Jan. 22, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The youth movement for the 22nd-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team paid immediate dividends Wednesday afternoon, as three Irish freshmen accounted for four points in a 5-2 victory over Western Michigan at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Junior Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.), freshman Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuiness H.S.) and freshman Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg H.S.) all were double winners for Notre Dame, which won its season opener for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
Salas, ranked 124th in the nation in singles, made short work of her match at the No. 1 flight, dispatching the Broncos’ Melanie Peters, 6-0, 6-2. Connelly and Smith, who both were playing in their first collegiate dual match, had similar success, posting identical 6-2, 6-3 wins at the fourth and sixth singles flights, respectively. Salas and Connelly also teamed up to record a convincing 8-1 win at No. 2 doubles, while Smith paired with sophomore Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuiness H.S.) to card an 8-2 victory at No. 3 doubles.
Freshman Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) picked up the other singles win for Notre Dame, collecting a 6-0, 6-2 triumph at the No. 3 flight. The Irish nearly recorded a shutout over the Broncos, but lost third-set tiebreaks in the second and fifth singles matches.
Salas and Lauren Connelly got the Irish going early with their doubles win, followed in quick fashion by the clinching doubles victory from Smith and Sarah Jane Connelly. Salas improved to 9-3 in doubles play this season, while Smith and Sarah Jane Connelly moved their tandem record to 10-4, tying for the team lead in wins this year.
Salas then contributed her singles win at the top flight, jumping to 12-4 this year and a staggering 59-14 in her career. Her lifetime dual-match singles record is even more impressive, as she now is 28-3 during her three-year tenure at Notre Dame. Lauren Connelly was the next Irish singles player off the court, logging a straight-sets win to push Notre Dame to the brink of victory. Stastny clinched the season-opening triumph for the Irish with her win in the third singles flight.
Notre Dame returns to the court Sunday at 11 a.m. (CST) when it visits No. 30 Wisconsin in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Championship opening-round match, which was won by the Badgers, 4-2.
— ND —
#22 NOTRE DAME 5, Western Michigan 2
#124 Alicia Salas (ND) d. Melanie Peters (WMU), 6-0, 6-2
Frederika Girsang (WMU) d. Caylan Leslie (ND), 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-5)
Kristina Stastny (ND) d. Valeria Stoilova (WMU), 6-0, 6-2
Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Shamim Mayanja (WMU), 6-2, 6-3
Malena Remynse (WMU) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND), 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5)
Jennifer Smith (ND) d. Rattiya Hiranat (WMU), 6-2, 6-3
*Kelly Nelson (ND) d. Reedhina Parekh (WMU), 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7)
*Liz Donohue (ND) d. Maelynn Bernosky (WMU), 8-4
#58 Peters/Girsang (WMU) d. Katie Cunha/Stastny (ND), 8-6
L. Connelly/Salas (ND) d. Stoilova/Hiranat (WMU), 8-1
S.J. Connelly/Smith (ND) d. Remynse/Parekh (WMU), 8-2
*Donohue/Nelson (ND) d. Bernosky/Mayanja (WMU), 8-6
*exhibition matches — results not included in final team score