April 22, 2006
TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded and second-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (23-1) won 4-0 against fourth-seeded DePaul (16-7) Saturday morning in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Conference Championship at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts. The Irish advanced to the title match of the event for the 11th consecutive year and will be pursuing their seventh BIG EAST championship. Notre Dame will face the event’s host, second-seeded and 37th-ranked South Florida (15-4), on Sunday at 9 a.m. (ET).
The Irish dropped just five total games en route to sweeping the doubles matches and then earned three quick wins in singles, losing no more than three games in any of those contests. Notre Dame also was up a set at No. 5, while the Blue Demons had taken the opening frame at both Nos. 2 and 6.
Seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) were first off the court in doubles for the second straight day, winning 8-0 against Bojana Murisic and Petra Rehusova at No. 3. It was the second shutout for the Irish veterans in their last three matches, following an 8-0 win against Marquette on April 9 in the regular-season finale. They are 32-6 this season, including 21-1 in dual play. Connelly earned the 107th doubles victory of her career, inching closer to the Notre Dame record held by current Irish assistant coach Michelle Dasso, who was 109-42 during her career (1997-2001).
Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.), ranked 38th, clinched the doubles point for the ninth time this season by winning 8-2 at No. 2 against Dunja Antunovic and Anjam Mihaldinec. The ND squad improved to 30-5 on the season, including 20-3 in dual play. They are just the third Irish duo ever to win 30+ matches in a season, joining Connelly/Stastny and the team of Dasso and Becky Varnum, who won a school-record 35 matches in 2000-01.
Junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), ranked sixth in the nation, avenged one of their rare defeats this season with an 8-3 triumph against the 32nd-ranked squad of Beatrix Csordas and Gergana Ganeva at No. 1. The Irish sisters are 21-4 this season, including 15-3 in dual play at No. 1. Catrina Thompson earned the 50th doubles win of her collegiate career (18 losses), while her sister is one behind her.
In singles, it was Catrina Thompson who finished first, winning 6-0, 6-1 against Csordas at No. 1. The two have played four sets this season, with the Blue Demon taking just a single game. Thompson also won in straight sets in 2004-05. The Irish junior – who was the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player a season ago – has dropped just a single game in two singles matches in this year’s event. Thompson is 26-10 on the season, including 16-5 in duals at No. 1. It was the 70th singles victory of her career (35 defeats).
After not losing a game in singles on Friday, Tefft lost just one on Saturday with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Mihaldinec at No. 4. Earlier this month, Tefft won 6-1, 6-2 over the Blue Demon. The ND rookie is now 26-5 this season, including 18-4 in dual matches.
Buck, ranked 80th in the nation, provided the clincher for the team-best sixth time this season. She won 6-2, 6-1 against Antunovic, whom she beat by identical scores during the regular season. The Irish sophomore is 22-9 overall and 16-6 in dual action.
Stastny was in control of her match, leading 6-2, 2-2 against Murisic at No. 5. But Rehusova took a 6-4 opening set against Irish rookie Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) at No. 6, and Ganeva was up 6-1, 1-2 against 99th-ranked Christian Thompson at No. 2 when that was abandoned.
Notre Dame improved to 17-0 all-time in the rounds leading up to the title match of the BIG EAST tournament, with 16 of those contests being shutouts. The Irish are 23-4 overall in the event and won titles in 1996, ’97, ’99, 2001, ’03, and ’05.
[No. 1 seed] #2 Notre Dame 4, [No. 4 seed] DePaul 0SinglesNo. 1: #31 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Beatrix Csordas (D) 6-0, 6-1No. 2: Gergana Ganeva (D) led #99 Christian Thompson (ND) 6-1, 1-2, abandonedNo. 3: * #80 Brook Buck (ND) def. Dunja Antunovic (D) 6-2, 6-1No. 4: Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Anjam Mihaldinec (D) 6-1, 6-0No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) led Bojana Murisic (D) 6-2, 2-2, abandonedNo. 6: Petra Rehusova (D) led Katie Potts (ND) 6-4, abandonedOrder of Finish: 1, 4, 3*DoublesNo. 1: #6 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. #32 Csordas/Ganeva (D) 8-3No. 2: * #38 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Antunovic/Mihaldinec (D) 8-2No. 3: Lauren Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Murisic/Rehusova (D) 8-0Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1* - indicates clinching victory