Jan. 28, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 22nd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (2-0) began the dual-match portion of the 2005-06 campaign with a near-perfect performance, winning all 30 sets en route to 7-0 victories against regional opponents Ohio State (2-1) and Xavier (1-1) Saturday in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish won every set against the Buckeyes by at least three games and then were even more dominating against the Musketeers, posting three 6-0, 6-0 wins in singles and dropping just 18 total games in 15 sets.
Among the top performers on Saturday were senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) – the only player to win four matches – as well as three players who were perfect in their dual-match debuts: senior Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Prep School) and freshmen Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) and Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.). Potts dropped three games in her first singles set of the day, but followed that up with three consecutive 6-0 sets and was the first player of the court in singles in both matches. Seven of the eight Irish players that saw action dropped fewer than 10 games on the day, with senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and junior Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) leading the way in both losing just five games in three matches.
Despite resting its Nos. 3 and 4 players, Notre Dame lost only 11 games in singles against the Musketeers. 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. Saturday 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.
The Irish – currently the only Division I team to boast a trio of nationally-ranked teams in doubles (a program first) – asserted their doubles prowess, losing just eight total games en route to a sweep. First off the court was the nation’s #1-ranked squad, junior All-America twins Christian and Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), who defeated Julie Blackmore and Caitlin O’Keefe 8-1 at No. 1. The sisters – who won the title in the season’s first grand slam, the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships – moved to 7-1 on the season and have a five-match winning streak in dual action.
Tefft and sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School), ranked 35th nationally, then clinched the doubles point by beating Angela DiPastina and Sonia Ruzimovsky 8-2 at No. 2. The 45th-ranked squad of Stastny and Connelly completed the sweep with an 8-5 triumph against Ciara Finucane and Kristin Messmer at No. 3.
Notre Dame’s two freshmen – Tefft and Potts – were both impressive in their dual-match singles debuts. Potts was first off the court, downing Finucane of Ireland 6-3, 6-0 at No. 6. Tefft then followed suit with a 6-2, 6-1 triumph against Blackmore in a battle of rookies. She is now 9-1 as a collegian in singles and has won five in a row.
Christian Thompson, ranked 44th in singles, provided the match-clinching victory for the fifth time in her career by downing another freshman, DiPastina, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2. The Buckeye came into the match with a 10-5 mark as a collegian. Soon thereafter, 24th-ranked Catrina Thompson finished off a 6-2, 6-3 decision against O’Keefe at No. 1, and Buck beat Ruzimovsky 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3. The sophomore ran her winning streak to five and is 7-3 on the campaign. Stastny completed the shutout – Notre Dame’s first against the Buckeyes since 1993 – with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Messmer at No. 5.
The Irish lead the all-time series with Ohio State 14-3 and have now won 11 consecutive matches against the Buckeyes. It matches the second-longest winning streak ever for Notre Dame against a single opponent, behind only a 12-match string over Purdue from 1988-2001. The Irish also have 11-match winning streaks against Illinois (1993-2003) and Boston College (1991-present).
Notre Dame sat the Thompsons for the doubles portion of the Xavier match, but still surrendered just seven total games in a partnered-play sweep. Connelly and Stastny beat Alicia Papa and Jackie Vilines 8-1 at No. 2 to improve to 13-5 on the season. Nelson and Potts then clinched the doubles point by beating Kate Lohner and Potts’ older sister, Sarah, 8-3 at No. 3. It was the dual-match debut for Nelson, who missed all of last season due to injury.
The match marked the first time since she stepped on campus in 2003 that Catrina Thompson was not penciled in at No. 1 doubles. But Buck and Tefft were successful in their debut at No. 1, beating a team of Indiana natives, Terre Haute’s Kristen Clary and Kara Courtney from the Evansville suburb of Newburgh, 8-3 to complete the sweep. The Irish duo is 11-2 on the season and has won five straight.
Potts again was dominant and speedy in singles, winning 6-0, 6-0 against Papa, who came into the match with a 10-1 record on the season. The Irish freshman is 8-3 as a collegian and has won six in a row. She has won 10 consecutive sets, losing a total of just 12 games during that stretch. Potts was so quick against Xavier that as she walked off the court, both the matches at Nos. 2 and 4 were only in the midst of their sixth games in the opening set.
Catrina Thompson also registered a “double bagel,” beating Clary at No. 1 to move to 12-5 on the season and extend her singles winning streak in the Eck Tennis Pavilion to eight. Connelly completed the trio of 6-0, 6-0 matches by downing Annie Diedalis at No. 5 to clinch the win for the 10th time in her career. Christian Thompson then downed Vilines 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 to move to 9-3 on the season.
Stastny earned her fourth victory of the day by beating Courtney – who came into the match with a 9-3 record – 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3. Nelson then completed the sweep with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-3 win over Sarah Potts – who had been 10-1 this season – at No. 6. The Notre Dame senior improved to 12-2 on the season and shares the team lead in singles wins with Catrina Thompson.
It was the just the second-ever matchup between Notre Dame and Xavier in women’s tennis, the first since 1978. The Irish now have a 20-match winning streak against schools from the state of Ohio, dating back to a 7-2 loss to the Buckeyes on April 8, 1990.
Notre Dame extended its winning streak against unranked teams – which dates back to Feb. 20, 1994, against Northwestern – to 64 in a row, including six straight shutouts. ND also has won 25 in a row at home against teams ranked outside the top 25 (dating back to Feb. 3, 2002, against #40 Indiana).
After playing twice in one day to begin the spring, the Irish will now have 13 days off before returning to the court. Next up for Notre Dame will be a trip to the state of North Carolina to face #24 Wake Forest on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Noon (EST) and then #11 UNC on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.
#22 Notre Dame 7, Ohio State 0SinglesNo. 1: #24 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Caitlin O'Keefe (OSU) 6-2, 6-3No. 2: *#44 Christian Thompson (ND) def. Angela DiPastina (OSU) 6-2, 6-1No. 3: Brook Buck (ND) def. Sonia Ruzimovsky (OSU) 6-2, 6-2No. 4: Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Julie Blackmore (OSU) 6-2, 6-1No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Kristin Messmer (OSU) 6-2, 6-3No. 6: Katie Potts (ND) def. Ciara Finucane (OSU) 6-3, 6-0Order of Finish: 6, 4, 2*, 1, 3, 5DoublesNo. 1: #1 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Blackmore/O'Keefe (OSU) 8-1No. 2: *#35 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. DiPastina/Ruzimovsky (OSU) 8-2No. 3: #45 Lauren Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Finucane/Messmer (OSU) 8-5Order of Finish: 1, 2*, 3
#22 Notre Dame 7, Xavier 0SinglesNo. 1: #24 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Kristen Clary (X) 6-0, 6-0No. 2: #44 Christian Thompson (ND) def. Jackie Vilines (X) 6-1, 6-0No. 3: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Kara Courtney (X) 6-2, 6-2No. 4: Katie Potts (ND) def. Alicia Papa (X) 6-0, 6-0No. 5: *Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Annie Diedalis (X) 6-0, 6-0No. 6: Kelly Nelson (ND) def. Sarah Potts (X) 6-3, 6-3Order of Finish: 4, 1, 5*, 2, 3, 6DoublesNo. 1: #35 Brook Buck/Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Clary/Courtney (X) 8-3No. 2: #45 Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Papa/Vilines (X) 8-1No. 3: *Nelson/Potts (ND) def. Kate Lohner/Potts (X) 8-3Order of Finish: 2, 3*, 1