April 9, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The second-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (21-1, 2-0) concluded the regular season with its most-dominating victory of the campaign, losing just 16 total games en route to a 7-0 win against Marquette (9-15, 1-4) Sunday afternoon at the Courtney Tennis Center. The Irish rested their top player, junior All-American Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), but still dropped just 10 total games in singles – their fewest in a match since 1989 – in a Senior Day victory against BIG EAST competition.
Notre Dame swept the doubles matches for the 15th time, dropping just six total games and finishing the regular season having taken the doubles point in all 22 matches this spring. In all, the Irish have a 59-7 (.894) combined record in partnered play this spring, going 18-4 at No. 1, 20-2 at No. 2, and 21-1 at No. 3.
In singles, ND was even more impressive, losing no more than three games in any match and not allowing a game in half of the 12 sets. It was the fewest games lost in singles by the Irish since dropping 10 in a 9-0 win over Western Illinois on March 18, 1989, in the final season before the arrival of current Notre Dame head coach Jay Louderback.
The other storyline on Sunday was that it was the final regular-season home match for the five seniors on Notre Dame’s roster. Three of them saw action on Sunday, all excelling. The trademark performance was turned in by senior team captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.), who was perfect. She paired with fellow senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) for an 8-0 win at No. 2 doubles and then went on to triumph 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6 singles. Stastny lost just three games in a victory at No. 4 singles, while senior Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Preparatory School) earned a start at No. 3 doubles and came through with an 8-4 victory.
First off the court in doubles was the pair of seniors, who blanked Dominika Dabrowski and Robin Metzler in a match that lasted less than half an hour. Connelly and Stastny earned their first 8-0 win as a doubles team and just the second this season for the Irish. Catrina and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) shut out a team from South Florida on Oct. 6 in the first round of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. The Irish seniors became just the second team in Notre Dame history to post 30+ victories in a season, improving to 30-6 in 2005-06, including 19-1 in dual play.
Clinching the doubles point for the eighth time this season was the team of sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.), ranked 39th in the nation. They moved up to the No. 1 spot and beat Francina Bonnelly and Maria Calbeto 8-2. Buck and Tefft are 29-5 on the season, including 19-3 in dual play. They have a 5-1 record when moving up to the top spot in place of the Thompson twins.
At No. 3, Nelson and Christian Thompson – teaming together for the first time – won 8-4 over Kathleen Donovan and Erin Watkins to complete the sweep. The senior improved to 8-4 on the season, included 3-0 in dual play, while Thompson is 22-4 overall and 16-3 in duals.
Connelly was done first in singles, beating Donovan 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6. It extended her singles winning streak to nine matches and moved her record to 14-6 on the season, including 6-0 in dual play. Connelly also notched a “double bagel” at No. 5 against Xavier on Jan. 27. She finished her career with a 31-13 single record at home, including wins in her last nine matches, to go with a 38-12 mark in doubles.
Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) was done next, beating Metzler 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5. She became the first Irish player to register 20 singles victories this spring, improving to 20-2 in dual action, as well as 26-5 overall.
The clinching win came from Tefft for the third time this season, as she won 6-0, 6-0 against Dabrowski at No. 3. It was the first 6-0, 6-0 win for Tefft as a collegian, as she moved to 24-5 on the season, including 16-4 in dual-match action. She remained a perfect 8-0 in singles matches outdoors.
Stastny fell behind early, but then won the final 10 games of the match to beat Bonnelly 6-3, 6-0 at No. 4. She holds the team lead in overall singles wins with a 27-7 mark, including 18-3 in dual action. Stastny had great success at home throughout her career, going 39-14 in singles and 39-13 in doubles.
Christian Thompson, ranked 73rd in the nation, beat Calbeto 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 to improve to 20-10 on the season, including 13-7 in duals. She is 2-1 when filling the top spot in the singles lineup.
In the longest match, Buck beat Watkins 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2. The ND sophomore has won five in a row and is now 21-9 this season, including 15-6 in dual-match action.
Notre Dame was 14-0 at home this season – including four wins over top-25 teams – and has now won 18 straight on their home courts, the third-longest streak in program history. The Irish also moved to 13-0 against the Midwest Region this season.
It was Notre Dame’s 10th 7-0 victory, its most in one season since the current seven-point scoring format was adopted in 2000-01.
Next up for the Irish is the BIG EAST Conference Championship, set for April 20-23 at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
#2 Notre Dame 7, Marquette 0SinglesNo. 1: #73 Christian Thompson (ND) def. Maria Calbeto (M) 6-0, 6-2No. 2: Brook Buck (ND) def. Erin Watkins (M) 6-1, 6-2No. 3: * Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Dominika Dabrowski (M) 6-0, 6-0No. 4: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Francina Bonnelly (M) 6-3, 6-0No. 5: Katie Potts (ND) def. Robin Metzler (M) 6-1, 6-1No. 6: Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Kathleen Donovan (M) 6-0, 6-0Order of Finish: 6, 5, 3*, 4, 1, 2DoublesNo. 1: * #39 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Bonnelly/Calbeto (M) 8-2No. 2: Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Dabrowski/Metzler (M) 8-0No. 3: Kelly Nelson/Chr. Thompson (ND) def. Donovan/Watkins (M) 8-4Order of Finish: 2, 1*, 3* - indicates clinching victory