Feb. 10, 2006
#22 Notre Dame (2-0) vs. #23 Wake Forest (3-0)Saturday, February 11, Noon (EST) â€¢ Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center â€¢ Winston-Salem, NC- Live Scoring Updates: und.com
#22 Notre Dame vs. #10 North Carolina (7-1)Sunday, February 12, 1 p.m. (EST) â€¢Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center â€¢ Chapel Hill, NC
#22 Notre Dame vs. #29 Michigan (2-2)Wednesday, February 15, 4 p.m. (EST) â€¢ Varsity Tennis Center â€¢ Ann Arbor, MI- Live Scoring Updates: mgoblue.com (also linked on und.com)
#22 IRISH HIT THE ROAD TO FACE THREE TOP-30 TEAMS: The 22nd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (2-0) will return to action after a 14-day hiatus with three tough road tests against teams ranked among the national top 30. The Irish will first play at #23 Wake Forest (3-0) on Saturday at Noon (EST) before heading to #10 North Carolina (7-1) for a 1 p.m. (EST) contest on Sunday and then going to #29 Michigan (2-2) on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. (EST) match. Notre Dame will try to end the string of seven consecutive wins by the home team in the series with the Demon Deacons, as well as snap a five-match skid against the Tar Heels and continue their recent success (10 wins in the last 11 matches) vs. the Wolverines.
IRISH-DEMON DEACONS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Wake Forest will meet for the 14th consecutive season and 17th time overall, with the Demon Deacons holding a 9-7 edge in the series (see page 43 of the ND media guide for scores of every match) … the home team has won each of the last seven matches in the series, dating back to a 8-1 win for #17 Notre Dame against 10th-ranked Wake in 1998 … the Demon Deacons will tie Miami (Fla.) as the most-common non-Big Ten opponent in Notre Dame women’s tennis history when the teams play for the 17th time … only four schools (Northwestern-20, Duke-12, Tennessee-12, Indiana-10) have more all-time victories against the Irish … Wake Forest has a 5-2 all-time record at home against the Irish, including four straight victories … the schools first played in 1983, with Wake Forest prevailing 5-4 in Hilton Head, S.C. … after losing again in 1988, the Irish beat the Deacons for the first time in 1991 by a 5-4 score in Knoxville, Tenn. … a year ago, 21st-ranked Notre Dame won 5-2 on Jan. 30 in the Eck Tennis Pavilion … the Irish swept the doubles matches and then won in straight sets at Nos. 2-5 in singles … Wake won in two sets at No. 6 and in a match tiebreaker at No. 1 … current Irish sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School), ranked 85th at the time, earned what remains her highest-ranked career win in singles, downing #16 Karin Coetzee 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 … this will be the fourth consecutive match in which Notre Dame carries the higher ITA national ranking (ND is 2-1 in those contests) … it will be the sixth time that the teams are ranked within five spots of each other at the time of the match, with Wake holding a 3-2 edge in those contests … it will be the first time that both teams are ranked in the top 25 since 2002, but the 10th time overall (Wake leads 5-4) … the Deacons hold a 5-1 advantage in matches decided by just a single point (5-4 or 4-3 scores), including four straight victories … the teams have split 14 meetings since Jay Louderback took over the Irish program in 1989-90 … first-year Wake Forest coach Chad Skorupka, formerly head coach at Yale, will face the Irish for the first time … Notre Dame has a 51-39 (.566) all-time record against the current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, including 47-31 (.603) under Louderback … the only conference that the Irish hold more all-time victories against is the Big Ten (121-73 record, 94-34 under Louderback).
IRISH-TAR HEELS SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and North Carolina will meet for the seventh consecutive season and 11th time overall, with the Tar Heels holding a 6-4 edge (see page 42 of the ND media guide for scores of every match), including a current five-match winning streak … the last Irish win over UNC came in 2001 by a 6-1 score at home … only five schools (Duke-12, Tennessee-11, Northwestern-11, Texas-8, Indiana-7) have more victories against the Irish since current head coach Jay Louderback took over the program in 1989-90 … Notre Dame actually holds a 3-2 record at North Carolina, but the Tar Heels have won the last two matches in Chapel Hill … ND’s last win there came by a 5-4 score in 2000 … the schools first played in 1992, when UNC upset the 25th-ranked Irish 7-2 at Notre Dame … ND got its first win in the series the following year, prevailing 8-1 in Chapel Hill to start a four-match winning streak … a year ago, the ninth-ranked Heels rallied from a 3-2 deficit for a 4-3 win over #20 Notre Dame in the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Feb. 20 … the Irish prevailed at Nos. 1 and 3 to win the doubles point and then got straight-set victories at Nos. 1 and 5 in singles … UNC won in two sets at No. 2 and then prevailed in all three three-set affairs (Nos. 3, 4, 6) to avoid the upset … Sara Anundsen beat Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4 in the final match remaining … this will be the sixth consecutive match in which both teams are ranked in the national top 25 (UNC is 5-0) … it will be the fifth consecutive match in with North Carolina holds the higher ITA national ranking … the teams have split two all-time matches decided by one point … UNC is coached by Brian Kalbas, who played for the Irish men’s tennis team from 1985-89 and then was an assistant from `89-92, helping Notre Dame to the NCAA final in his last year … he holds a 6-7 career mark against his alma mater, though he is 2-0 while at UNC (4-7 at William & Mary) … Notre Dame has a 51-39 (.566) all-time record against the current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, including 47-31 (.603) under Louderback … the only conference that the Irish hold more all-time victories against is the Big Ten (121-73 record, 94-34 under Louderback).
IRISH-WOLVERINES SERIES NOTES: Notre Dame and Michigan will meet for the 20th consecutive season and 24th time overall, with the Irish holding a 15-8 advantage in the series (see page 42 of the ND media guide for scores of every match), including 10 wins in the last 11 matches … Michigan stopped a nine-match losing streak against the Irish in 2004, prevailing 4-3 at home … at 20 years, this is the longest current uninterrupted series for Notre Dame women’s tennis (next is Northwestern, which will play ND for the 18th consecutive season this year) … Wednesday’s match will tie Michigan with Purdue as the third-most-common opponent in Irish women’s tennis history, behind Northwestern (28 matches) and Illinois (26) … Notre Dame holds more all-time victories against just two schools: Purdue (18) and Illinois (17) … the Irish are 13-3 against Michigan in the tenure of Jay Louderback, which is tied for the most victories against any school during that span (ND also has 13 wins vs. Illinois and Wisconsin) … Michigan has a 7-5 all-time mark at home against the Irish, though Notre Dame won four straight from 1996-2002 … the schools first played in 1981, with Michigan prevailing 8-1 at home … following four straight losses, Notre Dame earned its first victorya against the Wolverines in 1987 in a 5-4 affair at home … a year ago, the 21st-ranked Irish won 7-0 against #20 Michigan on Jan. 26 in the Eck Tennis Pavilion … Notre Dame did not lose a set en route to the victory … both teams have carried ITA national rankings in each of the last six matchups … Bitsy Ritt holds a 5-15 career record against the Irish … Notre Dame has more all-time victories (122-73 record, 95-34 under Louderback) against current members of the Big Ten than vs. schools in any other conference (next is the ACC, against which ND is 51-39).
THOMPSONS REGAIN NATIONAL #1 RANKING: Notre Dame junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) are once again the top-ranked doubles team in college tennis, as they moved back up to #1 in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), which were released on Jan. 10. It is the second time that the Thompson sisters have 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. 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.
The Thompsons delivered Notre Dame’s first-ever title in a collegiate grand slam in September by downing three top-10 teams and then saving two match points en route to a thrilling tiebreaker triumph in the title match of the Riviera ITA All-American Championships. After a win at No. 1 against USC in a dual match, the twins tried to become the first team from any school ever to win both of the first two legs of the grand slam, but were denied, losing to Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey from Stanford – the nation’s current #2 team – in the quarterfinals. The Thompsons, 6-1 heading into the spring, already boast victories this season over the teams currently ranked #2, #3 (Maja Kovacek/Iva Gersic of New Mexico), #4 (Katharina Wintherhalter/Lucia Sainz of Fresno State), and #5 (Gabriela Duch/Neyssa Etienne of South Florida). Those quality wins allowed them to pile up 72.62 points in the computerized rankings, while Barnes and Yelsey were relatively far behind at 61.65.
NOTRE DAME ONLY DI SQUAD WITH THREE RANKED DOUBLES TEAMS: Notre Dame is the only school with three teams listed (out of 50 ranked squads) in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings, released Jan. 10. Junior twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) moved up a spot to #1 in the listing, while sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) are 35th, and the pair of seniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) came in 45th. Notre Dame has never before had three doubles teams ranked simultaneously.
ND 22ND IN FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS RANKINGS: Despite being idle last week, the Irish moved up one spot (past Clemson) to 22nd in the latest set of Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), which were released on Tuesday. In all, 18 of Notre Dame’s 23 regular-season opponents are listed in the rankings, with eight in the top 25: #5 Duke, #8 Northwestern, #9 Harvard, #10 North Carolina, #14 Vanderbilt, #20 Tennessee, #21 Brigham Young, and #23 Wake Forest. Additionally, the Irish lost 4-3 to USC – currently ranked fourth – during the fall in exhibition action.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Jay Louderback is in his 17th season at Notre Dame with a 285-147 (.660) record and his 26th year as a collegiate coach with a 489-325 (.601) mark. He ranks fifth 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 202 of 204 sets of ITA rankings. 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.
START ME UP: Notre Dame is 2-0 for the third time in the last five seasons, having also opened the spring with two wins in 2001-02 and 2002-03. The last 3-0 start was in `01-02, but the last time ND won more than its first three matches was 1997-98, when it began 5-0.
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 24th and 44th, respectively, in singles in the latest edition of the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings – combine to give Notre Dame multipled 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. Notre Dame is one of just a dozen schools with multiple players among the top 50 in singles, along with Baylor, California, Duke, Florida, Georgia Tech, New Mexico, North Carolina, Northwestern, Stanford, TCU, and William & Mary. Catrina Thompson is the highest-ranked Irish player in the national listing since Alicia Salas finished her career in 2003-04 at 22nd.
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.
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 WIN ALL 30 SETS IN DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP OF OHIO STATE & XAVIER: Notre Dame was virtually perfect in opening the spring with 7-0 victories against Ohio State and Xavier on Jan. 28. Despite resting its Nos. 3 and 4 players, Notre Dame lost only 11 games in singles against the Musketeers (18 games lost in 15 sets, including the doubles). It was the fewest surrendered by the Irish since Jan. 30, 1999, when Notre Dame allowed Kansas State to win 10 games in singles in a 9-0 decision in Oklahoma City, Okla. That contest, however, featured an Irish walkover at No. 6. The Xavier match marked the fewest singles games surrendered by the Irish in a match with all six singles matches being contested since ND lost just 10 in a 9-0 win against Western Illinois on March 18, 1989.
STREAKS: The following streaks are active heading into this weekend:
– Notre Dame has won 16 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]
– Notre Dame has won six consecutive home matches. [last loss: 2/26/05vs. #13 Texas, 4-3]
– Catrina Thompson has won eight consecutive singles matches in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. [last loss: 2/18/05 vs. Duke’s Katie Blaszak 6-1, 6-7, 6-2]
– Catrina Thompson has won six consecutive home doubles matches. [last loss: 2/26/05 vs. Texas’ Katie Ruckert/Kendra Strohm 8-5]
– Christian Thompson has won seven straight in singles when carrying a national ranking. [last loss: 2/13/04 vs. VCU’s Silvia Urickova 7-6 (7-3), 6-4]
– Christian Thompson has lost 11 consecutive matches when losing the opening set. [last win: 4/4/04 vs. Miami’s Melissa Applebaum 1-6, 7-5, 6-3]
– Christian Thompaon is 8-0 in her career in singles matches against BIG EAST Conference players.
– Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson have won five consecutive matches in dual action. [last loss: 4/14/05 vs. Northwestern’s Audra Cohen/Cristelle Grier 8-4]
– Brook Buck has won a career-high five consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Michigan’s Debra Streifler 7-5, 6-1]
– Brook Buck has won 24 consecutive matches when taking the opening set (27-1 career record). [only loss: 9/19/04 vs. Denver’s Jenny Trettin 1-6, 6-3, 6-1]
– Kelcy Tefft has won a collegiate-high five consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Purdue’s Randi Schuler 6-2, 6-3]
– Kelcy Tefft is 9-0 as a collegian when winning the opening set.
– Brook Buck/Kelcy Tefft have won five consecutive matches. [last loss: 10/23/05 vs. Northwestern’s Cristelle Grier/Alexis Prousis 8-4]
– Kristina Stastny has won four consecutive singles matches (matching her career high). [last loss: 11/4/05 vs. Illinois’ Brianna Knue 6-0, 6-1]
– Katie Potts has won six consecutive singles matches. [last loss: 10/22/05 vs. Northwestern’s Nazlie Ghazal 7-5, 6-4]
– Lauren Connelly has won four 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]
LOSING RECORD IN ALL-TIME SERIES: See pdf for the list of teams that have a winning all-time record against Notre Dame in its 30 years of varsity men’s tennis (minimum five wins over ND).
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.
MOST LOSSES AGAINST ONE SCHOOL: See pdf for the list of teams that have defeated Notre Dame most in its 30 years of varsity women’s tennis.
MOST WINS IN LOUDERBACK ERA: See pdf for the list of schools Notre Dame has defeated most since head coach Jay Louderback began his tenure in 1989-90.
MOST LOSSES IN LOUDERBACK ERA: See pdf for the list of teams that have defeated Notre Dame most since head coach Jay Louderback began his tenure in 1989-90.
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.
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 206 of 208 (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. #6 NORTHWESTERN: Notre Dame’s matchup with #6 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.email@example.com, who also can provide any information about the Irish tennis program.