Christian Thompson (File Photo)

#2 Irish Win 7-0 At #11 Texas To Match Best-Ever Start (15-0)

March 20, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas – The second-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team won 7-0 at #11 Texas (8-8) Monday evening at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center to improve to 15-0, matching the best start in the 30-year history of the program (also done in 1983-84). The Irish – who won in Austin for the first time since 1996 – survived their first week of outdoor competition and now have nine victories against top-30 squads (four vs. top-15 teams), while the Longhorns – runners-up in last year’s NCAA Championship – are the highest-ranked team ever to lose 7-0 to Notre Dame. The Irish will look for their first-ever 16-0 start on Friday, returning home for a 3 p.m. (EST) contest against #38 Iowa.

Notre Dame swept the doubles matches and won a trio of straight-set affairs in singles before adding a pair of three-set victories and a match-tiebreaker triumph to complete the shutout. It was the 11th time this season that the Irish – who have already matched their victory total from last season (15-10 record) – went up 4-0 to clinch the win.

The Irish swept the doubles point for the 11th time this season and started out with a 1-0 advantage for the 15th time in as many matches. Overall, Notre Dame has a 41-4 (.911) record in partnered play this spring, with 27 of those matches (60%) seeing the opponent win three games or fewer.

First off the court on Monday was the team of sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.), which prevailed 8-4 against seniors Kelly Baritot and Kendra Strohm at No. 2. The Irish team, ranked 39th in the nation, avoided their first two-match losing streak of the season, bouncing back from just their fourth defeat – which came on Saturday at Texas A&M – to improve to 23-4 overall, including 13-2 in dual action. They are 15-2 away from home, as well as 6-1 outdoors.

Notre Dame seniors Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) and team captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.), ranked 47th in the country, provided the clinching win with an 8-2 victory against Petra Dizdar and Marija Milic at No. 3. The Irish remained perfect (15-0) this spring at No. 3 singles, while Stastny and Connelly also are 15-0 in dual action and 26-5 overall – both team bests. They also are tops on the Irish in doubles-point clinching wins, with seven.

The fourth-ranked team in college tennis, junior All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), completed the sweep with an 8-3 victory at No. 1 against Mia Marovic and Courtney Zauft. It provided a measure of revenge for the Thompsons, who lost a year ago to Texas in their first match after becoming the first Notre Dame doubles team to be ranked #1 in the nation. The sisters are 15-3 on the season, including 9-2 in dual-match play. The champs of the season’s first grand slam, the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, the Thompsons stand unbeaten in six outdoor matches this season.

Tefft – who won a three-setter in the final match remaining to hand Notre Dame its first-ever win over #5 Duke last week – continued to roll, upsetting 125th-ranked Zauft 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 to put the Irish ahead 2-0. She has now won 10 consecutive matches, the longest current streak on the Irish and the second double-digit singles winning streak for a Notre Dame rookie this season. Tefft is 20-2 on the season, including 12-1 in dual matches. She is undefeated in six outdoor contests and has now won three in a row against nationally-ranked players. Zauft had won seven of her last nine.

Buck put Notre Dame within a point of victory with a 7-6, 6-3 win against Strohm at No. 3. It was a rematch of the No. 2 contest in last year’s dual match, which also saw Buck prevail in two tight sets (7-6, 7-6). The Irish sophomore snapped a two-match winning streak to move to 15-8 on the season, including 9-5 in dual action.

Stastny clinched the win with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory against fellow senior Baritot at No. 5. It was the third clinching victory for Stastny, who improved to 22-6 overall and 13-2 in dual play. The last time the players met, it was Baritot who prevailed, in a three-set affair at No. 5 in the 2004 dual match. Stastny rallied from a one-set deficit for a victory for the 11th time in her career, including the third time in eight chances this season. She has now won four consecutive three-set matches.

Christian Thompson, ranked 48th, then finished off a 7-5, 7-5 win against 57th-ranked Dizdar from Croatia at No. 2. The Irish junior is 18-6 overall, including 10-4 in dual play, and she has a 9-4 record vs. nationally-ranked players.

Catrina Thompson, ranked 32nd, prevailed in the other matchup of ranked players, winning 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (11-9) against 71st-ranked Marovic, another Croatian, at No. 1. It was Thompson’s ninth victory against a ranked player this season, and she now stands 20-8 overall, 10-3 in dual play.

Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) – who won 16 in a row prior to a defeat against Duke – finished off the shutout with a 6-0, 6-7, 6-4 victory against Ristine Olson at No. 6. The Irish freshman improved to 20-4 on the season, including 14-1 in dual action. Potts is 3-1 in three-set affairs.

Prior to Monday, the highest-ranked team ever beaten 7-0 by Notre Dame was then-#20 Michigan on Jan. 26, 2005.

Notre Dame won in Austin for just the second time in seven visits. It was the first victory for the Irish since 2003 against the Longhorns, who still maintain an 8-3 advantage in the all-time series between the squads. ND had never shut out Texas prior to Monday.

#2 Notre Dame 7, #11 Texas 0SinglesNo. 1:  #32 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. #71 Mia Marovic (T) 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (11-9)No. 2:  #48 Christian Thompson (ND) def. #57 Petra Dizdar (T) 7-5, 7-5No. 3:  Brook Buck (ND) def. Kendra Strohm (T) 7-6, 6-3No. 4:  Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. #125 Courtney Zauft (T) 6-2, 6-2No. 5:  Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Kelly Baritot (T) 1-6, 6-2, 6-4No. 6:  Katie Potts (ND) def. Ristine Olson (T) 6-0, 6-7, 6-4Order of Finish: 4, 3, 5*, 2, 1, 6DoublesNo. 1:  #4 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Marovic/Zauft (T) 8-3No. 2:  #39 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Baritot/Strohm (T) 8-4No. 3:  #47 Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Dizdar/Marija Milic (T) 8-2Order of Finish: 2, 3*, 1* - indicates clinching victory
-- ND --