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ND Women’s Tennis: No. 2 Irish blank Iowa despite sluggish start

Chris Hine | Monday, February 26, 2007

No. 2 Notre Dame showed no signs of rust after a week off as it defeated No. 59 Iowa 7-0 Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

“We got into a couple tight first sets in the singles and it looked like it could end up a tight match,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “But our kids came through.

Senior Christian Thompson defeated Iowa junior Milica Veselinovic 6-4, 6-1 to give Notre Dame its fourth point and the victory.

“Christian played really well. She lost to (Veselinovic) in the fall. For her this was great to get the win,” Louderback said. “She’s been playing really well – smart and aggressive.”

The Irish jumped out to a 1-0 lead by sweeping the doubles matches. Combined, the three pairings (Thompson and senior Catrina Thompson, freshmen Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik, and junior Brook Buck and sophomore Kelcy Tefft) dropped only five games. Louderback spent most of this week working with his doubles teams after its disappointing performance last weekend against No. 5 North Carolina. The Irish lost the doubles point for only the second time all season against the Tar Heels.

“We concentrated a little more this week. The doubles was so good before that we worked on mostly singles, but last week we worked on them a little more,” Louderback said. “I think the work showed in how we played today.”

Buck gave the Irish their first singles point with a quick 6-2, 6-1 victory over Hawkeye freshman Kelcy Klockenga, improving her dual match record to 6-1.

Then the Hawkeyes made thing interesting.

Ciobanu trailed 3-1 and 40-0 in her match against Iowa sophomore Merel Beelen, and freshman Colleen Rielley dropped the first set against Iowa senior Hillary Mintz. But Ciobanu battled back from there and did not drop another game on here way to a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Beelen. Rielley then cruised in her second set, winning it 6-0 and winning the tie-breaker 1-0 (10-7) to claim the match.

“The kids did a good job of starting a little slow but hanging in there,” Louderback said.

Ciobanu’s win pushed her dual match mark to 11-0 and 21-4 overall. Rielley improved to 16-9 overall and 5-6 in dual play.

Tefft also fought through a difficult first set to claim a 6-4, 6-1, win in her match against Iowa junior Kayla Berry. Catrina Thompson rounded out the scoring with a 6-1, 6-4, defeat of Hawkeye junior Jaqueline Lee.

“Catrina played OK today. The first set she won pretty easily. Second set she had trouble with (Lee’s) serve,” Louderback said. “She struggled returning that serve for a little bit. But in the end, when it was 4-4, she played two really good games to finish.”

The Irish have four more days off before they take on No. 27 Texas A&M Friday and No. 21 Texas Saturday.