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ND Women’s Tennis: Players struggle in national tourney

Chris Hine | Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Notre Dame ran into some tough competition at the ITA National Indoor Championships this weekend at Ohio State.

Four of six Irish players lost in the first round while the doubles team of junior Brook Buck and sophomore Kelcy Tefft lost 8-6 in the semifinals to No. 4 seed Megan Moulton-Levy and Katarina Zoricic of William and Mary.

No. 24-ranked TCU’s Anna Sydorska and Ana Cetnik bounced Notre Dame’s No. 3 doubles team of seniors Christian and Catrina Thompson in the first round of play 8-3. The No. 1-seeded Thompson pairing jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Sydorska and Cetnik – who advanced to the finals of the tournament – grabbed eight of the next nine games for the victory. The Thompsons dropped to 6-2 on the year in doubles play.

“TCU hit the ball big, and the indoor courts at Ohio State were very fast,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “They were a good team and their game is suited for indoor play.”

Despite the early exit, Louderback is not worried about the Thompson sisters’ play.

The duo defeated Duke and Florida’s No. 1 doubles teams in the tournament’s consolation draw, before losing 8-6 to Cal’s Susie Babos and Zsuzsanna Fodor.

“They played very well there, so there are no problems,” Louderback said.

Tefft and Buck defeated Georgia Tech’s Kristi Miller and Alison Silverio 8-5 in the opening round of play and knocked off Lauren Macfarlane and Nicola Slater of Florida State 8-4 in the quarterfinals, before losing to Moulton-Levy and Zoricic.

“They had a great tournament,” Louderback said. “They just lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals. They’ve been playing great all year. We’re hoping to get two teams into the NCAAs this year.”

Freshman Cosmina Ciobanu lost to Georgia Tech’s Miller 6-3, 6-1 – who is ranked third in the country in singles play.

“It didn’t go so well. She was a really good player,” Ciobanu said. “The first set was a little closer, but once she got up on me, she got me.”

Freshman Colleen Rielley, who defeated Ciobanu in the finals of the ITA Midwest Regionals to qualify for the national tournament, lost a tough match in three sets to Carole Salge of Clemson, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. The loss ended Rielley’s six-match winning streak.

“Colleen played really well, and the girl she played was really good too,” Ciobanu said.

“Colleen had some problems with [Salge’s] courtside manner. [Salge] was very manly out on the court, spitting on the court. Colleen found her really annoying and she got frustrated.”

Rielley and Ciobanu both dropped their first-round consolation matches.

Despite the early exit, the tournament was a chance for the freshmen to get a taste of the national spotlight.

“It was really exciting that both Colleen and I qualified for this,” Ciobanu said. “It was a great experience.”