March 29, 2006
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The second-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team suffered its first defeat of the season on Wednesday afternoon, falling 4-3 to #11 Vanderbilt (16-2) at the Brownlee O. Curry Tennis Center. With the score tied 3-3, the match came down to the No. 3 match, where Vanderbilt’s Amanda Taylor won two tiebreakers against Irish sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) to ruin Notre Dame’s bid for a perfect season. The Irish still have a 14-match winning streak at home to protect, which they will on Friday at 2:30 p.m. (EST) against Eastern Michigan. The match will be played at the Courtney Tennis Center unless the weather forces it into the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Notre Dame swept the doubles matches and got lopsided victories at the bottom two spots in singles, but could not break through to win even a set in the top four spots, facing a talented Commodore squad that had higher-ranked players than the Irish at Nos. 1-3 in singles.
Taylor and Buck battled for two long sets, but both ended with the Vanderbilt player prevailing in a tiebreaker. The Commodore sophomore, ranked 75th in the nation and sporting a 17-4 record on the season, came through with a 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-4) win even after trailing 3-1 in the second set when all the other matches had already been decided. Taylor won four straight games to go ahead, but Buck – on the court with the score tied 3-3 for the first time in her career – would not give up, coming back to force a tiebreaker.
Notre Dame swept the doubles matches for the 12th time this season, though the Irish faced one of their toughest doubles challenges. Seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) had the easiest time of it, bouncing back from a defeat on Friday that snapped a 15-match winning streak to beat Courtney Ulery and Liberty Sveke 8-4 at No. 3. They improved to 27-6 on the season, including 16-1 in dual play, and have now won seven in a row away from home.
Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.), ranked 29th in the nation, clinched the point by defeating Taka Bertrand and Caroline Ferrell 9-7 at No. 2. It was the seventh clinching win for the Irish duo, which now stands 25-4 overall and 15-2 in dual-match play.
Finishing off the sweep was the third-ranked team in college tennis, junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), who earned a 9-7 win at No. 1 against Amanda Fish and Amanda Taylor. The Thompsons are now 17-3 this season, including 11-2 in dual action at No. 1. They are undefeated in seven matches outside.
Potts – the hero in Notre Dame’s 4-3 wins against Wake Forest and Texas A&M – was done first in singles with a 6-2, 6-0 victory against Sveke at No. 6 that made it 2-0. The Notre Dame rookie is now 22-4 on the season, including 16-1 in dual play. The Irish remained perfect (17-0) at No. 6 singles this spring, with 13 of those wins coming from Potts.
Bertrand, ranked 40th, got Vandy on the board with a 6-2, 6-3 decision against 74th-ranked Christian Thompson at No. 2. Fish, ranked 20th, then evened the score by beating 30th-ranked Catrina Thompson 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1.
Stastny put the Irish within a point of the win by beating Ferrell 6-2, 6-1 at No. 5. It was the fourth straight win for the senior, who now stands 24-6 on the season, including 15-2 in dual play. It was the 80th singles victory of Stastny’s career (in 134 matches), making her the 21st player in Notre Dame history to accomplish that feat.
Ulery provided a key point for the Commodores, upsetting 110th-ranked Tefft 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4 to even the score at 3-3. The Irish rookie has lost two in a row after dropping just two matches in her first 22 matches as a collegian.
The Irish saw a streak of six consecutive victories in 4-3 matches come to a halt and lost for the fifth time in a row against Vanderbilt.
Notre Dame had been off to its best start in program history, opening with 16 consecutive victories.
#11 Vanderbilt 4, #2 Notre Dame 3SinglesNo. 1: #20 Amanda Fish (V) def. #30 Catrina Thompson (ND) 6-2, 6-2No. 2: #40 Taka Bertrand (V) def. #74 Christian Thompson (ND) 6-2, 6-3No. 3: * #75 Amanda Taylor (V) def. Brook Buck (ND) 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-4)No. 4: Courtney Ulery (V) def. #110 Kelcy Tefft (ND) 6-3, 6-3No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Caroline Ferrell (V) 6-2, 6-1No. 6: Katie Potts (ND) def. Liberty Sveke (V) 6-2, 6-0Order of Finish: 6, 2, 1, 5, 4, 3*DoublesNo. 1: #3 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Fish/Taylor (V) 9-7No. 2: * #29 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Bertrand/Ferrell (V) 9-7No. 3: Lauren Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Ulery/Sveke (V) 8-4Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1* - indicates clinching victory