May 18, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -
After one of the best seasons in program history, the fifth-ranked Irish women's tennis team saw the 2009 campaign come to an end in a 4-2 NCAA semifinal loss to No. 9 California Monday at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.
The Irish end the season with a 28-5 overall record and their best showing in the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame advanced to the semifinals for the first time in program history after appearances in the quarterfinals in three of the past four years.
California, the 2008 NCAA runner-up, won its 11th straight match and made its third consecutive appearance in the semifinals. The Bears knocked off top-ranked Northwestern Sunday to advance to Monday's match.
The Irish took an early 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point. The 64th-ranked Irish duo of Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik improved to 19-6 in dual matches and eased to an 8-2 victory over No. 35 Marina Cossou and Claire Ilcinkas at second doubles, while battles raged at first and third doubles. Shannon Mathews and Colleen Rielley were down 4-2 to Bojana Bobusic and Stephany Chang at second doubles, before rallying to tie the match at 4-4. After trading points, Mathews and Rielley broke a 5-5 tie, taking the next three games to clinch the doubles point for the Irish and win their 10th consecutive match. The duo upped their record to 24-8 this season.
The second-ranked team of Kelcy Tefft and Kristy Frilling fell behind 6-2 to Mari Andersson and Jana Juricova at No. 1 doubles before mounting an impressive comeback. The Irish duo won three straight games to pull within one at 6-5 before the Bears could add another point. Tefft and Frilling won the next three games to take an 8-7 lead when the doubles point was clinched.
No. 38 Frilling put the Irish up 2-0 after cruising to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 26th-ranked Cossou at No. 2 singles. The freshman from Sidney, Ohio was able to bounce back after a rough singles outing against Baylor on Sunday and is now 20-9 on the season, including an 8-5 mark against nationally-ranked opponents.
Baylor's 11th-ranked Juricova put the Bears on the board with a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 29 Tefft at first singles. Tefft is 18-9 at No. 1 singles this season. Despite a hard-fought first set, Krisik fell to No. 32 Bobusic, 4-6, 1-6, at No. 5 singles. Krisik held a two-point lead before Bobusic tied the first set at 3-3 and held on for the 6-4 win. Krisik ends the season with a 19-9 dual-match record.
California took a 3-2 lead when No. 54 Ilcinkas ended Mathews nine-match win streak with a 6-3, 7-6 win at No. 4 singles. Mathews battled back from a 5-2 deficit to tie the match at 5-5 before forcing a tiebreaker. She ends the season with a team-leading 26-3 record.
The Bears' 54th-ranked Andersson clinched the win with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Ciobanu at No. 3 singles. Ciobanu finished 21-5 on the season.
Kristen Rafael dropped the first set at No. 6 singles, 7-5, to Chang, but held a 5-3 lead in the second set when the match was called.
Although team competition is finished, Tefft and Frilling will represent the Irish in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships beginning Wednesday in College Station. While they both compete in the singles tournament, they will also team up as the second-seeded doubles team.
#9 California 4, #5 Notre Dame 2
NCAA Tournament Semifinals
1. #11 Jana Juricova (Cal) def. #29 Kelcy Tefft (ND) 6-1, 6-1
2. #38 Kristy Frilling (ND) def. #26 Marina Cossou (Cal) 6-1, 6-1
3. #41 Mari Andersson (Cal) def. Cosmina Ciobanu (ND) 7-5, 6-3
4. #54 Claire Ilcinkas (Cal) def. Shannon Mathews (ND) 6-3, 7-6
5. #32 Bojana Bobusic (Cal) def. Kali Krisik (ND) 6-4, 6-1
6. Kristen Rafael (ND) vs. Stephany Chang (Cal), 5-7, 5-3, unf.
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 5, 4, 3
1. #2 Tefft/Frilling (ND) led #7 Andersson/Juricova (Cal) 8-7, unf.
2. #64 Ciobanu/Krisik (ND) def. #35 Cossou/Ilcinkas (Cal) 8-2
3. Mathews/Rielley (ND) def. Bobusic/Chang (Cal) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2, 3