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ND Women’s Tennis: Vanderbilt upsets Irish with late singles surge

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 28, 2008

Notre Dame was ahead on the road against No. 16 Vanderbilt and looked as if it would move to 2-0 on the season. But the Commodores fought back Saturday to take the last two singles matches and upset the No. 9 Irish 4-3.

Vanderbilt improved to 5-0 on the season, with each win coming against a ranked opponent.

The Commodores are sure to move up in the rankings, and rightfully so in the eyes of Irish head coach Jay Louderback.

“Vandy’s a good team,” Louderback said. “They belong in the top 10. It was tough for us to go on the road and play them. We had our chances but they played well.”

Despite the loss, Louderback saw some positives – specifically in coming from behind to take the competition-opening doubles point.

Vanderbilt evened the match with a straight-set 6-1, 6-4 victory by junior Courtney Ulrey over Irish sophomore Colleen Rielley. Rielley dropped to 7-4 overall and 1-1 in dual matches.

The rollercoaster feel of the match continued as Irish junior Kelcy Tefft upended Commodores senior Taka Bertrand 6-3, 6-1 to give the Irish a 2-1 lead. Tefft improved to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in dual matches.

The Commodores drew even at 2-2 when Irish sophomore Cosmina Ciobanu dropped her match to Vanderbilt senior Amanda Taylor 6-4, 6-2. Ciobanu now stands at 12-5 overall and 1-1 in dual action.

Irish junior Katie Potts propelled Notre Dame to a 3-2 lead when she took down freshman Keilly Ulery in straight sets 7-5, 7-5, bringing her dual match record to 2-0 and 9-1 overall.

Notre Dame needed to win only one of the final two matches, but the Irish couldn’t capture the needed victory.

Vanderbilt took the final two matches as Commodores senior Caroline Ferrell defeated Irish sophomore Kali Krisik 6-2, 6-4. The result of the match came down to the final singles contest, in which Vanderbilt sophomore Catherine Newman prevailed over Irish senior Brook Buck 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Buck now stands at 4-6 on the year and 0-2 in dual matches.

Louderback said his team struggled in singles play partly because of the performance of some of the Irish veterans.

“We won two of the singles matches,” Louderback said. “What we need to do is play better at the top of the lineup. Cosmina lost a tough one at No. 1, while Brook’s match was a long and close one at No. 2. Colleen lost a winnable match at No. 3.

“If we can play better at the top of the line-up, our chances of winning will be better.”

Notre Dame will conclude its three-match season-opening road slate against No. 23 Michigan Thursday in Ann Arbor, Mich.