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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish try to stretch win streak to 6

Joe Meixell | Friday, March 28, 2008

No. 19 Notre Dame (12-7) will put its five-game win streak on the line against the No. 24 Indiana Hoosiers Sunday at 12 p.m. in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Indiana (14-3) entered Friday with a seven-game win streak and has a chance to extend that streak to eight against Michigan State on Friday before the Hoosiers travel to South Bend for just their fourth road match of the year.

Indiana is 2-1 in road matches but faces a tough test coming to Notre Dame as the Irish are 6-1 at home for the dual season.

The Hoosiers’ impressive overall record comes against an unimpressive schedule. Indiana has played just two ranked opponents and lost both matches whereas the Irish are battle-tested, going 2-6 against their eight ranked opponents.

Indiana has also yet to face much individual competition. Over their 17 matches, the Hoosiers’ singles players have faced only eight ranked singles players all season. The Irish have a 17-29 record in singles matches against ranked players.

In their match-up with the Irish, the Hoosiers will face three ranked singles players in Notre Dame’s No. 38 junior Kelcy Tefft, No. 105 sophomore Cosmina Ciobanu, and No. 114 sophomore Kali Krisik.

The strength of Indiana’s singles lineup is at the bottom. Brianna Williams, who has been playing No. 5 singles, has won seven matches in a row and is 16-1 for the dual season.

Myriam Sopel, who has been playing No. 6 singles in the Hoosier lineup, follows Williams. Sopel has triumphed all six times she has taken the court this dual season.

This dynamic pair teams up to comprise Indiana’s most successful doubles duo. The pair of Sopel and Williams is 10-1 playing together, primarily as the No. 3 doubles team for the Hoosiers.

The Irish doubles attack has dropped just two of 18 matches amidst a streak of six doubles points wins in a row. The pair of Tefft and senior Brook Buck remain No. 1 in the country while the No. 50 pair of Ciobanu and sophomore Colleen Rielley continue to quietly dominate with a 12-1 record.

On the singles side, the Irish win streak has been led by the strong play of Krisik. She is 16-3 on the dual season and has won 14 of her last 15 matches. The dominance of Krisik and solid play and the bottom can often go overlooked in the lineup.

The competition between Indiana and Notre Dame’s strong bottom halves should be intense and could ultimately decide if the Irish streak will grow to six.