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ND Women’s Tennis: Squad falls narrowly to top-ranked Wildcats

Dan Masterton | Thursday, April 10, 2008

No. 20 Notre Dame was not able to continue its nine-game winning streak as it fell narrowly to No. 1 Northwestern 4-3 Wednesday.

The Irish (16-8) continued their doubles dominance, winning two of the three doubles matches to earn the 1-0 lead.

Northwestern (20-1) took the first match as junior Georgia Rose and senior Alexis Conill reeled off a quick 8-1 victory over Notre Dame’s No. 2 pair, sophomore Kali Krisik and freshman Kristen Rafael. Rafael is now back in action after missing time due to a sprained ankle.

Northwestern sophomore Samantha Murray took the court alongside sophomore Lauren Lui at No. 1 doubles in place of Rose, who normally competes in the top spot. Lui and Rose are ranked No. 14 in the country when playing together, but Murray and Lui maintain an even higher rank, earning the No. 13 spot in the country.

However, the Irish boast the No. 1 duo in the nation of senior Brook Buck and junior Kelcy Tefft. The dynamic pair defeated Murray and Lui 8-2 to improve their record to 9-1 since taking the top spot in the polls.

The sophomore pair of Cosmina Ciobanu and Colleen Rielley delivered under pressure with the doubles point on the line. Their 8-5 win over junior Nazlie Ghazal and freshman Maria Mosolova brought the sophomores to 17-1 for the dual season.

Ghazal bounced back from a doubles loss to put Northwestern on the board by beating Krisik in two matches 6-3, 6-3.

No. 122 Ciobanu earned another point for the Irish. Playing in the No. 3 slot, Ciobanu ousted No. 25 Murray 6-3, 6-2. Ciobanu’s record stands at 9-5 playing in the No. 3 spot – Ciobanu’s victory was the last of the evening for the Irish as the top-ranked team in the country began firing on all cylinders.

No. 42 Lui evened the match at two with a win over Rielley 6-2, 7-5. The loss ended Rielley’s personal three-match winning streak.

Junior Katie Potts put up a valiant effort from the No.6 spot but could not grind out the win. Sophomore Suzie Matzenauer fought off Potts’ second set tiebreak win to shutout Potts in the third. The 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-0 win by Matzenauer left the Wildcats needing to win just one of the two remaining matches to earn the overall victory.

Notre Dame had a chance to comeback and win with the match in the hands of its No. 1 and No. 2 singles players – Buck and Tefft.

No. 41 Tefft faced her toughest opponent of the year in Northwestern’s No. 3 Mosolova. After dropping the first set, Tefft rallied in the second, but ultimately Mosolova came out on top, winning the match 6-1, 7-5.

Buck was amidst her battle with No. 5 Rose when the match was clinched for Northwestern. Buck won the first set 6-2 but lost the second, 4-6. In an abbreviated third set, Buck prevailed 1-0 (10-7).

No. 5 Rose is the highest ranked player Buck has ever beaten. The senior captain has now defeated eight of her last nine opponents.

Despite winning the doubles point for the eleventh match in a row, the Irish came up just short the win.

Notre Dame will look to start a new winning streak this Friday at 3 PM, when the No. 61 DePaul Blue Demons come to the Courtney Tennis Center.