April 7, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 14th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team travels to 16th-ranked William & Mary for a 10:30 a.m. match on Sun., April 9, before returning home to play host to 51st-ranked Indiana on Tue., April 11, at 3:00 p.m. Notre Dame lost just one match in beating three regional opponents last week in Michigan, Wisconsin and Purdue.
UP NEXT FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame and William & Mary will meet for the ninth time on Sunday and for the second time this season when the Irish travel to Williamsburg, Va. The Irish defeated the Tribe 5-2 in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 17. Notre Dame won the doubles point in the experimental format and then won four of six singles matches for the victory. Sophomore Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) provided the clinching point with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Lindsay Sullivan at No. 5 singles. Junior All-American Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) and sophomores Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) also posted singles wins. The duos of Dasso and Varnum and freshman Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) and junior Kimberly Guy (Portola Valley, Calif.) clinched the doubles point for the Irish. The Irish-Tribe series is tied at 4-4 after wins by Notre Dame in the last two matches. Junior Carolyn Buis is ranked 34th in singles, while sophomore Delphine Troch is ranked 53rd. Buis and Troch are ranked 29th in doubles. Senior Carolyn Van Rossum is 89th in singles. Tribe head coach Brian Kalbas, a 1989 graduate of Notre Dame, played on the Irish men’s team and served as assistant coach of the Notre Dame men’s tennis team from 1990-92 before leaving to coach at William & Mary. Notre Dame returns home to face Midwest region opponent Indiana on Tues., April 11. The 44th-ranked Hoosiers enter the weekend with a 10-7 record and will play host to Michigan State and Michigan this weekend before traveling to Notre Dame. Junior Jessica Anderson leads the Hoosiers with a 20-9 singles record, including 11 dual-match wins. She and senior Kelly Blanch are ranked 32nd in doubles. Indiana leads the all-time series with Notre Dame 9-4, with all four Irish wins coming in the last four meetings.
IRISH VS. MIDWEST REGION OPPONENTS: Notre Dame enters its final Midwest Region match of the 2000 regular season against the Indiana with a winning streak of 33 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 38-3 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.
WEEK IN REVIEW: Notre Dame lost just one individual match in beating regional opponents Michigan, Wisconsin and Purdue by a combined 26-1. Against the 57th-ranked Wolverines, the Irish won five of six singles match and swept the doubles for an 8-1 victory, their sixth consecutive over Michigan. Michelle Dasso led Notre Dame with wins at No. 1 singles and doubles. Senior Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.), sophomores Nina Vaughan and Lindsey Green and freshmen Katie Cunha all won in straight sets at Nos. 3-6 singles. The Irish lost just one set against both 58th-ranked Wisconsin and 57th-ranked Purdue in winning both matches by 9-0 wins. The No. 1 doubles team of Dasso and Becky Varnum defeated a pair of nationally ranked opponents in the wins. They beat Wisconsin’s 35th-ranked April Gabler and Lara Vojnov 8-2 and Purdue’s 20th-ranked Jennifer Embry and Shannon Taheny 8-2.
ZALINSKI SET TO TIE SCHOOL RECORD: Senior Kelly Zalinski needs just one more singles win to reach 116 in her career and tie former Irish All-American Jennifer Hall (1995-99) for the most career singles wins in Irish history. Zalinski also needs just seven more combined singles and doubles wins to match Hall for the most total victories in Irish history. Zalinski enters the William & Mary match with 115 wins in singles and 87 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.
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, William & Mary and North Carolina. Notre Dame won five singles matches against Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa, BYU and Michigan and swept Hawaii, Yale, Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas, Wisconsin and Purdue. Overall, the Irish are 89-36 (.742) 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 15 of the 21 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 64-11 (.853) during her two-plus seasons at mostly No. 1 singles. Only four other Irish players have won more dual singles matches under Louderback, including 73 by senior Kelly Zalinski. Dasso has won 31 of her last 35 dual singles matches at No. 1 singles.
GREEN AND ZALINSKI FORM TALENTED TANDEM: Riding an 11-match winning streak, senior Kelly Zalinski and junior Lindsey Green continue to be a solid doubles team for the Irish with a 22-8 record, including 14-3 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 9-0 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.
IRISH UNBEATEN AT HOME: Notre Dame enters the Indiana match with an 8-0 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.
ITA RANKINGS: The Irish stand 14th among the 75 teams ranked by the ITA. Junior All-American Michelle Dasso is ranked 16th in singles and 24th in doubles with Becky Varnum. Freshman Katie Cunha and junior Kimberly Guy are ranked 38th in doubles.
IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: After facing nine top-25 opponents already in 21 matches, the Irish are scheduled to meet at least three more ranked teams, including Sunday’s match at 16th-ranked William & Mary. Notre Dame is 8-0 at home with the remaining matches of the 10-match home schedule to feature Indiana and BIG EAST rival Miami (Fla.). 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 7 of the top 16 teams, including three of the top five.
CUNHA FILLS IN, CLINCHES WINS: Freshman Katie Cunha has made an impressive move into the singles lineup at No. 6 singles with a 9-1 record at that position and a 10-1 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.
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 17-12 and 13-7 in dual matches, with wins over Iowa’s Shera Wiegler and USC’s Veronika Safarova in the fall. Vaughan, in her first season as a regular in the singles lineup, won three matches in early March to help the Irish win four matches in five days. She rallied from a first-set loss to provide the clinching match at No. 4 singles against Ohio State and then won in a third-set tiebreaker against Iowa to help the Irish clinch the match after singles. The week before, 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.
HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 11th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 193-94 (.672) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 397-272 (.593) in 19-plus seasons of coaching. 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.
20-WIN SEASON: The Irish need just four 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.