The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



ND Women’s Tennis: Irish look to continue winning streak at home

Chris Hine | Friday, February 23, 2007

After taking on some of the best teams in the nation, the Irish get a break.No. 2 Notre Dame will face No. 59 Iowa Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The match will be the first for the Irish since defeating No. 20 Wake Forest last Sunday, the third of three wins over top-25 opponents for Notre Dame last week. “We still have to work quite a bit on our doubles,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “Even though we won all three against Wake, we still struggled a little bit against North Carolina.”The Irish (9-1) defeated the No. 5 Tar Heels, the Demon Deacons and No. 24 Michigan within a span of five days. Against North Carolina, Notre Dame lost the doubles point for only the second time all season.”We had all three doubles teams working on things they struggled with,” Louderback said. “We worked on different types of patterns and shots. [Seniors Christian and Catrina Thompson] were hurt a lot by lobs. We worked on things to counteract the lob.”Louderback also said he used the time off to heal some injured players, including sophomore Kelcy Tefft, who has been suffering from a pulled stomach muscle.”Kelcy is close to full strength,” Louderback said. “A couple of our players have been sick like everybody else on campus.”The Irish will try to keep their win streak alive against the Hawkeyes (3-3). Sophomore Merel Beelen leads Iowa with a 6-0 dual match record this season. “Their top three are older and have been around, so we’ve seen them some. But their lineup is good,” Louderback said. “I think their lower kids were freshmen a year ago and now they’re a year older. I think they’ll be good. They seem like they always play well against us.”In the latest version of the ITA computer rankings, Notre Dame’s doubles teams of Thompson and Thompson and Tefft and junior Brook Buck are ranked No. 5 and No. 15, respectively. Catrina Thompson rose from her preseason ranking of No. 41 to No. 16 while freshman Colleen Rielley slipped from No. 31 to No. 73 in singles. Missing from the rankings is freshman Cosmina Ciobanu. Ciobanu is a perfect 10-0 on the season and has an overall record of 20-4 since joining Notre Dame. “We were a little bit surprised. She’s beaten kids that are ranked and hasn’t lost a match. That’s a little surprising. You just never know,” Louderback said. “The rankings are strange anyway, especially early in the year. The team rankings are a little better because there’s voting, but the individual rankings are done on computer, so you just never know, especially early in the year.”The match Sunday begins at 10 a.m