April 4, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Sophomore Maria Mosolova warded off a strong second-set performance by Notre Dame's Kelcy Tefft to score the clinching point in Northwestern's 4-3 edging of the third-ranked Fighting Irish Saturday at Combe Tennis Center. No. 1 NU is now 16-1 and has knocked off Notre Dame each of the last four times the two teams have met.
After winning the doubles point, the Wildcats needed three singles wins against a Notre Dame lineup that had been significantly shuffled since the last time these teams squared off on Feb. 15 in the semifinal of the ITA Team Championship. Northwestern held a 3-2 lead with each team up a set in the two matches remaining on the courts when Tefft began closing the gap on Mosolova's lead in the first singles match. Tefft went up a break at 4-2 in the second before Mosolova broke back to pull even at 4-4. It remained even down the stretch when Mosolova served to tie the match at six and send the set to a tiebreaker.
With the support of a packed house at Combe Tennis Center, Mosolova outlasted Tefft in the extra session with a 7-2 score, surviving a match that routinely featured extended baseline rallies. Second-ranked Mosolova is now 27-6 at singles play this season.
Northwestern's first victory of the day came at No. 3 doubles, where Samantha Murray and Elena Chernyakova dominated in the early going by grabbing a 7-2 advantage and reaching a match point while up 7-3. Their opponents, Shannon Mathews and Colleen Rielley, held NU off long enough to come within 7-5 before Murray's serve and Chernyakova's winners at the net were too much for the Irish in the clinching game. Murry and Chernyakova are 15-2 as a doubles pair in 2008-09.
The last time Mosolova and Keri Robison, ranked No. 28 nationally, met Notre Dame's Cosmina Ciobanu and Kali Krisik, the match resulted in a tight 9-7 victory for NU. But Mosolova and Robison quickly set the tone in doubles play for the 'Cats on Saturday by jumping to a 6-0 lead before a brief rally by the Irish cut the deficit to 6-3. Up an Ad point in the final game, Robison slammed home the winner at the net to clinch the doubles point for Northwestern and win 8-4.
In a match littered with long, competitive rallies, Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui took on the nation's third-ranked tandem of Kristi Frilling and Kelcy Tefft at No. 1 doubles. The teams traded breaks in the fourth and sixth games as the score evened at three. But the Fighting Irish found their groove after that, going on to win 8-3.
Singles play was predictably close in every match save for the No. 5 contest between NU senior Nazlie Ghazal and Notre Dame's Kristen Rafael. Ghazal needed just over 45 minutes for her 6-0, 6-0 win as she improved to 26-5 overall in her senior campaign.
Freshman Stacey Lee lost her first dual match of the year and fell for just the second time this season against Kali Krisik, who moved from the No. 3 spot when these teams met in February to the No. 6 position on Saturday. Lee held a 2-1 lead before Krisik kicked it into high gear on her way to a 6-2, 6-0 victory to earn a point for the visitors.
Murray rallied from down 4-3 in the first set to take a 5-4 advantage over Ciobanu before both competitors held serve as the score moved to 6-5. The NU junior and 2008 Midwest Regional champion held once again to win a critical first set decision, 7-5. She capitalized on that momentum in the second and, leading 5-1, served up an ace on deuce before a return into the net by Ciobanu ended the match and gave NU a 3-1 advantage.
Lauren Lui fell behind a break midway through the first set against Mathews at No. 4 singles and was unable to recover, dropping the set 6-2. Mathews seemed to be in control up 5-2 in the second until Lui battled all the way back to pull even at 5-5. The Wildcat forced a tiebreaker set where she capped off her comeback with a 7-3 victory. In the match tiebreaker, however, Mathews regained her early form and took a 10-2 decision to score a third point for the Fighting Irish.
Northwestern is back in action at noon Sunday when it hosts Purdue at the Combe Tennis Center.
No. 1 Northwestern 4, No. 3 Notre Dame 3
1: No. 2 Maria Mosolova (NU) def. No. 35 Kelcy Tefft (ND), 6-3, 7-6 (2)
2: No. 36 Kristi Frilling (ND) def. No. 20 Georgia Rose (NU), 6-3, 6-2
3: No. 46 Samantha Murray (NU) def. Cosmina Ciobanu (ND), 7-5, 6-1
4: Shannon Mathews (ND) def. No. 119 Lauren Lui (NU), 6-2, 6-7 (3), 1-0 (2)
5: Nazlie Ghazal (NU) def. Kristen Rafael (ND), 6-0, 6-0
6: Kali Krisik (ND) def. Stacey Lee (NU), 6-2, 6-0
Order of finish: 5, 6, 3, 2, 1*, 4
1: No. 3 Frilling/Tefft (ND) def. No. 14 Lui/Rose (NU), 8-3
2: No. 28 Mosolova/Robison (NU) def. Ciobanu/Krisik (ND), 8-4
3: Chernyakova/Murray (NU) def. Mathews/Rielley (ND), 8-5
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1