May 16, 2006
NCAA Division I Women's Tennis ChampionshipsStanford, California â€¢ Taube Tennis Center- Live Scoring & Video For All Matches: gostanford.com (also linked on und.com)Round of 16 - Thursday, May 18, Noon (PT)[No. 2 seed] #2 Notre Dame (26-1) vs. #20 Kentucky (19-9)Quarterfinals - Friday, May 19, 3 p.m. (PT)Semifinals - Sunday, May 21, 9 a.m. (PT)Championship - Monday, May 22, 6:30 p.m. (PT); ESPN2 (to air on May 30)NCAA Singles & Doubles Championships - May 23-28
Irish Items: Highlights of This Notes Package …
– Notre Dame – having its best season ever – has won 10 straight and stands 26-1. Its defeat came by a 4-3 score on March 29 at Vanderbilt. VU won 7-6 (11), 7-6 (4) at No. 3 with the score tied 3-3.
– The Irish have been ranked an all-time high of #2 in eight of the last nine sets of ITA national rankings (tied with USC in the most-recent one). Prior to this season, ND’s top ranking was fifth in 2001.
– ND cruised to its second straight BIG EAST title (7th in 11 yrs.), beating host South Florida 4-1 in the final to earn an NCAA automatic bid. Catrina Thompson was tourney MVP for second straight year.
– ND earned its highest-ever seed (No. 2) in the NCAA tournament (previous best was No. 5-8 in 1996).
– The Irish were dominant at home to open the NCAAs, beating Valparaiso and #29 Michigan by 4-0 scores. ND went 133-22 (.858) in singles games, losing more than three in just one match.
– No one on ND’s current roster has previously seen the Irish advance this far in the NCAA tournament. – The Irish are in the NCAA round of 16 for the sixth time (also 1993, `94, `96, 2000, 2001). Notre Dame’s only deeper run came in 1996, when it reached the quarterfinals.
– ND has qualified for the NCAA tournament 11 straight years and 13 times in the last 14 seasons.
– Jay Louderback – coach of the year in the BIG EAST and ITA Midwest Region and a candidate for the national honor – is 308-147 (.677) in 17 years at ND and 512-325 (.612) in 27 years overall.
– ND is 5-1 in 4-3 matches, with wins over Wake Forest, Duke, Texas A&M, Purdue, and Northwestern.
– ND is 4-0 vs. top-10 teams and 11-1 vs. top-30 foes. ND has gone up 4-0 in 20 of 27 matches.
– ND has won the doubles point in all 27 matches, going a combined 70-8 this spring. The Irish – who had three ranked teams most of the spring – are 21-5 at No. 1, 24-2 at No. 2, and 25-1 at No. 3
– ND has won over 75% of its matches at all but one position in its lineups (16-8 at No. 2 singles).
– The Irish have gone a combined 93-7 (.930) at the bottom two spots in their singles and doubles lineups (20-3 at No. 5, 24-1 at No. 6 singles; 24-2 at No. 2, 25-1 at No. 3 doubles).
– ND was 16-0 (best-ever start) and has won 26 matches for just the second time ever (28-6 in `85-86).
– Junior twins Catrina Thompson and Christian Thompson delivered ND’s first-ever grand-slam title by winning the ITA All-American Championshps in October. Formerly #1 in the nation, they are the only team to have been invited to the last three NCAA Doubles Championships, seeded third this year (clinching All-America status). Catrina is in the NCAA singles tournament for the second year in a row.
– Seniors Lauren Connelly and Kristina Stastny are 23-1 this spring in doubles (34-6 overall). Connelly is tied with asst. coach Michelle Dasso for the ND record for career doubles wins (109-38 record) and already holds the ND record for most doubles wins in the NCAAs (7-1 record).
– Playing without Christian Thompson, ND won 4-3 vs. #5 Duke in Orlando on March 15 (matching program’s highest-ever win) after having lost its previous 12 matches against the Blue Devils. ND also ended a seven-match skid against Northwestern and beat Tennessee for the first time since 1998.
– Notre Dame has never played a dual match at Stanford. It did have participants in the NCAA Individual Championships there in 1991, `92, and 2002, as well as in the ITA/World Team Tennis National Championships in the falls of 1999 and 2000.
– ND is 16-0 at home (20-match win streak), 16-0 vs. Midwest Region teams, and 18-0 indoors.
– 19 of ND’s 28 matches this season have come against NCAA tournament qualifiers (17-2 record).
– ND’s recruiting class for next year was ranked #1 by TennisRecruiting.net.
#2 NOTRE DAME HEADS TO STANFORD FOR NCAA ROUND-OF-16 MATCHUP WITH #20 KENTUCKY: The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (26-1) – boasting an all-time high national No. 2 seeding – will head to Stanford, Calif., this week to face #20 Kentucky (19-9) on Thursday at Noon (PT) in the round of 16 of the NCAA Division I Championship at Stanford University’s Taube Tennis Center. The Irish – making their sixth appearance in the round of 16 – will then have junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson and Christian Thompson take part in the NCAA Doubles Championship (May 24-28) for the third straight year, while Catrina will make her second straight appearance in the NCAA singles tournament (May 23-28). Stanford’s athletics website, gostanford.com, will feature live scoring and video of all matches in the championships, in addition to other special features.
IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame earned an all-time high No. 2 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament (besting its Nos. 5-8 seed in 1996) and was at home for early-round play for the first time since 2001. This is the seventh year in which the NCAA Team Championship consists of a 64-team field, with 31 conference champions garnering automatic bids and 33 at-large entries as chosen by the NCAA Women’s Tennis Committee. The first two rounds of the team championship were contested at 16 campus sites last weekend. The 16 remaining teams – 13 of which were seeded to do so – advanced to the national site, Stanford University’s Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif., for the final four rounds of the tournament, to be contested May 18-22.
Notre Dame has qualified for the team portion of the NCAA Championships for the 11th consecutive year and the 13th time in the last 14 seasons, all under the guidance of current head coach Jay Louderback. The best finish for the Irish came in 1996, when they reached the quarterfinals before losing to Stanford, 5-1, in Tallahassee, Fla. Notre Dame advanced to the round of 16 four other times previously (1993, `94, 2000, and `01). The Irish earned one of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2001 and the fifth time overall, having done so previously in 1996 (Nos. 5-8 seed), 1999 (No. 12), 2000 (Nos. 13-16), and ’01 (No. 13).
Notre Dame is 16-12 all-time in NCAA Championship play and has won at least one match in all but one of its previous appearances in the national tournament. ND is 13-3 when playing lower-ranked teams, 2-9 against higher-ranked teams, and 1-0 vs. teams with the same national ranking.
The Irish also had a good deal of success in the national championship before moving up to the Division I level. In its final four years as a Division II competitor, Notre Dame tied for sixth in the AIAW national tournament in 1982, then took third in the NCAAs a year later, repeated that finish in 1984, and was the runner-up to Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1985.
In addition to its recent team success, Notre Dame has sent at least one player to either the NCAA singles or doubles tournament every year since 1989. For the 12th time in 14 years, the Irish will have entrants in both the singles and doubles events this season. Junior Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) earned a second straight invitation to the 64-player NCAA Singles Championship, while she and twin sister Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) are in the doubles tournament for the third time in as many years. The singles event begins May 23, while the doubles competition commences the following day, with both concluding May 28. Both take place at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Jay Louderback is in his 17th season at Notre Dame with a 308-146 (.677) record and his 26th year as a collegiate coach with a 512-324 (.612) mark. He ranks seventh among active NCAA Division I coaches in career victories and became just the 10th collegiate women’s coach ever to register 500 wins (4-3 win at Texas A&M on March 18). Louderback’s Irish have finished in the national top 30 in each of the last 13 seasons and have won 13 conference titles. Since the preseason of the 1992-93 season, Louderback’s teams have been in the national top 30 in all but two sets of ITA rankings and reached an all-time high of #2 this spring. After taking over a program looking for its first NCAA tournament appearance, Louderback has helped Notre Dame to the NCAAs 13 times in the last 14 years (which only 10 other schools have done), including six appearances in the round of 16 and a 1996 quarterfinal finish. Louderback, a four-time Midwest Region coach of the year, has been honored as his conference’s top coach on nine occasions, including six times in 11 years in the BIG EAST (most recently in 2006). In his time at Notre Dame, Louderback’s players have earned All-America honors 15 times, won four national ITA awards, and earned 21 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 13 to the NCAA doubles tournament. In the fall, he delivered the first individual title in an ITA grand slam event, when junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) won the doubles crown in the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. His players have dominated the University awards during Louderback’s tenure, leading all sports in both Byron V. Kanaley awards (seven) and Francis Patrick O’Connor awards (six). His family was honored with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Tennis Family of the Year Award for 2002. The Arkansas City, Kan., native, and 1976 graduate of Wichita State arrived at Notre Dame prior to the 1989-90 season after coaching for seven years at his alma mater and three years (men and women) at Iowa State.
Notre Dame Team Notes …
IRISH IN MIDST OF BEST SEASON IN PROGRAM HISTORY: The 2005-06 campaign has been the best in the 30-year varsity history of Notre Dame women’s tennis. The Irish started 16-0 (their best-ever start) and moved all the way up to an all-time high of #2 in the ITA national rankings (where they have spent eight weeks). Notre Dame currently stands 26-1, which is the second-most victories ever for the Irish (the 1985-86 squad finished 28-6 and did not qualify for the NCAAs in the program’s first year on the Division I level). The Irish have assured themselves of posting – at most – the second-fewest defeats in program history. The 1979 (fall only) team finished with a 9-1 mark in just the fourth year of varsity competition. Among the other season highlights have been a 4-0 record against top-10 teams, defeating Duke for the first time ever (after 12 defeats – that also matched the highest-ranked win, #5, in program history), snapping a seven-match losing streak against Northwestern, topping North Carolina for the first time since 2001, beating Tennessee for the first time since 1998, and earning an all-time high NCAA seeding of #2. Additionally, the fall saw Notre Dame junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) win the doubles title in the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships to deliver the first-ever Irish title in an ITA grand slam.
ND AN ALL-TIME HIGH OF #2 IN FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS RANKINGS: Notre Dame slid back up into a tie with USC for #2 in the latest set of Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, determined by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) computer formula and released on May 1. It is the highest ITA ranking for Notre Dame since becoming a Division I program in 1985-86 (highest prior to this season was fifth in 2000-01) and the eighth time the Irish have been listed at that spot this spring (briefly slipping to third on April 25). Notre Dame moved slightly closer to two-time defending NCAA champion Stanford, as the Irish computer average of 83.12 is 12.88 behind the Cardinal’s 96.00 (last week’s margin was 16.96). Stanford has won 82 consecutive matches, dating back to the title match of the 2003 NCAA tournament. Rounding out the top five are Florida (the last team to beat Stanford) and Baylor. In all, 17 of Notre Dame’s 26 opponents this season are listed among the top 45 in this week’s rankings, with seven in the top 20: #8 North Carolina (W, 5-1), #9 Northwestern (W, 4-3), #10 Duke (W, 4-3), #12 Vanderbilt (L, 3-4), #18 Texas (W, 7-0), #17 Harvard (W, 5-2), and #21 Wake Forest (W, 4-3). Additionally, the Irish lost 4-3 to USC during the fall in exhibition action.
IRISH WIN SEVENTH BIG EAST TITLE: Notre Dame shut out Rutgers and DePaul and then posted a 4-1 victory over the tournament host, South Florida, to claim the crown in the BIG EAST Conference Championship for the second straight year. The Irish have reached the title match of the tournament in all 11 years since becoming a league member, winning seven championships. This is just the second time that Notre Dame has won back-to-back titles, after also doing that in 1996 and `97.
DOUBLES DOMINATION: Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable in partnered play this spring, going 70-8 (.897) and winning the doubles point in all 27 matches. The Irish are 21-5 at No. 1, 24-2 at No. 2, and 25-1 at No. 3. In 44 of those contests (56%), the Irish have lost just three games or fewer. 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 nationally after giving ND its first-ever grand slam title at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships and being #1 to start the spring, stand 22-5 on the season (8-3 vs. ranked teams), while the No. 2 tandem of sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) – who were reunited this season after pairing to win five USTA super national titles in juniors play – have been ranked as high as 29th and are sporting a 33-5 record (they had an 11-match winning streak snapped on Feb. 26). Seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) began the spring with a 15-match winning streak and are now 23-1, as well as 34-6 overall (3-1 against ranked teams). They fell out of the national rankings after peaking at 45th. In all, the players on Notre Dame’s roster combined for 29 USTA super national gold balls in the juniors.
BOTTOM OF ND LINEUP WINNING 93% OF MATCHES: The key to Notre Dame’s success this season has been its outstanding depth, as the Irish hold a combined 93-7 (.930) mark in the bottom two spots of their lineups. Notre Dame is 44-4 (.917) combined at Nos. 5-6 in singles, as well as 49-3 (.942) at Nos. 2-3 doubles.
IRISH 4-0 vs. TOP-10 TEAMS: After having not beaten a top-10 team since Feb. 7, 2002 (4-3 against #7 USC), Notre Dame knocked off #10 North Carolina (5-1) on Feb. 12, beat #9 Harvard (5-2) on Feb. 19, topped #5 Duke (4-3) on March 15 in Orlando, Fla, and won against #9 Northwestern (4-3) on April 5. The 2005-06 Irish squad is just the second in the 30-year history of the program to beat four or more top-10 teams in a single season. The 1995-96 team – which reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament – had wins against #5 Texas (5-4), #6 California (5-4), #9 Brigham Young (5-0), and #9 Tennessee (5-2).
ND 11-1 AGAINST TOP-30 TEAMS: Notre Dame’s success has seen the Irish take on 11 squads ranked in the national top 30 at the time of the match. The Irish have wins against #23 Wake Forest (4-3), #10 North Carolina (5-1), #30 Michigan (6-1), #22 Tennessee (7-0), #9 Harvard (5-2), #20 Brigham Young (5-2), #27 Indiana (7-0), #5 Duke (4-3), #11 Texas (7-0), #9 Northwestern (4-3), and #29 Michigan (4-0), while their only defeat came at #11 Vanderbilt (4-3). During a 15-day stretch from Feb. 11-25, Notre Dame played six matches, with all of them against top-30 teams.
19 OF ND’S MATCHES HAVE COME AGAINST NCAA QUALIFIERS: An incredible 19 of Notre Dame’s 28 matches this season have come against teams that earned invitations to the tournament: USC (No. 3 seed), Duke (No. 8), North Carolina (No. 9), Northwestern (No. 11), Vanderbilt (No. 12), Brigham Young, Harvard, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan (two matches), Purdue, South Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Valparaiso, Wake Forest, and Western Michigan. The Irish are 18-1 against that group, losing a 4-3 road decision to Vanderbilt and also dropping a 4-3 exhibition affair with USC.
PUTTING THEM AWAY FAST: Not only has Notre Dame won nearly all of its dual matches this spring, but it has put most of them away early, going up 4-0 in 20 of the 27 contests. The Irish won in the final match on court for 4-3 wins against #23 Wake Forest (Feb. 11), #5 Duke (March 15), and Texas A&M (March 18), and fell 4-3 to #11 Vanderbilt (March 29). The other contests in which ND did not clinch the match before the other side scored a point were on Feb. 25 against #20 Brigham Young (ND clinched at 4-1), April 5 vs. #9 Northwestern (ND clinched 4-2), and in the BIG EAST title match at South Florida (ND clinched 4-1).
NOTRE DAME MATCHES HIGHEST-RANKED WIN vs. #5 DUKE: When Notre Dame beat #5 Duke 4-3 on March 15 in Orlando, Fla., it matched the highest-ranked team ever defeated by the Irish. ND, ranked eighth at the time, won 5-4 at #5 Texas on April 4, 1996.
TOP ALL-TIME IRISH WINS: See pdf for a list of Notre Dame’s 17 all-time victories against top-11 teams since becoming a Division I program in 1985-86, ordered by opponent ranking.
IRISH ONE OF 11 TEAMS TO HAVE BEEN IN 13+ NCAA TOURNAMENTS SINCE 1993: The Irish have made 13 NCAA appearances since their first trip in 1993. Only 10 other schools have been invited to 13+ NCAA tournaments since `93: Arizona State, California, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Pepperdine, USC, Stanford, Texas, and UCLA. This also marks the 11th straight invitation for ND, and that puts them in a group of schools with just 18 members: all the above plus Fresno State, Miami, Northwestern, South Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.
ND BOASTING 20-MATCH WINNING STREAK AT HOME: Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive matches at home – five against top-25 opponents – since falling 4-3 to #13 Texas in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 26, 2005. It is the longest winning streak since a 24-match stretch from April 9, 1988 – Feb. 24, 1991. The only other longer home winning streak for Notre Dame was a stretch of 25 matches from Sept. 12, 1979 – Sept. 22, 1982.
RECAP OF LONE LOSS: Notre Dame’s only defeat of the season came on March 29 in a 4-3 affair against #11 Vanderbilt at the Brownlee O. Curry Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn. With the score tied 3-3, the contest came down to the No. 3 match, where Vanderbilt’s Amanda Taylor won two tiebreakers against Irish sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) to ruin Notre Dame’s bid for a perfect season. Notre Dame swept the doubles matches and got lopsided victories at the bottom two spots in singles, but could not break through to win even a set in the top four spots, facing a talented Commodore squad that had higher-ranked players than the Irish at Nos. 1-3 in singles. Taylor and Buck battled for two long sets, but both ended with the Vanderbilt player prevailing in a tiebreaker, as she won 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-4). Buck held a 3-1 advantage in the second set, but could not convert.
Notre Dame Player Notes …
NCAA INVITES ALLOW THOMPSONS TO CLINCH ALL-AMERICA HONORS: For the second consecutive year, Irish junior Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) earned invitations to both the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Singles Championship and the NCAA doubles tournament – along with her twin sister, Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.). The twins – the only team in the nation to have been invited to the last three NCAA doubles tourneys – were awarded the No. 3 overall seed, assuring that they will repeat as ITA All-Americans and also marking an all-time program high, while Catrina Thompson is one of just 12 players who have earned spots in both the singles and doubles draws in the last two years. She was an automatic qualifier for the second straight year. This season the NCAA changed the qualification process to mirror that of the team event, meaning that the top singles player and top doubles team (providing they are nationally-ranked) in each of the 31 conferences earned automatic bids, with the remainder being filled by at-large selections. Thompson – the tournament MVP in both of the last two years – earned the BIG EAST’s automatic bid in singles as its highest-ranked player. The Thompson sisters, ranked fifth in college tennis after ascending to the national #1 ranking for the second time in their careers earlier this spring, earned the league’s automatic bid in doubles. This marks the 11th time in the last 14 years that a Notre Dame player has garnered a spot in both the NCAA singles and doubles championships, but it was done previously by just three individuals other than Thompson: Wendy Crabtree (1993, ’94, ’95), Jennifer Hall (1997, ’98, ’99), and current assistant coach Michelle Dasso (1999, 2000, ’01). The Thompsons will be the only doubles team that has taken part in the 2004, ’05, and ’06 NCAA doubles tournaments, and just three others – Iva Gersic/Maja Kovacek (New Mexico), Olga Borisova/Marianna Yuferova (VCU), and Gabriela Duch/Neyssa Etienne (South Florida) – also were in last year’s draw.
IRISH TRIO COPS ITA REGIONAL HONORS: Jay Louderback was named the Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year in the Midwest Region when the annual awards were announced recently, while Michelle Dasso was the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, and senior captain Lauren Connelly was the recipient of the ITA Arthur Ashe Award for Sportsmanship and Leadership. It was the fourth time Louderback was so honored (also 1995, `98, 2000), while Dasso joined Liz Barker (2000) as the only Irish assistants to be tabbed tops in the region. Connelly is the fourth ND player to win the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship – which goes to a player who has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. Previous winners were Wendy Crabtree (1995), Jennifer Hall (1999), and Katie Cunha (2003).
LOUDERBACK, Catrina Thompson NAB MAJOR BIG EAST AWARDS: Jay Louderback was named the BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year for the sixth time, while junior Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) was tabbed the league’s Most Outstanding Tournament Performer for the second straight year, it was announced recently upon tabulation of voting by the league’s 16 head coaches. For the second straight year, the Irish took up four of the six spots in singles and two of three in doubles on the BIG EAST all-tournament teams. Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) joined Thompson in earning mention in both, while senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) was a singles honoree, and junior Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) garnered doubles recognition. Catrina Thompson was nothing short of dominant in the event, dropping just five total games in three singles matches at No. 1 and also going unbeaten at No. 1 doubles, failing to lose more than three games in any match there. The only unanimous selection to the all-tournament teams, she became just the second Irish player – along with current assistant coach Michelle Dasso (2000 and ’01) – to be the BIG EAST tournament MVP on multiple occasions. Louderback has now been tabbed the BIG EAST’s top coach on six occasions, though this ended a four-year drought since being last recognized in 2001. Overall, he has been the conference coach of the year nine times since 1989, after earning the honor three times (1989, ’90, and ’93) in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. He is one of just three ND coaches ever to be a six-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
THOMPSONS GIVE ND FIRST-EVER GRAND SLAM TITLE: Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) fought off two match points and finally prevailed in a tiebreaker to give the University of Notre Dame its first-ever title in an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national championship, winning 9-8 (9-7) over Spaniard Lucia Sainz and German Kathrina Winterhalter from Fresno State in the final of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, the first grand slam of the 2005-06 season. Both teams had two match points in the contest, which is the closest doubles final in All-Amercan Championships history since the current pro-set format was adopted in 2001. The Thompsons are the first team from any school to reach the title match of the ITA All-American Championships in consecutive years and come away with a title. Each of the three previous back-to-back finalists had gone winless in both attempts. Notre Dame – which knocked off three top-seven teams to reach the final – lost just 16 total games in the tournament, the second-fewest ever by a doubles champion, behind only the 11 surrendered by Sarah Riske and Aleke Tsoubanos of Vanderbilt in 2002. The Irish opened with an 8-0 victory over the seventh-ranked team of Gabrielle Duch and Neyssa Etienne of South Florida. The twins beat #6 Alice Barnes/Anne Yelsey of Stanford 9-7 in the quarters and came back with an 8-1 triumph against #3 Iva Gersic/Maja Kovacek of New Mexico in the semifinals. Catrina and Christian are the second set of twins from any school – and the first in the All-Americans – ever to win an ITA national championship, following Tami and Teri Whitlinger of Stanford, who won the 1989 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The Thompsons – who have been among the final four teams remaining in three of the last four grand slams – improved to 11-4 in their careers in grand slam events. They are now 7-1 in the All-American Championships after Irish competitors had been just 2-5 in its doubles main draw prior to that.
IRISH WINNING STREAKS: Notre Dame has seen its players fashion four winning streaks of 10 or more matches this season. In singles, freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) won 16 consecutive singles matches from Oct. 22-March 10, the longest singles winning streak for a Notre Dame player since Marisa Velasco won the first 16 matches of her collegiate career, first losing on Feb. 17, 1996. Fellow rookie Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) won 10 in a row from Feb. 18-March 20. In doubles, seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) began the spring with 15 consecutive victories (Jan. 28-March 20), which was the longest winning streak by a Notre Dame doubles team since Becky Varnum and current assistant coach Michelle Dasso won 21 in a row from Feb. 17-May 13, 2001. Tefft and sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) won 11 in a row from Nov. 4-Feb. 25.
CONNELLY TIES ND RECORD FOR CAREER DOUBLES WINS: Senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) clinched the doubles point against Michigan in the second round of the NCAA tournament to improve to 109-38 (.741) in her career in doubles. That matched the Notre Dame record for career wins in partnered play, first set by current assistant coach Michelle Dasso (`01), who was 109-42 during her career.
CONNELLY BREAKS SISTER’S RECORD FOR CAREER DOUBLES-POINT CLINCHING WINS: On March 20 at #11 Texas, senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) clinched the doubles point for the 23rd time in her career. That broke the Irish record of 22 done by her sister, 2005 graduate Sarah Jane Connelly. Connelly now has 27 clinches to her credit, while her current doubles partner, fellow senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy), stands just behind with 26 clinching wins of her own. Note that the scoring format was changed to include a doubles point in 2001, which is when the statistic debuted.
BUCK/TEFFT BREAK IRISH RECORD FOR DOUBLES-POINT CLINCHES IN A SEASON: Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) have clinched the doubles point 11 times this season, more than any other Notre Dame doubles team since the doubles-point format debuted in 2001. The previous record was 10, done by Becky Varnum and current assistant coach Michelle Dasso in 2001. Current seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) also have 10 clinching wins this season.
SUPER SENIORS: Notre Dame’s three seniors that have seen action this spring – Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Preparatory School), Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) and team captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) – have combined for a 80-5 (.941) record in dual action. Stastny leads the way at 20-3 in singles (mostly at No. 5) and 24-1 in doubles (mostly at No. 3). The Irish captain is 7-0 in singles and 24-1 in doubles, with Nelson adding two wins in singles and three in doubles.
FABULOUS FROSH: Notre Dame’s two freshmen – Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) and Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) – have not had a difficult transition to the collegiate game, as they have combined for a 66-9 (.880) record this spring. Tefft leads the way at 19-4 in singles (mostly at No. 4), as well as 23-3 in doubles (mostly at No. 2), while Potts is 22-2 in singles (mostly at No. 6) and a 6-0 record at No. 3 doubles.
CONNELLY/STASTNY ONE SHY OF ND SEASON RECORD FOR DOUBLES WINS: Seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) stand 34-6 on the season, putting them just one shy of the Notre Dame season record for doubles victories in a campaign. Becky Varnum and current assistant coach Michelle Dasso went 35-9 in 2000-01. Both Connelly and Stastny are 35-6 individually this season, which puts them both two behind the Irish record in that category, done by Varnum that same year (37-9).
CONNELLY, STASTNY TIE IRISH RECORD FOR INDIVIDUAL SEASON DUAL DOUBLES WINS: Seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) both stand 24-1 in doubles dual play this season, which puts them in a tie for the Notre Dame record in that category. That is held by Becky Varnum and current assistant coach Michelle Dasso, who were 24-3 in 2000-01. Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) join the current Irish seniors in being one from the Irish record for dual wins by a doubles team. Buck and Tefft are 23-3 this season, while Connelly and Stastny are 23-1.
STASTNY ON VERGE OF ND’S SECOND-EVER 30-30 SEASON: Senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) is just one singles victory from posting only the second-ever 30-30 season in Notre Dame history. She is 29-7 in singles, as well as 35-6 in doubles. The only player to ever have 30+ wins in both in the same campaign was current assistant coach Michelle Dasso, who was 39-10 in singles in 2000-01, as well as 35-9 in doubles.
STASTNY ONE SHORT OF ND SEASON RECORD FOR COMBINED DUAL WINS: Senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) is 20-3 this season in dual singles action, as well as 24-1 in doubles. Her combined record of 44-4 places her just one away from the Notre Dame record for dual victories in a campaign. That was done by Jennifer Hall, who was 45-12 (24-5 singles, 21-7 doubles) in 1998-99.
BUCK ONE FROM ND SEASON RECORD FOR MATCH-CLINCHING WINS: Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) has clinched seven of Notre Dame’s victories this season, putting her just one from the Notre Dame record of eight, done by Jennifer Hall in 1999 and Becky Varnum in 2001. The statistic has been kept only since `99. She also has 11 doubles clinches, which places her in a tie with Varnum for the Irish record for combined clinching victories (since the doubles-point format was adopted in 2001).
POTTS TWO FROM ND RECORD FOR SEASON SINGLES DUAL WINS: Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) stands 22-2 in singles dual action this season, placing her just two wins away from the Notre Dame record of 24, which has been done five times, most recently by Alicia Salas in 2001-02.
Miscellaneous Notes …
STREAKS: The following streaks are active:
– Notre Dame has won 10 consecutive matches. [last loss: 3/29/06 at #11 Vanderbilt, 4-3]
– Notre Dame has won 20 consecutive home matches. [last loss: 2/26/05 vs. #13 Texas, 4-3]
– Notre Dame has won 15 consecutive matches against Midwest Region opponents. [last loss: 5/14/05 at #6 Northwestern in NCAA second round, 4-0]
– Notre Dame has won 16 consecutive home matches against Midwest Region opponents. [last loss: 4/15/04 vs. #11 Northwestern, 4-3]
– Notre Dame has won 35 consecutive dual matches when winning at No. 3 singles. [last loss: 4/21/04 at #61 Purdue, 4-3, Catrina Thompson def. Amy Walgenbach 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3]
– Brook Buck has won a career-high eight consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 3/29/06 vs. Vanderbilt’s Amanda Taylor 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-4)]
– Brook Buck has won 18 consecutive sets in singles. [last loss: 3/29/06 vs. Vanderbilt’s Amanda Taylor, 7-6 (7-4) in second set]
– Brook Buck has won 18 consecutive singles matches against Midwest Region opponents. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Michigan’s Debra Streifler 7-5, 6-1]
– Katie Potts has won 22 consecutive singles matches indoors. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal 7-5, 6-4]
– Katie Potts is 26-0 as a collegian when winning the first set.
– Lauren Connelly has won 10 consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/23/05 vs. #50 Alexis Prousis of Northwestern, 6-0, 6-2]
– Lauren Connelly has won 20 consecutive sets in singles. [last loss: 11/4/05 vs. Illinois’ Emily Wang, 6-2 in second set]
– Notre Dame has won the doubles point in all 27 matches this sason. [last doubles-point loss: 5/14/05 vs. #6 Northwestern, lost at Nos. 2 and 3]
– Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson have been ranked higher than their opponents in 30 consecutive matches. [last playing higher ranked team: 5/14/05 vs. #2 Audra Cohen/Cristelle Grier of Northwestern, #6 Thompsons won 8-3]
– Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson have been nationally-ranked heading into 66 consecutive matches. [last time unranked: 4/4/04 vs. Miami’s #22 Melissa Applebaum/Megan Bradley, won 8-6]
– Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson have been ranked in the top 10 heading into 59 consecutive matches. [last time ranked below 10th: 5/26/04 vs. William & Mary’s Megan Muth/Amy Wei, Thompsons ranked 36th]
– Lauren Connelly/Kristina Stastny are 15-0 against lower-ranked teams.
– Kristina Stastny is 6-0 in her career as the final match remaining with the doubles point still undecided.
– Katie Potts has won nine consecutive doubles matches. [last loss: 10/21/05 vs. Ohio State’s Ruzimovsky/DiPastina 8-6]
ND’S RECRUITING CLASS TABBED #1 IN NATION: Notre Dame women’s tennis head coach Jay Louderback announced that three stars of prep and junior tennis – Cosmina Ciobanu (Brea, Calif./Troy H.S.), Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan./Arkansas City H.S.), and Colleen Rielley (Overland Park, Kan./Bishop Miege H.S.) – signed national letters of intent in the early period and will join the Irish in the fall of 2006, and TennisRecruiting.net has named that group as the #1 recruiting class in the country. At the time of announcement (Nov. 15, 2005), Rielley was #1 in the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) 18-and-under girls’ singles national rankings, while Ciobanu was 17th, and Krisik – a two-time Kansas state champion (2002 and `03) – was 76th. Ciobanu won the Southern California Sectional singles championship in 2005 and also reached the singles final of a USTA National Open last year. She was ranked as high as 15th nationally in singles in `05. Krisik is Louderback’s niece, and she is part of the first mother-daughter combination ever to play for the longtime Irish mentor. Louderback’s sister, Jan, was his first recruit when he began his head coaching career at Wichita State in 1980. Krisik will join both her uncle and her cousin, current sophomore Bailey Louderback (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.), in the Irish program. Rielley is the first Notre Dame signee ever to have been ranked #1 in the USTA girls’ 18s. A three-time prep state champ (Missouri in `03, Kansas in `04 and `05), she won the singles title in the 2004 USTA Winter National Championships, took third in the ’05 National Clay Courts, and also is ranked fourth nationally in doubles.
THOMPSONS START SPRING AT #1: Notre Dame junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) became the top-ranked doubles team in college tennis following the fall portion of the 2005-06 season when the Jan. 10 rankings were released. It was the second time that the Thompson sisters (as well as any ND duo) had been ranked #1 in the nation. They achieved that listing on Feb. 22, 2005, but it was short-lived, as the twins were defeated in their first match after that and fell to #2 in the next of rankings before finishing 2004-05 at fifth. This season, the Thompsons went 5-1 while being ranked #1, but fell to second in the Feb. 22 rankings. They remain only the second set of twin sisters ever to be ranked #1 by the ITA (Tami and Teri Whitlinger of Stanford in 1989). Stanford twins Mike and Bob Bryan – currently ranked #1 in the ATP’s world rankings – also were #1 in 1998.
NOTRE DAME SENDS MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS TEAMS TO ROUND OF 16 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1994: Notre Dame has both of its tennis teams in the round of 16 of the NCAA Championship for the third time overall and the first since 1994. The Irish men knocked off 16th-seeded Texas A&M on the road last weekend to reach the final 16.
LOUDERBACK REGISTERS 500th CAREER WIN, 300th AT ND: Notre Dame head coach Jay Louderback – in his 17th season with the Irish and his 27th overall as a head coach – became just the 10th collegiate women’s tennis coach ever to register 500 career victories, when the Irish won 4-3 at Texas A&M on March 18. On April 2, a 4-3 win at Purdue gave him 300 victories since taking over the reins of the Notre Dame program in 1989-90. Louderback holds a 510-324 (.611) overall record, including 306-146 (.675) at Notre Dame. He also was 122-94 (.565) in seven years (1980-86) at Wichita State and 82-84 (.494) in three seasons (1986-89) coaching both men’s and women’s tennis at Iowa State.
TWO DECISIVE TIEBREAKERS GIVE USC 4-3 EXHIBITION WIN OVER ND: After nearly 10 hours of play (due to playing concurrent to a men’s match), the exhibition match between the Notre Dame and USC – which began the spring ranked fifth in the nation – on Oct. 14 came down to a single tiebreaker at No. 2 singles, where Dianne Matias prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) over Irish junior Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) to hand the Women of Troy a 4-3 victory. USC’s victory also was keyed by a tiebreaker victory in the final doubles match on court.
Lauren Connelly WINS KANALEY AWARD: Senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) was one of five Notre Dame seniors honored with the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete, which is given each year to senior athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders. The honor continues the tradition of Irish senior women’s tennis players being honored by the University, as it is the eighth consecutive season that head coach Jay Louderback’s program has produced either a Kanaley winner or an O’Connor winner. Connelly is the seventh women’s tennis player to win the Kanaley, including the third in the last five years.
ND ONE OF FIVE SCHOOLS TO HAVE ENTIRE LINEUP IN REGIONAL RANKINGS: When the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its regional rankings at the end of the fall portion of the season, Notre Dame was one of only five Division I schools – along with Stanford, USC, Baylor, and California – to have its entire lineup earn regional ranks. In addition to having six players among the top 30 in the Midwest Region, three of the top five doubles teams in the region belong to the Irish; junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were #1, while sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) came in fourth, and seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) were fifth. Only one other school (Northwestern) had even multiple squads among the 15 Midwest Region doubles teams listed. In singles, Catrina Thompson led the way at third, while Christian Thompson was 10th, Buck came in 14th, Tefft was 18th, Connelly was 25th, and Stastny was 27th. The last time ND had the top doubles team in the Midwest Region rankings was at the conclusion of the 2000-01 campaign, when current assistant coach Michelle Dasso and Becky Varnum held that spot. Catrina Thompson is the highest-ranked ND singles player in the regional rankings since Alicia Salas concluded her career at #2 in 2003-04.
IRISH DEPTH ON DISPLAY AT ITA MIDWEST CHAMPIONSHIPS: Notre Dame’s depth was evident at the ITA Midwest Championships – the annual indoor tournament of the top players in the Midwest Region. The Irish were one of just two schools (along with Northwestern) to have three players – senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and juniors Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – among the final 16 in singles. Catrina Thompson reached the semis before falling. ND and the Wildcats also were the only squads to have multiple doubles teams in the quarterfinals: Connelly and fellow senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) plus sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.). The Thompsons – who were ranked #2 nationally at the time – did not compete in doubles in the tournament.
IRISH A PERENNIAL TOP-30 TEAM: Not only has Notre Dame finished in the top 30 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings in each of the last 13 seasons, but the Irish also have been a near-constant presence. Since the preseason rankings of the 1992-93 season, Notre Dame has been among the top 30 teams in the country in 216 of 218 (99.1%) sets of rankings. The first exception came in late March of 2003, when the transition to the computer rankings moved the Irish from 15th to 27th to 48th and then back to 27th (despite going 6-2 during that time). The second slip out of the top 30 came on April 5 of 2004-05, when ND fell three spots to 31st before moving back to up 26th the following week.
CAPTAIN CONNELLY, THE SEQUEL: Senior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) will serve as Notre Dame’s sole captain during the 2005-06 season. She took over the mantle from her sister, Sarah Jane Connelly, who was Notre Dame’s sole senior in 2004-05. The Connellys are the first sisters to serve as captains of the Irish women’s tennis team, as well as just the fifth sister captain duo in Notre Dame athletics history, following Kathy and Susan Valdiserri (fencing), Julie and Tracy Melby (golf), Carol and Maggie Lally (basketball), and Jessica and Kristen Kinder (volleyball).
THOMPSONS FEATURED IN “SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ON CAMPUS” A LIST: Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were two of the 14 student-athletes featured on the “A List” of elite collegiate performers across all sports in the October 13 issue of Sports Illustrated On Campus. In the words of SI On Campus: “Think of the A List this way: the coolest, the hottest, the most of-the-moment, the cream of the crop. Here are 14 faces SIOC would usher to the front of just about any line, no questions asked.” The Thompsons were the only tennis players featured among the group, which also includes the likes of football Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart of USC and Vince Young of Texas, as well as Connecticut basketball standout Rudy Gay.
WE ARE FAMILY: Notre Dame women’s tennis has long featured members of the same family on its teams. For the fourth consecutive season, Notre Dame will have a set of sisters on its roster: junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.). They last year became the first set of Irish sisters — and first twins of either sex — to both become All-Americans. The previous three seasons had featured two pairs of sisters on each Irish roster, but that has changed with the graduation of Maggie Donohue in 2003 and Sarah Jane Connelly last spring. Another family connection was added last season, as head coach Jay Louderback’s daughter, Bailey Louderback (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.), joined the team. He became the 11th Notre Dame coach — just the second in a women’s sport (along with softball’s Brian Boulac) — to have coached his son or daughter with the Irish. Next year, Louderback’s niece, Kali Krisik (Arkansas City, Kan./Arkansas City H.S.) will join the Irish roster.
SMASH MAGAZINE LISTS ND AS #7 “TENNIS COLLEGE” FOR WOMEN: Smash – a cutting-edge tennis lifestyle magazine for teens from the publishers of Tennis Magazine – named its top 20 tennis colleges for both men and women recently in its debut issue, and the University of Notre Dame appeared in the top 10 on both lists. The rankings are based on colleges’ academic rankings (from U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges) and their average year-end tennis rankings over the last five seasons. Notre Dame – which has both of its teams in the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994 – was listed ninth on the list of top tennis colleges for men and was in a seventh-place tie in the list of top tennis colleges for women.
DAVID DiLUCIA NOW PERSONAL COACH FOR LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A five-time All-American during his four-year career at Notre Dame (1988-92), David DiLucia, left his job with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in December 2005 to become the personal coach of the world’s #1 player, Lindsay Davenport. DiLucia was ranked #1 in both singles and doubles during his collegiate career and then went on to play in the singles main draw in all four professional grand slams before retiring in 2002. During his pro career, DiLucia earned wins over players such as Gustavo Kuerten, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Mark Philippoussis, and David Wheaton.
KEEPING UP WITH NOTRE DAME TENNIS: For the fastest results of Notre Dame tennis matches, call the Notre Dame sports hotline at (574) 631-3000 and choose #8. The hotline provides schedule and results information for varsity sports and serves as a supplement to the game recaps and weekly releases provided on the official athletic website at www.und.com. The hotline is the first medium updated with the results of each Notre Dame tennis match. In addition, media members and fans may be added to the sports information e-mail release list by contacting Bo Rottenborn at Rottenborn.email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.