Feb. 7, 2002
MADISON, Wis. – The 13th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team avenged an exhibition loss by upsetting #7 USC 5-2 in first-round action Thursday at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center. The Irish won the doubles point and four of six singles matches to gain a victory and advance to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row. Notre Dame will face #4 Vanderbilt Friday at 3:30 p.m. CST. The Commodores defeated 17th-ranked Northwestern in first-round action.
The Irish improve to 3-3 this season and snapped a two-match losing skid. Southern California is 2-2 after losing two straight matches. UCLA defeated the Trojans 5-2 last weekend.
Notre Dame won the doubles point with wins at the bottom two positions. Senior Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) and sophomore Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) gained an 8-4 win at No. 3 before the 53rd-ranked team of junior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) and freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) delivered an 8-6 upset of Anita Loyola and Luana Magnani, the 24th-ranked team in the country, who had defeated Connelly and Cunha in fall action. Tiffany Brymer and Jewel Peterson, ranked 10th, gained a win at No. 1 for the Trojans.
In singles action, Nos. 1, 3 and 5 were played first with the other three matches following. The Irish won two of three in each wave of matches. Peterson, ranked 13th nationally in singles, avenged a fall loss to Irish senior Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 1. Notre Dame senior Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) registered an upset of 91st-ranked Loyola 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3, while Salas defeated Brymer 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5. Salas has a 9-0 career singles record in dual matches and has won nine in a row overall this season, as well as 12 of her last 13 matches. Connelly clinched the Irish win with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph at No. 6 over Bernadette Bayani. After the outcome was determined, Vaughan gained a 7-6, 6-3 upset win over 34th-ranked Magnani at No. 2, while Maureen Diaz won 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 1-0 (10-2) at No. 4.
The Irish and Trojans faced off last October in an exhibition match in the Eck Tennis Pavilion with USC gaining a 5-2 win. The Trojans won the doubles point and then gained victories at Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 singles.
Notre Dame and USC have met only three times in official matches, but all have come in the Team Indoor Championships over the past four years with the Trojans winning in 2000 and the Irish coming out victorious in 1999.
The Irish and Commodores will meet for the fourth time, but the third in the Team Indoors. Vanderbilt downed Notre Dame in 1997 and 1998 in this tournament, while the Irish gained a win in the 1996 Federated Insurance Court Classic.
The National Team Indoor Championships is the premier national team indoor tournament. It features 16 of the top teams in the country and has been held each year since 1988. The Irish are competing for the ninth consecutive season, finished in a fifth-place tie last year and have compiled a 12-13 overall record, highlighted by quarterfinal appearances in 1994 and 2001. Fourteen of the 16 teams are ranked in the top 21 of the current ITA national rankings and the field includes six of the top seven teams nationally.
#13 Notre Dame 5, #7 USC 2
No. 1: #13 Jewel Peterson (USC) d. #58 Becky Varnum (ND) 6-2, 6-1
No. 2: Nina Vaughan (ND) d. #34 Luana Magnani (USC) 7-6, 6-3
No. 3: Lindsey Green (ND) d. #91 Anita Loyola (USC) 6-2, 6-3
No. 4: #46 Maureen Diaz (USC) d. Katie Cunha (ND) 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 1-0 (10-2)
No. 5: Alicia Salas (ND) d. Tiffany Brymer (USC) 6-3, 6-3
No. 6: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Bernadette Bayani (USC) 6-4, 6-3
No. 1: #10 Brymer/Peterson (USC) d. #29 Green/Varnum (ND) 8-5
No. 2: #53 Connelly/Cunha (ND) d. #24 Loyola/Magnani (USC) 8-6
No. 3: Salas/Vaughan (ND) d. Bayani/Melissa Esmero (USC) 8-4