April 14, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 13th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team closes out its 2000 regular season by playing host to 43rd-ranked Miami on Sat., April 14, at 10:30 a.m. at the Courtney Tennis Center. Head coach Jay Louderback enters the match with 399 coaching victories in his career. The Irish are coming off a 8-0 win over Indiana and a 6-3 win at 16th-ranked William & Mary last weekend.
UP NEXT FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame meets BIG EAST rival Miami on Saturday at the Courtney Tennis Center. The 43rd-ranked Hurricanes enter the match with a 9-9 record and are led by junior Alanna Broderick, who is 20-12 in singles this season. Notre Dame and Miami have played five matches previously with the Irish winning four of the five. The teams have met in the BIG EAST championship match every year since the Irish joined the conference in 1995-96. Notre Dame won 4-0 in 1996 and 1997, lost 4-2 in 1998 and won 4-2 in 1999.
WEEK IN REVIEW: Notre Dame won four singles matches and took two of three doubles matches to beat 16th-ranked William & Mary 6-3 for its second won over the Tribe this season. Sophomore Becky Varnum won a tight singles match and then teamed with junior All-American Michelle Dasso to clinch the win at No. 1 doubles. Notre Dame swept the second half of the singles lineup in straight sets with wins by sophomores Nina Vaughan and Lindsey Green and freshman Katie Cunha. The top half of the singles match all went to three sets, with William & Mary winning two. At No. 1 singles 34th-ranked Carlijn Buis rallied to beat 16th-ranked Dasso, while 89th-ranked Carolijn van Rossum held off Irish junior Kelly Zalinski at No. 3 singles. With the Irish leading 3-2, Varnum rallied to beat 53rd-ranked Delphine Troch 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) at No. 2 singles to give Notre Dame a 4-2 lead after singles. Green and Zalinski had their 11-match doubles winning streak snapped when Arthur and Sullivan pulled the Tribe within 4-3 after an 8-4 win at No. 2 doubles. The 24th-ranked team of Dasso and Varnum then clinched the win with an 8-5 victory over 29th-ranked Buis and Troch at No. 1 doubles. Cunha and senior Sarah Scaringe won 8-6 at No. 3 doubles to complete the 6-3 win. The Irish beat the Tribe 5-2 in the first meeting of the season between the teams in the first round of the UTSA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 17. The Irish did not drop a set in beating 51st-ranked Indiana 8-0 on Tuesday for its fifth consecutive win over the Hoosiers. Dasso clinched the Irish win with a 6-1, 6-3 victory against Jessica Anderson at No. 1 singles. Varnum completed the sweep of singles with her win over Kelly Blanch at No. 2 singles. Varnum rallied from 3-6 down to win the first set tiebreaker 8-6 and won 6-2 in the second set. With No. 2 and 3 doubles having already begun and the outcome of the match determined, Noo. 1 doubles was not played. Cunha and senior Sara Scaringe won the final three games to defeat Barnet and Poosuthasee 8-5 at No. 3 doubles. Green and Zalinski held on for a 9-8 (7-4) win over Field and Hsia at No. 2 doubles.
IRISH NEAR BEST RECORD: A win over the Hurricanes on Saturday would give the Irish their best regular-season finish ever under 11th-year head coach Jay Louderback at 19-5, topping the 18-6 mark of the 1996 team that finished 22-7. Notre Dame already has clinched its seventh season with fewer than 10 losses in 11 seasons under Louderback.
ZALINSKI GOES FOR SCHOOL RECORD: Senior Kelly Zalinski can set the Notre Dame school record for career singles wins in the final regular-season home match of her carer against Miami on Saturday. She beat Indiana’s Amanda Field 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 singles on Tuesday to win her 116th career singles match, tying former Irish All-American Jennifer Hall (1995-99) for the school record. Zalinski also needs just five more combined singles and doubles wins to match Hall for the most total victories in Irish history. Zalinski enters the Miami match with 116 wins in singles and 88 in doubles for a total of 202. Hall compiled 116 singles wins and 209 singles and doubles. With five singles victories in the fall, Zalinski joined Hall and Marissa Velasco (1995-99) as the only Notre Dame women’s tennis players to win 100 singles matches under Jay Louderback.
HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK NEARS 400TH WIN: Jay Louderback — in his 21st year of coaching — stands one win from his milestone 400th coaching victory with a career record of 399-272 (.595). He is in his 11th year as head coach of the Irish and has compiled a 195-94 (.675) record at Notre Dame. His 1999 team won 23 dual matches, matching his ’95 Irish for Notre Dame’s most wins at the NCAA Division I level. He has guided the Irish to NCAA championship appearances in six of the last seven years, including a national quarterfinal appearance in 1996. His teams have finished among the top 20 teams in the country in five of the last seven years and in the top 30 in all but two of his years at Notre Dame. The Arkansas City, Kan., native, and 1976 graduate of Wichita State has been named the ITA regional coach of the year twice in 1995 and 1998 and was named BIG EAST coach of the year after leading the Irish to BIG EAST championship titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999. His Notre Dame players have won 10 All-America honors in his 10 years.
IRISH SINGLES SOLID: Only four teams have beaten the Irish singles lineup in 2000: Duke, USC, Stanford and Pepperdine. The Irish have split six matches with Wake Forest and Northwestern and won four of six singles matches against Washington and North Carolina and twice against William & Mary. Notre Dame won five singles matches against Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa, BYU and Michigan and swept Hawaii, Yale, Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas, Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana. Overall, the Irish are 99-38 (.723) in singles in dual matches for an average lead after singles of approximately 4.3 to 1.7 per match. Notre Dame has won at least four singles matches in 17 of the 23 dual matches.
DASSO IN DUAL MATCHES: Junior All-American Michelle Dasso continues to be one of the top singles players in dual matches during the Jay Louderback era at Notre Dame. She has compiled a record of 65-12 (.844) during her two-plus seasons at mostly No. 1 singles. Only four other Irish players have won more dual singles matches under Louderback, including 74 by senior Kelly Zalinski. Dasso has won 32 of her last 37 dual singles matches at No. 1 singles. She also needs just five wins to become the first junior and fourth Irish player under Louderback with at least 100 singles wins.
IRISH VS. MIDWEST REGION OPPONENTS: Notre Dame won its final Midwest Region match of the regular season against the Indiana on Tuesday, brining its winning streak to 34 against regional opponents in regular-season matches. Wisconsin is the last Midwest team to beat Notre Dame during the regular season when the eighth-ranked Badgers beat the seventh-ranked Irish 4-3 on April 15, 1996. Notre Dame has an overall record of 39-3 against Midwest Region opponents since the start of the 1996 season and has finished as the top-ranked regional team in 1996, 1998 and 1999. The Irish were 8-0 against regional opponents this season, winning those matches by a combined score of 62-9.
GREEN AND ZALINSKI FORM TALENTED TANDEM: Senior Kelly Zalinski and junior Lindsey Green continue to be a solid doubles team for the Irish with a 23-9 record, including 15-4 in dual matches. The pair went 5-3 at No. 3 doubles to start 2000, including a win against North Carolina to clinch the 5-4 victory and a win over Maren Haus and Jackie Houston of Wake Forest. After that win, the duo moved up to No. 2 doubles and have a 10-1 record at that spot. They saved three match points before beating Kentucky’s 24th-ranked Leigh Bradwell and Brooke Skeen 9-8 (7-3) on March 5. The pair defeated Pepperdine’s 45th-ranked Kurz and Mueller 8-3 on March 18. Green and Zalinski first paired together midway through the 1999 season and went 13-4 at No. 3 doubles.
GREEN LEADS IN DUAL MATCHES: Sophomore Lindsey Green leads the Irish with a 19-4 record in dual singles matches — including a 17-4 record at No. 5 singles — and a 16-4 record in dual doubles matches with Kelly Zalinski. She has won seven consecutive singles matches and has 10 wins in her last 11 singles matches. Green’s 24 overall singles wins leads the team, while her 24 doubles wins is tied with Zalinski and Katie Cunha.
IRISH UNBEATEN AT HOME: Notre Dame enters the Miami match with a 9-0 record at home and is looking for its first unbeaten season at home since 1990. The Irish were 8-0 at home that season in head coach Jay Louderback’s first year at Notre Dame. Seven of those wins came in the Eck Tennis Pavilion, the last season the Irish had an unbeaten record in the indoor facility.
VARNUM WINS FOUR STRAIGHT, FIVE STRAIGHT: Sophomore Becky Varnum has won four consecutive matches at No. 2 singles and five consecutive at No. 1 doubles with Michelle Dasso. Varnum played a large role in Notre Dame’s win over William & Mary on Sunday with her win over 53rd-ranked Delphine Troch at No. 2 singles. After losing the first set 6-4, Varnum won 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) to give the Irish a 4-2 lead after singles as the last singles match completed. She later clinched the win at No. 1 doubles with Dasso. After an 11-12 start in singles, Varnum has won seven of her last nine singles matches, including wins over two ranked opponents. She and Dasso have a 16-5 record in doubles and an 11-3 mark at No. 1 doubles with a 5-1 record against ranked opponents.
ITA RANKINGS: The Irish stand 13th among the 75 teams ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association after a preseason ranking of 18th. Junior All-American Michelle Dasso is ranked 16th in singles and 27th in doubles with Becky Varnum. Freshman Katie Cunha and junior Kimberly Guy are ranked 47th in doubles.
CUNHA FILLS IN, CLINCHES WINS: Freshman Katie Cunha has made an impressive move into the singles lineup at No. 6 singles with a 10-1 record at that position and a 12-1 overall record in dual singles matches. Cunha dropped just one set in winning her first five singles matches at No. 6. In her first match against 12th-ranked Northwestern, Cunha beat Jennifer Lutgert 6-4, 6-4 after trailing 1-4 in the second set. Her 6-3 fall record in singles included two losses to Lutgert before her win in the dual match. Against Iowa, Kentucky and Purdue, Cunha’s singles wins clinched the victories for the Irish. Cunha has won her last six matches, all in straight sets.
IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: Notre Dame concludes its 2000 regular-season schedule against Miami after playing 10 top-25 opponents in 24 matches. After Saturday the Irish will have played 22 ranked opponents in 24 matches. The Irish made their seventh consecutive appearance at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships in February. Notre Dame will defend its 1999 BIG EAST championship April 20-23, at Miami. The Irish are scheduled to play or have played eight matches against the top 17 teams, including three of the top five.
VAUGHAN WINS KEY MATCHES: A much improved player from a year ago when she was slowed by injury in the second half of the season, sophomore Nina Vaughan has compiled an overall singles record of 20-12 and 15-7 in dual matches, with wins over Iowa’s Shera Wiegler and USC’s Veronika Safarova in the fall. She recorded her first career win over a ranked opponent when she defeated North Carolina’s 101st-ranked Kendrick Bunn 6-4, 6-1 at No. 4 singles. Vaughan then rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Wake Forest’s Maren Haus at No. 4 singles the next day. She enters the Miami match with wins in her last six matches and in 10 of her last 11, losing only 7-6 in the third set to Pepperdine’s Paolo Palencia.
20-WIN SEASON: The Irish need just two more wins this season to reach the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in the last five years. Notre Dame went 23-7 last year, matching the 1996 team for the best record for the Irish under head coach Jay Louderback and at the NCAA Division I level.