March 9, 2006
#49 Western Michigan (8-2) vs. #2 Notre Dame (11-0)Friday, March 10, 3:30 p.m. (EST) â€¢ Eck Tennis Pavilion â€¢ Notre Dame, IN- Live Scoring Updates: und.com
#2 IRISH TO CONCLUDE HOMESTAND FRIDAY AFTERNOON vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN: The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team will be in action for the first time since ascending to an all-time high ITA national ranking of #2 when it winds up a seven-match homestand by playing host to #49 Western Michigan (8-2) on Friday at 3:30 p.m. (EST) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish – off to an 11-0 start for the first time since 1983-84 – are looking to reach spring break with an undefeated mark for just the third time in program history. This year’s spring-break trip will see Notre Dame travel south for tough matches against #7 Duke, #42 Texas A&M, and #10 Texas.
SCOUTING WESTERN MICHIGAN: The Broncos enter their match with the Irish with an 8-2 record and ranked 49th in the nation … Western Michigan – which was ranked 54th in the preseason and is the only Mid-American Conference school in the top 75 – started 1-2 but has since won seven in a row, including four straight 7-0 decisions … WMU’s defeats both came in 5-2 affairs on the road against Big Ten Conference opponents: Jan. 15 at Indiana and Jan. 22 at Illinois … the Broncos have had nine days off since their last match, Feb. 26 vs. another BIG EAST school, Marquette … this will be Western Michigan’s first trip out of Kalamazoo in more than a month, since winning 5-2 at Wisconsin on Jan. 28 … only one of WMU’s victories came against a team currently in the national rankings – a 5-2 home win against #54 DePaul on Feb. 10 … the Broncos are 3-0 against the BIG EAST this season, having beaten DePaul, Marquette, and Cincinnati (7-0) … Notre Dame and Western Michigan have played three common opponents: Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin … the Irish beat Wisconsin 6-1 and topped the other two by 7-0 scores … the Broncos returned seven of eight letterwinners, including all six starters, from last year’s squad that was 20-6 and ranked 55th in the nation (after peaking at 45th) … Western Michigan won the MAC regular-season championship with a 9-0 record, but then lost 4-1 to Marshall in the title match of the league tournament and barely missed an invitation to the NCAA tournament … Western Michigan has no players currently in the ITA national rankings … there were three ND-WMU matchups in October’s ITA Midwest Championships, with the Irish winning all of them … head coach Betsy Kuhle is in her 24th year as head coach of the Broncos, having compiled a 387-200 (.659) record, including 3-11 against Notre Dame … Western Michigan will play twice in the Eck Tennis Pavilion this weekend, facing Illinois State in a neutral-site matchup on Saturday at 10 a.m. (EST).
IRISH-BRONCOS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Western Michigan will meet for the first time since 2003 and the 16th time overall, with the Irish holding an 11-4 edge in the series (see page 43 of the ND media guide for scores of every match), including victories in the last nine matches … the Broncos’ last victory against the Irish was a 6-3 decision in Madision, Wis., in 1987 … Notre Dame’s nine-match winning streak against WMU is tied for the fifth-longest ever for the Irish against one opponent … there are only two current Notre Dame winning streaks longer, as the Irish have won their last 11 against both Ohio State and Boston College … WMU is the most-common non-Big Ten Conference opponent from the Midwest Region in the 30 years of varsity Irish women’s tennis … Notre Dame’s 11 all-time wins against Western Michigan are tied for the most by the Irish against a non-Big Ten squad (ND also has 11 victories vs. Boston College and Miami from the ACC) … the Broncos won 5-4 in 1983 in their first visit to Notre Dame, but the Irish have won all eight subsequent meetings at home … this will be the sixth consecutive matche in the series to be played at Notre Dame … the schools first played in 1982, with Western Michigan prevailing 5-4 in Kalamazoo … following WMU victories in 1983 and `84, Notre Dame broke through for its first win in the series in 1985 with a 6-3 triumph at home … that started a current streak of 11 victories in 12 matches … the last contest came in the dual opener of 2003, when the 22nd-ranked Irish won 5-2 in the Eck Tennis Pavilion … Notre Dame won easily at the bottom two spots to win the doubles point and then got straight-set victories at Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 6 in singles to clinch the victory … the Broncos won a third-set tiebreaker at No. 5 and a match tiebreaker at No. 2 … that was the closest match between the schools since a 6-3 win for Notre Dame in 1988 … this will be just the second time that both sides are nationally-ranked, with #13 Notre Dame having beaten 72nd-ranked Western Michigan 6-1 in 2001 … this will be the highest-ranked Broncos team ever to face the Irish, as well as the highest-ranked Notre Dame team ever to play any opponent, as the Irish moved up to an all-time high of #2 in the rankings this week … ND has won all seven matches under head coach Jay Louderback … the Irish have won 23 consecutive matches against current members of the Mid-American Conference, dating back to a 5-4 decision on Feb. 25, 1989, at Miami (Ohio) in the season before Louderback’s first year … overall, Notre Dame is 50-12 (.806) against the MAC, including 20-0 under Louderback.
ND UP TO ALL-TIME HIGH OF #2 IN FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS RANKINGS: After 7-0 wins against #27 Indiana and #49 Illinois last week, the Irish appeared at #2 in this week’s Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, the first to be determined by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) computer formula. It is the highest ITA ranking for Notre Dame since becoming a Division I program in 1985-86, after the Irish matched their previous high ranking of fifth a week ago. Notre Dame has a a computer average of 92.00, which trails only two-time defending NCAA champion Stanford, which is at 100.75 and has won 70 consecutive matches, dating back to the title match of the 2003 NCAA tournament. Rounding out the top five are North Carolina, Northwestern, and USC. In all, 18 of Notre Dame’s 23 regular-season opponents are listed among the 75 teams in this week’s rankings, with nine in the top 25: #3 North Carolina (W, 5-1), #9 Northwestern (April 5, home), #7 Duke (March 15 in Orlando, Fla.), #9 Harvard (W, 5-2), #10 Texas (March 20, away), #12 Vanderbilt (March 29, away), #14 Wake Forest (W, 4-3), #22 Brigham Young (W, 5-2), and #23 Michigan (W, 6-1). Additionally, the Irish lost 4-3 to USC – currently ranked fifth – during the fall in exhibition action.
IRISH OFF TO BEST START SINCE 1983-84: Notre Dame is 11-0 for just the third time in the 30-year varsity history of the program and the first time since 1983-84, when the Irish began with a program-record 15 consecutive victories en route to a 20-5 record and a third-place finish in the NCAA Division II Championship. The first defeat of that season came on March 27 in a 7-2 decision at home against Michigan. The other time Notre Dame began 11-0 was 1980-81, when the Irish lost 5-4 to Northern Illinois in Chicago in their 12th match en route to a 20-6 final record and 20th-place finish in the AIAW Division II National Championship.
ND’S BEST UNDEFEATED STARTS: See pdf for a list of Notre Dame’s best runs of consecutive victories to start a season.
BOTTOM OF ND LINEUP STANDS 52-2: The key to Notre Dame’s 11-0 start this season has been its outstanding depth, as the Irish hold a combined 52-2 (.963) mark in the bottom part of their lineups. Notre Dame is 30-2 (.938) combined at Nos. 4-6 in singles, as well as 22-0 at Nos. 2-3 doubles.
IRISH 11-0 AT No. 6 SINGLES, Nos. 2 & 3 DOUBLES: Thus far this spring, Notre Dame remains unbeaten in three positions in its lineups, as the Irish have gone 11-0 at No. 6 singles, as well as Nos. 2 and 3 in doubles. Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) is 9-0 at the bottom singles spot, while senior Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Preparatory School) won there against Xavier and senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) was victorious against Wisconsin. Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) are 9-0 at No. 2 doubles, while Connelly and fellow senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) won there against Xavier and Wisconsin. Connelly and Stastny are 9-0 at No. 3, with Nelson and Potts claiming a victory there in the Xavier match, and Potts teaming with junior Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) to beat Wisconsin.
ND 30-3 IN DOUBLES THIS SPRING: Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable in partnered play this spring, going 30-3 (.909), winning the doubles point in all 11 matches, and standing a perfect 10-0 at both Nos. 2 and 3. In 22 of those contests (67%), the Irish have lost just three games or fewer. On the season, Notre Dame teams have combined for a 48-14 (.774) record in doubles. Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), ranked fourth nationally after giving ND its first-ever grand slam title at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, stand 13-3 on the season (7-2 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 – are ranked 39th and sporting a 20-3 record (they had an 11-match winning streak snapped on Feb. 26 when they moved up to the No. 1 spot). Seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) are 11-0 this spring and are 22-5 overall (3-1 against ranked teams) and ranked 47th in the nation. In all, the players on Notre Dame’s roster combined for 29 USTA super national gold balls in the juniors.
PROTECTING PERFECTION: Two Notre Dame players – senior team captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) – have yet to be defeated in either singles or doubles this spring. Connelly is 11-0 in doubles and 2-0 in singles, with her last defeat coming on Nov. 6 in an 8-6 decision in doubles against Illinois’ Brianna Knue and Macall Harkins in the Illini’s tournament, Midwest Blast VII. Potts is 11-0 this spring in singles and 2-0 in doubles, with her last defeat coming against Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal on Oct. 22 in the opening round of the ITA Midwest Championships.
STREAKIN’: Notre Dame has a pair of long individual winning streaks active heading into the weekend. Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) – who normally plays No. 6 – is 11-0 this spring in singles and has won 15 in a row, dating back to a 7-5, 6-4 decision against Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal on Oct. 22 in the opening round of the ITA Midwest Championships. Irish seniors Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) and Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) are also 11-0 this spring, having played mostly at No. 3. Their last defeat came on Nov. 6 in an 8-6 match against Illinois’ Brianna Knue and Macall Harkins in the Illini’s tournament, Midwest Blast VII. It is not the longest doubles winnng streak in the career of Connelly, who won 13 in a row from April 3 – Oct. 14, 2004, with two different partners. Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) had won 11 in a row before falling in a tiebreaker on Feb. 26 against Wisconsin’s 30th-ranked team of Caitlin Burke and Nicole Beck at No. 1.
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 36-1 (.973) record in dual action. Stastny leads the way at 10-1 in singles (mostly at No. 5) and 11-0 in doubles, all with Connelly (mostly at No. 3). The Irish captain is 2-0 in singles, with Nelson adding a win in both singles and 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 31-2 (.939) record this spring. Tefft leads the way at 8-1 in singles (mostly at No. 4), as well as 10-1 in doubles (mostly at No. 2), while Potts is perfect, with an 11-0 mark in singles (mostly at No. 6) and a 2-0 record at No. 3 doubles.
IRISH WIN 10+ IN A ROW FOR NINTH TIME: Notre Dame’s 11-0 start to the spring marks the ninth time in the 30-year varsity history of the program that the Irish have fashioned a streak of at least 10 consecutive victories. It is the longest winning streak for Notre Dame since winning 12 straight from March 28-May 15, 1999. The program record for consecutive victories is 20, which included the final nine matches of the 1979 (fall only) campaign, as well as the first 15 in 1980-81.
LONGEST IRISH WINNING STREAKS: See pdf for a list of the longest winning streaks in the 30-year varsity history of Notre Dame women’s tennis.
ND BOASTING 12-MATCH WINNING STREAK AT HOME: Notre Dame has won 12 consecutive matches at home – four against top-25 opponents – since falling 4-3 to #13 Texas in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 26, 2005. It is the eighth time in the 30-year varsity history of the program that the Irish have won 10 or more in a row at home. The previous such instance was a 13-match streak from Feb. 4, 2001 – Jan. 26, 2002. The longest home winning streak ever for Notre Dame was a stretch of 25 matches from Sept. 12, 1979 – Sept. 22, 1982.
LONGEST IRISH HOME WINNING STREAKS: See pdf for a list of the longest home winning streaks in the 30-year varsity history of Notre Dame women’s tennis.
IRISH GET TWO WINS OVER TOP-10 TEAMS IN FEBRUARY: 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 and then beat #9 Harvard (5-2) on Feb. 19. It marked just the third time since becoming a Division I program in 1985-86 that Notre Dame had defeated multiple top-10 squads in the same month. Both previous instances came in noteworthy seasons for the Irish, as the 1995-96 squad – which remains the only team in program history to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Championship – beat #9 Tennessee at home on Feb. 15 and then downed #6 California on Feb. 24 in the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis. The 2000-01 team – which peaked at an Irish all-time high of #5 in the national rankings on Feb. 28 – duplicated the feat by downing #8 Wake Forest on Feb. 10 at home and then defeating #7 Pepperdine on Feb. 17 in the Team Indoors. This year’s Irish team – which was ranked 22nd at the time it beat UNC – became the lowest-ranked Irish unit ever to knock off a top-10 opponent. That distinction had previously belonged to the 1993-94 team that was ranked 17th when it beat #10 Kansas in the National Team Indoor Championship.
TOP ALL-TIME IRISH WINS: See pdf for a list of Notre Dame’s 14 all-time victories against top-10 teams since becoming a Division I program in 1985-86, ordered by opponent ranking.
ND 7-0 AGAINST TOP-30 TEAMS: Notre Dame’s 11-0 start has seen the Irish take on seven 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), and #27 Indiana (7-0). During a 15-day stretch from Feb. 11-25, Notre Dame played six matches, with all of them against top-30 teams.
PUTTING THEM AWAY FAST: Not only has Notre Dame won all of its dual matches this spring, but it has put most of them away early, going up 4-0 in nine of the 11 contests. The only match truly in question deep into the singles portion came on Feb. 11 at #23 Wake Forest, when the Irish built a 3-0 lead, but then had to win in three sets in the final match remaining to secure a 4-3 victory. The other contest in which ND did not clinch the match before the other side scored a point was on Feb. 25 against #20 Brigham Young, when the Irish clinched it at 4-1.
NOTRE DAME CONCLUDING LONGEST HOMESTAND SINCE 1992-93: On Friday, Notre Dame will conclude a seven-match homestand, hitting the road next week for the first time since a Feb. 15 match at Michigan. It was the longest homestand for ND since a seven-match one – in which the Irish were victorious in every match – from March 18-April 2 in 1993. Notre Dame did play each of its first nine dual matches of the 1993-94 campaign at home, though that was interrupted by the Rolex ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, which were then contested in February.
LOUDERBACK CLOSING IN ON 500TH CAREER WIN: Notre Dame head coach Jay Louderback – in his 17th season with the Irish and his 27th overall as a head coach – enters Fridaay with 497 career victories as a head coach, needing just three to join an elite group of only 10 all-time women’s tennis head coaches to have posted 500+ career wins. He will be one of only seven active coaches in that club. Louderback holds a 497-324 (.605) overall record, including 293-146 (.667) at Notre Dame. He also ws 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. See pdf for the all-time career wins leaders for collegiate women’s tennis coaches, courtesy of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Records are as of March 8.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Jay Louderback is in his 17th season at Notre Dame with a 293-147 (.667) record and his 26th year as a collegiate coach with a 497-325 (.605) mark. He ranks seventh among active NCAA Division I coaches in career victories. Louderback’s Irish have finished in the national top 30 in each of the last 13 seasons and have won 12 conference titles. Since the preseason of the 1992-93 season, Louderback’s teams have been in the national top 30 in 209 of 211 sets of ITA rankings and reached an all-time high of #2 on March 7. After taking over a program looking for its first NCAA tournament appearance, Louderback has helped Notre Dame to the NCAAs 12 times in the last 13 years (which only 10 other schools have done), including five 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 eight occasions, including five times in 10 years in the BIG EAST. In his time at Notre Dame, Louderback’s players have earned All-America honors 15 times, won four national ITA awards, and earned 20 invitations to the NCAA Singles Championship and 12 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 (six) 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.
THOMPSONS GIVE ND TWO TOP-50 SINGLES PLAYERS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1999: Junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – who are ranked 32nd and 48th, respectively, in singles in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings – have combined this spring to give Notre Dame multiple players among the national top 50 in singles for the first time since the initial set of spring rankings in 1998-99, when current assistant coach Michelle Dasso was eighth and Becky Varnum was 47th.
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.
STREAKS: The following streaks are active heading into this weekend:
– Notre Dame is 11-0 this season. [last loss: 5/14/05 at #6 Northwestern, 4-0, NCAA second round]
– Notre Dame has won 12 consecutive home matches. [last loss: 2/26/05 vs. #13 Texas, 4-3]
– Notre Dame has won the doubles point in all 11 matches this sason. [last doubles-point loss: 5/14/05 vs. #6 Northwestern, lost at Nos. 2 and 3]
– Notre Dame has won nine consecutive matches against Western Michigan. [last loss: 2/21/87 at Madison, WI, 6-3]
– Notre Dame has won eight consecutive home matches against Western Michigan. [last loss: 4/26/83, 5-4]
– Notre Dame has won 23 consecutive matches against current Mid-American Conference teams. [last loss: 2/25/89 at Miami (Ohio), 5-4]
– Notre Dame has won at No. 6 singles in 15 consecutive matches. [last loss: 4/10/05, Indiana’s Cecile Perton def. Sarah Jane Connelly 6-1, 1-6, 6-3]
– Notre Dame has won at No. 2 doubles in every match this season. [last loss: 5/14/05, Northwestern’s Alexis Prousis/Kristi Roemer def. Brook Buck/Lauren Connelly 9-8 (7-4)]
– Notre Dame has won at No. 3 doubles in every match this season. [last loss: 5/14/05, Northwestern’s Feriel Esseghir/Valerie Vladea def. Sarah Jane Connelly/Kristina Stastny 8-4]
– Notre Dame has won 22 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]
– Christian Thompson is 8-0 in her career in singles matches against BIG EAST Conference players.
– Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson are 4-0 this season in close matches (8-6, 9-7, 9-8). [last loss: 4/13/05 vs. Illinois’ Goulet/Wang 8-6]
– Brook Buck has won 30 consecutive matches when taking the opening set (29-1 career record). [only loss: 9/19/04 vs. Denver’s Jenny Trettin 1-6, 6-3, 6-1]
– Kelcy Tefft has won six consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 2/15/06 vs. Michigan’s Debra Streifler 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-3)]
– Kristina Stastny has won six consecutive singles matches on the road. [last loss: 11/4/05 vs. Illinois’ Brianna Knue 6-0, 6-1]
– Kristina Stastny is 4-0 in her career as the final match remaining with the doubles point still undecided.
– Lauren Connelly/Kristina Stastny have won 11 consecutive matches in doubles. [last loss: 11/6/05 vs. Illinois’ Knue/Harkins 8-6]
– Katie Potts has won 15 consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal 7-5, 6-4]
– Katie Potts has won seven consecutive singles matches on the road. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal 7-5, 6-4]
– Katie Potts is 15-0 as a collegian when winning the first set.
– Lauren Connelly has won five consecutive singles matches [last loss: 10/23/05 vs. #50 Alexis Prousis of Northwestern, 6-0, 6-2]
– Lauren Connelly has won seven consecutive singles matches against BIG EAST Conference players (9-1 career record). [only loss: 4/12/03 vs. Miami’s Sara Robbins 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (10-4)]
– Kelly Nelson has won four consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/21/05 vs. Michigan’s Allie Shafner, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2]
– Kelly Nelson is 8-0 this season in close sets (6-4, 7-5, or 7-6). [last loss: 11/9/03 vs. Illinois’ Emily Wang, 7-6 in second set]
– Kelly Nelson has won six consecutive close singles matches (three sets, match tiebreaker, or two sets with difference of games of 4 or fewer). [last loss: 11/7/03 vs. Virginia’s Caroline Hammond 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1]
– Kelly Nelson has won five consecutive singles matches outdoors. [last loss: 9/23/05 vs. West Virginia’s Monica Lyskawa 6-3, 6-2]
MOST-COMMON OPPONENTS: See pdf for the list of schools Notre Dame has played most in its 30 seasons of varsity women’s tennis.
MOST WINS VS. ONE TEAM: See pdf for the list of schools Notre Dame has defeated most in its 30 seasons of varsity women’s tennis.
LONGEST WINNING STREAKS: See pdf for the longest winning streaks against a single opponent in the 30 seasons of Notre Dame varsity women’s tennis.
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.
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.
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 ADD MARCH 31 HOME MATCH WITH EASTERN MICHIGAN: Notre Dame has added another match to its spring slate, as the Irish will play host to Eastern Michigan on Friday, March 31 at 2:30 p.m. (EST). Notre Dame’s originally-scheduled match at Tulane on April 15 has been cancelled, since the Green Wave program was suspended in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. That changed freed up a date for the Irish to schedule another match.
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 209 of 211 (99.0%) 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.
WOMEN’S TENNIS “GOLD GAME” SET FOR APRIL 5 vs. #4 NORTHWESTERN: Notre Dame’s matchup with #4 Northwestern on Wednesday, April 5 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) has been designated as this season’s women’s tennis “Gold Game,” a distinction created by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council to encourage the entire Notre Dame community to attend particular contests. The match will feature the two teams that have been consistently the top squads in the Midwest Region over the past decade. Northwestern has won the last seven matches in the series – with three of those coming by 4-3 scores – after the Irish had won six straight prior to that. In the Wildcats’ last visit, NU won a third-set tiebreaker in the decisive match to win 4-3.
ND SIGNS TRIO OF TOP RECRUITS, INCLUDING NATION’S #1 PLAYER: 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. 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.
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.
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.
ND #1 IN NACDA DIRECTORS’ CUP: Notre Dame is in first place in the most-recent set of standings in the 2005-06 United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Dirctors of Athletics (NACDA), which were released on Jan. 12 and included results from all fall sports. Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 412 points based on their third-place finish in men’s cross country (85 points), their seventh-place finish in women’s cross country (69 points), their quarterfinal appearance in women’s soccer (73), their third-round appearance in men’s soccer (64), their regional semifinal appearance in women’s volleyball (64) and their 11th-place finish in football based on the final USA Today poll (57). This marks the second straight year Notre Dame has ranked atop the final fall standings – and its 412 points are its highest-ever fall total. Penn State (308.5 points) ranks second, Stanford (282) is third, and Duke (280) and Wisconsin (277) round out the top five. Notre Dame finished 16th in 2004-05, its fifth consecutive top-20 placing, and has three times finished an all-time high of 11th (1993-94, `95-96, 2000-01). Duke posted its all-time best finish of fifth in 2004-05.
CHANGES TO THE ITA RANKINGS: The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) recently announced some changes to its national rankings for the 2005-06 season: (1) It will use one set of points for wins and also a tighter set of points, with less gaps. This set of points will be the same set that has been used for the season’s first computer rankings in the past; (2) There will be bonus points awarded for road wins; (3) The rankings that are run at the time of NCAA Championship selections will be run twice and the second run of the rankings will be the published ranking; (4) There will be expanded, unpublished rankings (and values for opponents): 76-125 for team, 126-175 for singles, and 61-90 for doubles; (5) The first computer rankings (for team) will take place 2 weeks earlier on March 8; (6) The singles and doubles rankings from Fall results will go back to being a computer ranking; it had been done by committee vote the past three years.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.