March 10, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team – playing for the first time since moving up to an all-time high of #2 in the national rankings – did not drop a set in singles or doubles en route to a 7-0 victory against #49 Western Michigan (8-3) Friday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish improved to 12-0 for just the second time in program history (also in 1983-84) and are now 7-0 against the Midwest Region, while the Broncos saw their seven-match winning streak ended.
Notre Dame – which played without its top player, junior All-American Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), who was sidelined due to injury – has now registered 7-0 victories in half of its matches this spring, including in each of the last three. Friday marked the fourth time the Irish have won every set in singles and doubles this season. In singles, Notre Dame lost just 29 total games (2.4 per set) and more than three in only three sets.
The Irish won the doubles point for the 12th time in as many contests and earned a sweep for the ninth time. In all, Notre Dame stands 33-3 (.917) in partnered play this spring, with 24 of those matches (67%) seeing the opponent win three games or fewer.
With Thompson out, the Irish teams that normally play Nos. 2 and 3 shifted up to the top two spots in the lineup, and junior All-American Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – Catrina’s twin sister – teamed with freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) at No. 3. Notre Dame handled a Western Michigan squad that had been experiencing a good deal of doubles success this spring, winning the doubles point in nine of its first 10 matches.
Off the court first was the 47th-ranked team of seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy), who won 8-3 against Kerstin Pahl from Germany and Indian Reedhina Parekh at No. 2. It was a matchup of power spots for both teams, as Notre Dame is a perfect 12-0 at No. 2 doubles this spring, and the Broncos had been 9-1 there. The Irish veterans – who normally play at No. 3 – are 12-0 in dual action and 23-5 overall this season. Pahl and Parekh had been 6-0 in dual action and 7-1 overall this season.
Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./ Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.), ranked 39th nationally, slid up to the No. 1 spot and clinched the doubles point for the fifth time by beating Carrie Jeanmaire and Malena Remynse, a senior from nearby Portage, Mich., 8-4. The Irish squad is now 21-3 overall this season, including 11-1 this spring (2-1 at No. 1), while the Bronco duo had been 5-1 at No. 1.
Christian Thompson and Potts completed the sweep with an 8-3 decision against Rattiya Hiranrat from Thailand and Noriko Saruta of Japan at No. 3. The WMU team took its first loss of the spring after having been 4-0 in dual play, as well as 10-2 overall. Thompson and Potts are unbeaten in two matches together, and Notre Dame improved to 12-0 at the No. 3 doubles position (WMU had been 8-2).
Moving up to the top spot in singles was 48th-ranked Christian Thompson, and she responded with a quick 6-0, 6-3 victory over Jeanmaire, the only American in Western Michigan’s singles lineup. Thompson is 16-6 on the season, including 9-3 in dual play. It was her first career triumph (in two tries) at No. 1 singles.
Buck dropped only a single game in a 6-1, 6-0 win against Reedhina Parekh at No. 1. It ended a seven-match winning streak for the Indian, who came in with a 19-7 record, including 8-1 in dual play. The Notre Dame sophomore has won four in a row and is 13-6 on the season, including 8-3 this spring. She is undefeated in two matches this season at No. 2, where she played during all of her rookie campaign.
Clinching the match for the third time in as many appearances in the singles lineup this season was Connelly, who won 6-3, 6-0 against Saruta at No. 6. The Irish team captain leads the team in clinching victories in singles and has won six consecutive matches to improve to 11-6 (3-0 dual). It was her 70th career singles victory (in 120 completed matches). Saruta had been 18-4 on the season (5-1 in dual action).
Potts won her 16th consecutive match, prevailing 6-2, 6-2 against another freshman, Pahl, at No. 5. The Notre Dame rookie has not lost since Oct. 22 and now stands 18-3 on the season, including 12-0 in dual play. Pahl was defeated for the first time in dual play, after starting the spring with seven straight wins.
The closest matches of the day came in the middle of the singles lineup. Priyanka Parekh of India was a challenge to Stastny at No. 4, but the Irish senior eventually prevailed 7-5, 7-5. The Bronco held 4-1 and 5-2 advantages in the second set before Stastny won five straight games. She leads the team with a 20-5 overall record this season in singles, including 11-1 in dual play. Stastny has won five in a row.
In the longest match, Tefft won 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 against Hiranrat at No. 3. The ND freshman has won seven in a row and stands 17-2 on the season, including 9-1 in dual action.
Next up for the Irish will be a challenging spring-break trip south. Notre Dame will first try to accomplish another program first, when it takes on #7 Duke on Wednesday at 10 a.m. (ET) in Sanlando Park in Orlando, Fla. The Blue Devils hold a perfect 12-0 all-time record against the Irish, though they had to rally from a 3-0 deficit and win a third-set tiebreaker in the final match to salvage a 4-3 victory last year. Notre Dame will then head west to the state of Texas to face #42 Texas A&M on Saturday, March 18 at 1:30 p.m. (CT) and then 10th-ranked Texas on Monday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m. (CT).
Notes: Notre Dame’s only previous start of 12-0 came in 1983-84, when the Irish won their first 15 matches … this is the longest winning streak (at any point in the season) since winning 12 in a row from March 28-May 15, 1999 … the Irish have won 13 in a row at home (9-0 this season), the longest home winning streak since a 13-match stretch from Feb. 4, 2001 – Jan. 26, 2002 … ND has now won four in a row when ranked in the national top five … Notre Dame is a perfect 12-0 at No. 6 singles and Nos. 2 and 3 doubles … as a team, Notre Dame is 33-3 in doubles this spring, with 24 of those matches (67%) seeing the opponent win three games or fewer … ND has now won 10 in a row (dating back to a loss in 1987) against Western Michigan and leads the all-time series 12-4 … the Irish have won six of their 12 matches by 7-0 scores.
#2 Notre Dame 7, #49 Western Michigan 0SinglesNo. 1: #48 Christian Thompson (ND) def. Carrie Jeanmaire (WMU) 6-0, 6-3No. 2: Brook Buck (ND) def. Reedhina Parekh (WMU) 6-1, 6-0No. 3: Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Rattiya Hiranrat (WMU) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2No. 4: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Priyanka Parekh (WMU) 7-5, 7-5No. 5: Katie Potts (ND) def. Kerstin Pahl (WMU) 6-2, 6-2No. 6: * Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Noriko Saruta (WMU) 6-3, 6-0Order of Finish: 1, 2, 6*, 5, 4, 3DoublesNo. 1: * #39 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Jeanmaire/Malena Remynse (WMU) 8-4No. 2: #47 Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Pahl/R. Parekh (WMU) 8-3No. 3: Potts/Ch. Thompson (ND) def. Hiranrat/Surata (WMU) 8-3Order of Finish: 2, 1*, 3
* - indicates clinching victory