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ND Women’s Tennis: Senior recognized by ITA

Dan Masterton | Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Though the No. 19 Irish (3-4) dropped two of three matches this weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, they did not come home empty-handed.

Notre Dame senior Brook Buck became the third player in school history to win the ITA Sportsmanship Award. The 16 coaches at the tournament voted on the award, which is given to one player who demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship and exemplifies the spirit of collegiate tennis.

Irish head coach Jay Louderback was proud of his team’s captain.

“She always plays fair and hard. She’s always on an even keel and doesn’t lose her temper,” Louderback said. “Even having won the national indoors in doubles [last year], she’s still very humble.”

The lone victory on the court for the Irish came Friday over No. 13 William & Mary, 4-3. With the match tied 3-3, Kelcy Tefft came through with a tough win in singles to clinch Notre Dame’s only match win of the weekend.

“Kelcy was playing a girl with a big serve, but she made a lot returns, broke her [opponent’s] serve, and played a great tiebreak,” Louderback said.

The glaring weakness was doubles play in Notre Dame’s losses Friday to No. 6 Georgia, 4-2, and Sunday to No. 11 Baylor, 5-1.

The Irish dropped the doubles point in all three matches. Buck and Tefft, the No. 3 doubles pair in the nation, lost for the first time this year against William & Mary on Friday. The pair lost again to Baylor on Saturday.

“They’re playing top ten teams, and the match with Baylor was just a really good doubles match,” Louderback said.

The team will look to bounce back as it prepares for a stretch of three games in four days starting Thursday.

“We worked a lot [Monday], and we will [Tuesday] on our doubles since we didn’t win a doubles point this weekend,” Louderback said.

The high level of competition taxed and tested the Irish.

“We got a stretch right now where we play a lot of matches so today we had a short practice,” Louderback said. “When there are so many good teams and everyone is so close in ability, there’s a lot of 3-setters. They all compete so well.”

In the end, the Irish did not win the championship or the consolation bracket, but the experience will prove helpful come tournament time.

For now, the team prepares for its home match Thursday against No. 48 Ohio State.