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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish travel to Wisconsin

Chris Hine | Thursday, March 22, 2007

Days after surviving its first road trip of the season without dropping a match, Notre Dame is on the road again to face Wisconsin today.

Last week, No. 3 Notre Dame (15-1) captured three matches away from home, including its first two outdoor matches against No. 15 Duke and No. 31 Tennessee.

The Irish will try to win their 12th straight against the unranked Badgers, who will likely be without their best player, No. 18 Caitlin Burke, who has been out nearly two months, Notre Dame coach Jay Louderback said.

“They’ve struggled this year,” Louderback said. “If their kids are back and healthy, it could be a good match. If their kids are out, they’re struggling. They’ve had about eight days to rest and [Burke has] played doubles, but we just don’t know who’ll be in the lineup for them.”

The Irish are suffering from injury problems of their own.

Louderback said junior Brook Buck will not play today due to an undisclosed injury. Her injury will affect the combinations Notre Dame sends out to play doubles. Buck, along with sophomore Kelcy Tefft, is currently ranked No. 15 in the ITA Tennis rankings with an 8-5 record.

“We were trying a couple different doubles teams yesterday. It’ll be [No. 4 seniors] Christian and Catrina Thompson, and after that we still don’t know,” Louderback said. “Katie Potts will step into the doubles … but we don’t know the combinations yet.”

Louderback said Tefft, Potts and freshmen Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik would be in the doubles mix.

No. 19 Catrina Thompson will lead the Irish out of the No. 1 singles slot. She has a 13-3 dual-match record and has won her last four, including a 6-0, 6-3 win Saturday over No. 31 Blakeley Griffith of Tennessee.

Catrina Thompson will take the No. 2 slot and try to rebound after dropping all three of her matches last week.

The other nationally ranked singles player for Notre Dame is No. 62 Ciobanu, who has a perfect 16-0 dual match record out of the No. 5 slot. Ciobanu slid 31 spots from the last set of rankings, but Louderback said that is to be expected with the automated nature of the computer rankings.

“The problem is if you aren’t playing No. 1 or No. 2, you can drop fast because you don’t get points for playing there,” he said. “Now, they went to the computer two weeks earlier than normal, so the rankings, especially the team will be adjusting a lot each week. Florida jumped ahead of us and we’re tied with Stanford and I think the top four in the team rankings have really separated themselves.”