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ND Women’s Tennis: ND?routs A&M to end season

Douglas Farmer | Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No. 4 Notre Dame finished its regular season with a 6-1 rout of Texas A&M on Saturday, but the Irish believe much lies ahead for the Big East’s top team.

As has become customary for the team, Notre Dame (21-4) opened the match by winning the doubles point, sweeping all three doubles matches. Throughout the whole season, the Irish have lost the doubles point only four times, twice against No. 1 Northwestern.

The No. 2 doubles tandem in the country of senior Kelcy Tefft and freshmen Kristy Frilling led the Irish doubles with an 8-4 victory, after being tied 3-3. Juniors Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik followed suit, beginning their match with a 4-4 tie, and ending victoriously 8-4. Junior Colleen Rielley and freshmen Shannon Mathews finished the Irish sweep with a nail-biter of a victory, 9-8.

“We have three very strong doubles teams,” Tefft said. “We are close to playing to our potential. We should win all of our doubles points.”

The Irish never let the Aggies truly get into the match once singles play began. No. 35 Tefft fought back in her match to take the point, 4-6, 6-4, 1-0. No. 37 Frilling then took her match easily, 6-1, 6-1, and the Irish rolled through the Aggies on their way to another victory.

Notre Dame’s postseason outlook is bright after such a promising regular season. The team began the season with a six match winning streak before falling to No. 1 Northwestern. The Irish then notched an eight match winning streak, and currently are riding a three match streak. In the past three matches the team has only lost two points.

The team will look to build on this momentum beginning Friday in the Big East Conference Tournament. Notre Dame received the number one seed in the tournament after posting an undefeated 3-0 conference record. The three teams the Irish faced, South Florida, DePaul and Marquette, in order, are the two, three, and four seeds in the tournament, respectively. Despite this stiff competition, Notre Dame only lost four points combined in the three matches.

It is the 14th time in 15 years the Irish have received the number one seed, and in all 13 preceding times, the team advanced to the tournament final. If the Irish advance that far this weekend, it will be looking to defend last year’s title in which not only did the team end the Big East season victoriously, but head coach Jay Louderback was awarded Coach of the Year honors, and Kelcy Tefft was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.