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ND Women’s Tennis: Struggling Irish fall to Michigan

Lorenzo Reyes | Friday, February 1, 2008

This was hardly the start No. 12 Notre Dame envisioned for the early weeks of the dual match season. After beating Louisville to open a three-game road trip, the Irish fell to Vanderbilt last weekend and to No. 23 Michigan Thursday.

The contest started off hopeful as the No. 3 ranked doubles team of senior Brook Buck and junior Kelcy Tefft took the first match of three 8-6.

The Wolverines quickly fought back and evened the score as the freshman duo of Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno defeated sophomore pair Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik 8-4.

With the doubles point still up for grabs, the Irish doubles team of freshman Kristen Rafael and sophomore Colleen Rielley fell to junior Lindsey Howard and freshman Denise Muresan.

Now that Michigan had taken a 1-0 lead, it was time for Notre Dame to make up ground in singles play.

However, the Wolverines weren’t backing down. Michigan junior Chisako Sugiyama beat No. 62 Ciobanu in straight sets 6-3, 6-1.

Brook Buck made sure the Irish would put some points up against their rivals and notched the first point with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over sophomore Tania Mahtani.

The Irish, now in striking distance at 2-1, entrusted No. 88 Rielley to come through over Taney. But the sophomore fell 6-4, 6-1 in straight sets.

Notre Dame realized that if it was going to win the match, it would have to aggressively gain some points. Tefft did just that – not allowing her opponent to win a single game. The junior disposed of Tatsuno 6-0, 6-0 in straight sets.

No. 89 Krisk then faced off against Howard and effectively knotted the score at 3-3, but not before her first set went into a tiebreaker with her 7-6(4), 6-3 win.

The entire contest finally reached its culmination in the deciding match between No. 82 junior Katie Potts and Muresan. The match proved to be a tight meeting, going into three sets, but eventually going to the Wolverine freshman 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

After the rocky start of the dual match season, the Irish will return home as they take on the BYU Cougars Tuesday.