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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish fall to Georgia in ITA Championship

Lorenzo Reyes | Friday, February 8, 2008

Imagine putting forth your best effort all season – and losing.

That’s how No. 19 Notre Dame felt after dropping its first-round match 4-2 to No. 6 Georgia at the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis., Thursday night.

“That’s the best we’ve played as a team all season,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “We played hard with a lot of emotion. It was a really hard fought battle. We were right there the whole time with the sixth-ranked team in the nation.”

Notre Dame won the first game of the doubles portion as the national No. 3 duo consisting of senior Brook Buck and junior Kelcy Tefft took care of No. 36 Kelly Hyndman and Monika Dancevic 8-2.

The Bulldogs fought back to win the doubles point, outlasting in identical 8-5 results the Irish doubles pairs of sophomores Kali Krisik and Colleen Rielley, and sophomore Cosmina Ciobanu and freshman Kristen Rafael.

Headed into singles play, Notre Dame needed to catch up with some individual wins.

“We were in every match,” Louderback said. “We dropped the first two long three-setters, before Kelcy [Tefft] won her match. When there are four total three-set matches, you know the competition is close. It really was a tight, tight matchup.”

Tefft needed a tiebreak in the first set over Dancevic, but convincingly won the second set to win 7-6, 6-2 and tie the team scores at 1-1.

Notre Dame took a lead at 2-1 with Krisik’s defeat of Bulldog sophomore Adrianne Elsberry 6-2, 6-2. But Georgia did not allow the Irish to score another point.

In the first of the three-setters, Ciobanu fell to Hyndman 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 to bring the Bulldogs even to 2-2. Georgia sophomore Yvette Hyndman then defeated Buck in 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 – giving the Bulldogs the lead for good.

After one match was suspended, junior Katie Potts fell to freshman Cameron Ellis 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the deciding match, sealing the Bulldog win.

Although Notre Dame dropped the first round, the Irish are still looking to finish strong throughout the tournament against some tough competition.

“We’re looking to win the rest of our matches,” Louderback said. “We want to win. Either way we look at it, we’re going to be playing a top-15 team so we’re going to need to be focused.”

Notre Dame’s next opponent had not been determined Thursday night.