May 9, 2009


NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The fifth-ranked Irish women's tennis team punched their ticket to the NCAA round of 16 in College Station, Texas Saturday with a 4-1 win over No. 17 Michigan.

Notre Dame improved to 26-4 on the season and 12-2 in NCAA action at home. The Irish will make their eighth trip to the NCAA round of 16.

The Irish clinched a 1-0 lead after battling to take the doubles point. Second-ranked Kelcy Tefft and Kristy Frilling downed Tania Mahtani and Chisako Sugiyama, 8-2, at No. 1 doubles. Tefft and Frilling went up 3-0 before relinquishing a point, then won the final four games to take the match.

Shannon Mathews and Colleen Rielley clinched the point for the Irish with an 8-5 comeback win over Lindsey Howard and Denise Muresan, at No. 3 doubles. Mathews and Rielley were down 0-3 to begin the match, before rallying to take five of the next six games. After tying the match at 4-4, the Irish never gave up the lead.

The No. 2 doubles team of Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik were leading Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno, 7-4, when the match was halted.

Frilling put the Irish up 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Tatsuno at No. 2 singles. Frilling was down 0-1 in the second set, before taking six straight to win the match.

Mathews topped Taney, 6-0, 6-4, at fourth singles to give the Irish a 3-0 lead. After dominating the first set, Mathews battled from a 1-2, then a 2-3 deficit for the win. After tying the set at 3-3, Mathews won three of the next four games to earn the victory.

Michelle Sulahian gave the Wolverines their only point of the day with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Kristen Rafael at No. 6 singles.

With the Irish down at No. 3 singles and even at No. 5, Tefft stepped up to clinch the win for Notre Dame with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Sugiyama at first singles. After easing through the first set, Tefft and Sugiyama battled back-and-forth through the second set, before Tefft won the final two games for the victory.

Michigan's Muresan was leading Ciobanu 7-6 (9-7), 2-2 at third singles, while Krisik and Mahtani were even at 1-6, 6-3, at No. 5 singles when the match was called.

The Irish will travel to College Station, Texas next weekend to take on 12th-ranked Clemson in the round of 16.