#2 Irish Cruise Through NCAA Opening Round

May 12, 2006


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The second-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (25-1) – sporting an all-time high No. 2 national seeding – opened play in the NCAA Division I Championship in impressive fashion, dropping just four total games en route to a 5-0 victory against Mid-Continent Conference champion Valparaiso (15-8) Friday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish advanced to the round of 32 for the fourth consecutive year and will next take on #29 Michigan on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ET). Notre Dame – aiming to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2001 – won 6-1 against the Wolverines on Feb. 15 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Irish won 91 of the 95 games that were completed (22 of 23 in doubles, 69 of 72 in singles) and posted a pair of shutouts in doubles, as well as three “double bagels” in singles in the first matchup between the schools since the fall of 1982. Notre Dame did its work swiftly, taking just 73 minutes to win the match (23 to take the doubles point).

“I thought we played really well,” said Irish head coach Jay Louderback. “The scores weren’t really close, but the Valpo kids fought hard. From the first point in the singles and doubles, everybody played well.”

Notre Dame remained perfect in doubles, winning the point for the 26th time in as many matches. First off were Irish seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy), who won 8-0 over Jill Dierberg and Charmaine Stanislaw at No. 3. The veterans have won seven in a row and stand 33-6 on the season, including 22-1 in dual-match play. They have been dominating of late, posting three 8-0 wins in their last five matches after not having any to their credit prior to that.

Clinching the doubles point was the team of sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.), who won 8-0 against Whitney Chada and Kate Evangelist at No. 2. That ND duo has won five in a row and is 32-5 overall this season, including 22-3 in dual action. It was their first shutout since reuniting at Notre Dame as a doubles team (following a highly-successful career together in the juniors). Buck and Tefft clinched the doubles point for the 11th time this season, breaking the Notre Dame record of 10 doubles-point clinches in a season, which was done by Becky Varnum and current assistant coach Michelle Dasso in 2000-01.

At No. 1, Irish junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), ranked fifth in the country, were leading 6-1 against Rachel Janssen and Jenny Schwartz when that was abandoned.

All four singles matches that were completed ended within minutes of each other, but first done was freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.), who beat Kim Sajevic 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6. The Irish rookie improved to 27-5 on the season, including 21-2 in dual play, registering her second “double bagel” as a collegian. She has now won 21 consecutive singles matches indoors.

Next off was Christian Thompson, ranked 113th nationally, who beat Dierberg 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2. She is now 21-11 overall and 14-8 in dual matches.

Buck and Tefft finished their matches nearly simultaneously, with the older player ending just quick enough to earn the clinching victory for herself. Buck, ranked 87th, downed Chada 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 for her seventh consecutive victory. She has a team-high seven match-clinching wins to her credit this season, including six in Notre Dame’s last nine matches. Buck stands 23-9 overall and 17-6 in dual play. She has won 17 straight matches against the ITA’s Midwest Region, dating back to a loss to Michigan’s Debra Streifler on Oct. 22.

Tefft won 6-0, 6-0 against Evangelist at No. 4. She has won six in a row and is 27-5 overall and 19-4 in dual action. Tefft stands 14-1 at home this season and has now posted three “double bagels” in her last five matches, while dropping just a single game in another.

Catrina Thompson, ranked 30th, held a 6-1, 5-0 lead over Janssen at No. 1 when that match was abandoned. Stastny was up 6-0, 4-1 against Stanislaw at No. 5.

Notre Dame improved to 15-0 at home and 17-0 indoors this season, as well as 15-0 vs. teams from the Midwest Region.

The Irish are 15-12 all-time in the NCAA tournament and have won at least one match in 12 of their 13 appearances. Notre Dame moved to 12-3 when taking on lower-ranked teams, as well as 7-2 at home.

The Wolverines won a marathon match against Nebraska Friday morning, as Streifler prevailed 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4) at No. 4 in the final contest remaining to hand Michigan a 4-3 victory and end a match that lasted three hours and 58 minutes.

[No. 2 seed] #2 Notre Dame 5, [No. 49-64 seed] Valparaiso 0SinglesNo. 1:  #30 Catrina Thompson (ND) led Rachel Janssen (V) 6-1, 5-0, abandonedNo. 2:  #113 Christian Thompson (ND) def. Jill Dierberg (V) 6-0, 6-1No. 3:  * #87 Brook Buck (ND) def. Whitney Chada (V) 6-0, 6-0No. 4:  Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Kate Evangelist (V) 6-0, 6-0No. 5:  Kristina Stastny (ND) led Charmaine Stanislaw (V) 6-0, 4-1, abandonedNo. 6:  Katie Potts (ND) def. Kim Sajevic (V) 6-0, 6-0Order of Finish: 6, 2, 3, 4*DoublesNo. 1:  #5 Thompson/Thompson (ND) led Janssen/Jenny Schwartz (V) 6-1, abandonedNo. 2:  * Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Chada/Evangelist (V) 8-0No. 3:  Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Dierberg/Stanislaw (V) 8-0Order of Finish: 3, 2** - indicates clinching victory