyes | Monday, January 21, 2008

Looking to build on their success this fall, No. 9 Notre Dame kicked off the 2008 dual match season Sunday with a solid 6-1 victory over Louisville at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center in Louisville, Ky.

“It was a great start,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “It was good to go on the road into unfamiliar environment and come out on top. Louisville is much better than they were last year. They have much better depth, and to beat them on the road was big for us.”

Notre Dame started off in doubles play, picking up the point in convincing fashion.

Improving to 12-2 on the year, the duo of senior Brook Buck and junior Kelcy Tefft defeated Cardinals junior Bianca Gorbea and sophomore Natalia Baez 8-4.

The No. 50 pair of sophomores Kali Krisik and Colleen Rielley improved to 5-1 on the season, besting Louisville sophomore Lauren Imre and junior Lindsey Jones 8-5.

Although the doubles point had been secured, the tag-team of sophomore Cosmina Ciobanu and freshman Kristen Rafael also improved to 5-1 on the season, and made it a clean sweep for the Irish in doubles play with their 8-7 triumph over sophomore Jo-Ann Van Aerde and senior Robyn White.

Heading into singles play with a 1-0 lead, the Irish didn’t hold back and continued their aggressive approach, picking up five more points on the path to victory.

Krisik disposed of freshman Katherina Tomalak in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. The sophomore made it 2-0 for Notre Dame, while improving her record to 10-2 on the year.

Kelcy Tefft kept the Irish momentum rolling with a 6-0, 6-2 straight-set victory over Baez. Tefft is now 5-3 on the year and, more importantly, gave her team another valuable point.

With Louisville’s chances of winning then unlikely, Ciobanu put an end to the notion of a Cardinals comeback. The sophomore clinched the match with her 6-2, 6-3 straight-set victory over Imre to improve her standing to 12-4 on the season.

After clinching the match, Notre Dame picked up two more straight-set wins at the hands of junior Katie Potts and Rielley. Potts defeated Van Aerde 7-5, 6-1, bringing her record to 8-1 this season.

Rielley took on Gorbea 6-2, 7-5 to finish off the day, as she improved her standing to 7-3 on the year.

Louderback attributes the solid performance against Louisville to his players’ conditioning.

“I think the main thing is that our girls went into Christmas break and played good tennis to stay in shape,” he said. “And all our players are healthy. Throughout the course of the season we’ll have some of the girls pick up nagging injuries and the fact that we’re healthy and in good shape has a great deal to do with our success.”

Despite the resounding victory, the Irish are already looking ahead. “We’re feeling positive about the win today,” Louderback said.

“Next week we go to Vanderbilt and they’re sixteenth in the nation so we have to stay focused on what we need to do.”

The Irish will return to action Saturday against No. 16 Vanderbilt at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn.