Four BIG EAST Teams Bow Out of the NCAA Tennis Championships

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Two BIG EAST women's tennis teams and two men's teams lost in the first- and second- rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tennis Championships May 13-15 as the Notre Dame women and the Louisville men earned the conference's automatic bids, while the Irish men and USF women were at-large selections.
 
Ranked No. 20 in the ITA team rankings, the Irish women blanked No. 62 Fresno State 4-0 in first-round action May 13 at the Christie Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill. The 4-0 win marked the third-straight year the team opened the tournament with a perfect decision. ND improved to 17-1 in NCAA Championship openers, winning each of its last nine. Notre Dame freshman Julie Sabacinski clinched the victory with a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 6 singles. The Irish also claimed the doubles point as juniors Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews picked up an 8-3 victory at the No. 1 spot and sophomore Chrissie McGaffigan and senior Kristen Rafael paired for an 8-5 win at the No. 2 position.
 
The Notre Dame women advanced to the second-round of the NCAA Tennis Championships, where they lost to 14th-ranked and 16th-seeded Northwestern 4-0 May 14. It was the first time in five years the Irish did not make the Round of 16. The Wildcats claimed the doubles point, winning in the No. 1 and No. 3 spots and went on to win at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 singles. This was the Irish's 16th-consecutive trip to the NCAAs and 18th overall appearance.     
 
In their 10th tournament appearance and their fifth under head coach Agustin Moreno, the No. 41 USF women lost in the opening round May 13 at the Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Fla. The Bulls dropped their first-round match 4-0 to No. 23 Texas. The Longhorns won the doubles point, earning wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. In singles action, Texas clinched the match with three wins at the bottom of the lineup. This was the second-straight NCAA Championship appearance for USF.
 
The No. 24 Louisville men downed No. 42 Cornell in the first-round May 13 at the Boone Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky. The Cardinals picked up the doubles point as senior Alejandro Calligari and junior Robert Hall won 8-2 and senior Austen Childs and junior Adam Donaldson won 8-3 at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Senior Viktor Maksimcuk, ranked No. 93 in the ITA singles ratings, clinched the match with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win on the second court.
 
The Cardinals advanced to the second-round of the NCAA Tennis Championships, where they dropped a close 4-3 decision to No. 10 Kentucky May 14.The Wildcats jumped ahead in doubles play, winning at the No. 1 spot, but the Cards evened things up with a victory at the No. 3 position. However, Kentucky edged UofL 8-6 at the No. 2 slot to earn the doubles point. In singles action, Louisville picked up victories at the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6 courts. The match was decided at No. 2 doubles as Maksimcuk dropped a 5-7, 7-5 and 6-0 decision. This was the Cardinals' third-straight NCAA berth and their eighth overall selection.    
 
The 30th-ranked Notre Dame men beat No. 55 East Tennessee State 4-3 in the first-round May 13 at the Stickney Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio. Irish freshman Greg Andrews clinched the match in three-sets, going 2-6, 6-4 and 7-5 at No. 4 singles. ND lost the doubles point and came from behind to earn singles victories at the No. 1, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 positions.
 
Notre Dame advanced to the second-round of the NCAAs, where the team lost to No. 4 Ohio State 4-0 May 14. The Buckeyes picked up wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 courts to earn the doubles point and then took wins in No. 1, No. 4 and No. 6 singles. This was the eight-straight and 19th overall NCAA Championship appearance for the Irish.       
 
The singles and doubles tournament of the NCAA Tennis Championships is May 25-30 in Stanford, Calif., following the conclusion of the team championship. Four BIG EAST singles players and two doubles teams, representing three different schools will participate in this year's tournament. Louisville's Austen Childs was an automatic qualifier for the men's singles championship, while Notre Dame's Frilling earned the automatic bid for the women. Frilling's teammate Mathews and USF's Irene Rehberger earned at-large berths to the women's singles tournament. In doubles action, UofL's pairing of Childs and Viktor Maksimcuk picked up the automatic bid for the men, while Frilling and Mathews claimed the automatic slot for the women.