No. 30 DePaul Tops No. 24 USF, Heads to BIG EAST Championship Match on Sunday
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - For the seventh time this season, the DePaul women's tennis team topped a ranked opponent, today it was in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship. The No. 30 Blue Demons dominated No. 24 USF 4-0 at the South Bend Racquet Club to advance to the conference championship dual on Sunday.
Saturday's match was moved indoors because of inclement weather, but DePaul (18-4) thrived in its new environment. "Because we have played on the road and in different clubs all season, I knew our women could handle it," Blue Demon head coach Mark Ardizzone said after his team's exhilarating win. "We are used to being on the road and today we were just clutch all around".
DePaul jumped out to an early lead by taking the doubles point. "We have worked on doubles a lot and to have the women play so well was huge and it provided us with a lot of momentum for the remainder of the match," Ardizzone commented.
Katarina Milinkovic and Sandra Zmak made quick work of Janette Bejlkova and Lauren Shumate on the second court for DePaul. The Blue Demon pair improved to 7-3 with their dominating 8-1 win.
The remaining two courts traded points and breaks and with both the first and third courts tied at seven, the No. 19 Blue Demon pair of Anna Redecsi and Selma Salkovic overtook #15 Irene Rehberger and Melissa Koning 9-7 to clinch the doubles point.
"Anna and Selma were down match point and continued to fight," Ardizzone said of his doubles pair who are now 7-3 against ranked pairs this season and improve to an impressive 29-6 record this season.
Just like on Friday, Gia McKnight was the second off the court for DePaul. The sophomore won her 18th singles match of the season with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jessica Zok on the fifth court.
As the first, second, third and sixth matches headed into the deciding set, it was No. 79 Redecsi in the top flight that clinched DePaul's victory.
"It was exciting as well as nerve wracking with the four remaining courts in their third set," McKnight said. "Anna had won her second set so I knew she was on a role and was confident that we would get the victory.
Redecsi who has won her last six decisions, dropped the first set to No. 43 Rehberger 6-4, but battled in the final two sets and took home a 6-4, 6-0 clincher.
DePaul will make its second consecutive BIG EAST Championship final and will play No. 5 Notre Dame for the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at 12 p.m. (CST) at the Irish's Ecks Tennis Pavilion. The meeting between the Blue Demons and Irish will be the third of the season, with Notre Dame winning the previous two.
No. 30 DePaul 4, No. 24 USF 0