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#22 Women's Tennis Tumbles At #51 Purdue

March 21, 2002

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The 22nd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped its second consecutive match on Thursday afternoon, losing 5-2 to No. 51 Purdue at the Lafayette Sports Center. The setback snaps a 12-game winning streak for the Irish over the Boilermakers and pushes Notre Dame to 10-7 on the season, while Purdue rises to 5-7. The Irish will return to action Wednesday, March 27, when they play host to No. 65 Illinois at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

For the third time in the last four matches, Notre Dame slipped into an early hole by losing the doubles point. This time around, Purdue picked up victories at the top two doubles flights to secure the all-important opening salvo in the match. The Irish managed to salvage a win at No. 3 doubles, as freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and sophomore Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) teamed up for their ninth victory in 10 tries this spring, logging an 8-1 verdict over the Boilermaker tandem of Melissa Iqbal and Lara Burgarello.

Purdue continued to maintain the upper hand in the singles competition as well, backed by a pair of upset victories over ranked Notre Dame players. Gretchen Haynor got the hosts rolling early with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 2 singles over senior Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.), who is ranked 118th in the nation. Moments later, Iqbal gave the Boilermakers a 3-0 match lead when she defeated senior Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 7-5, 6-2, at No. 1 singles, downing the No. 75 player in the land.

Notre Dame earned its first point of the day when senior Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) rolled past Melissa Woods, 6-4, 6-3, at the No. 3 flight. However, Purdue closed out the match when Shawn Zuccarini fought through a first-set tiebreak and defeated junior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.), 7-6, 6-1 at No. 5 singles. After the match was decided, Connelly lost a three-set super tiebreak decision at No. 6 singles to Amy Walgenbach, 7-6, 1-6, 1-0 (10-6). Salas also went three sets at No. 4 singles, coming out on top of Burgarello, 6-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8), to give the Irish their other point in the match.

Green’s victory is her fifth in the last six matches. Meanwhile, Salas improved to 15-2 in singles this spring. She is 22-5 overall and has won 18 of her last 20 matches.

#51 Purdue 5, #22 Notre Dame 2

No. 1: Melissa Iqbal (P) d. #75 Becky Varnum (ND) 7-5, 6-2
No. 2: Gretchen Haynor (P) d. #118 Nina Vaughan (ND) 6-1, 6-1
No. 3: Lindsey Green (ND) d. Melissa Woods (P) 6-4, 6-3
No. 4: Alicia Salas (ND) d. Lara Burgarello (P) 6-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8)
No. 5: Shawn Zuccarini (P) d. Katie Cunha (ND) 7-6, 6-1
No. 6: Amy Walgenbach (P) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 7-6, 1-6, 1-0 (10-6)

No. 1: Missy Wright/Haynor (P) d. #30 Green/Varnum (ND) 8-5
No. 2: Woods/Lynsey Fick (P) d. Cunha/Vaughan (ND) 8-6
No. 3: Connelly/Salas (ND) d. Iqbal/Burgarello (P) 8-1

— ND —