March 18, 2005
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Playing without the injured Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – who plays No. 1 doubles and No. 3 singles – the 25th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (6-7) lost 6-1 at #23 Tennessee (10-3) Friday afternoon at the UT Varsity Courts. The lone point for the Irish came from freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School), who lost just four games in a straight-set victory at No. 2 singles. Notre Dame will return to action on Tuesday, when it plays host to #53 Purdue at 4 p.m. (EST).
Notre Dame was poised to win the doubles point, but a Tennessee comeback at No. 3 allowed the Lady Vols to capture the match’s initial point. Then UT won five of the six singles contests in straight sets to cruise to the victory, its sixth in a row over the Irish.
Buck, ranked 59th nationally in singles, defeated Blakeley Griffith 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2 to provide the lone Irish tally. The Notre Dame rookie improved to 19-7 on the season, including 9-4 in dual-match action at No. 2. Buck has won four of her last five matches, while Griffith has been one of the Lady Vols’ most consistent points this spring, as she entered the match with a 9-3 mark in dual action.
The doubles point came down to the No. 3 match, where Irish senior co-captain Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and sophomore Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg H.S.) were teaming together for the first time in nearly two years. The Notre Dame duo seemed to be in control of the match, building a 7-4 advantage before Tennessee’s pair of Griffith and Ashley Robards rallied to force a tiebreaker, which it would win by a score of 7-2.
Notre Dame won the quickest doubles match, as junior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) and sophomore Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – teaming together for the first time – registered an 8-4 victory against Sabita Maharaj and Bryce Marable at No. 1. At No. 2, it was Melissa Schaub and Ghizela Schutte of Tennessee edging Buck and junior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) 9-7 to put the point in the hands of the No. 3 players.
Off first in singles was Victoria Jones, a native of the United Kingdom, who beat Lauren Connelly 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4. The rookie Marable then brought the Lady Vols to within one point of victory by beating Stastny 6-3, 6-0 at No. 3.
After Buck’s victory kept the match going, Maharaj, ranked 44th in the nation, topped 39th-ranked Catrina Thompson 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1 to clinch Tennessee’s triumph. After the outcome was determined, Robards beat junior Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D./O’Gorman H.S.) 7-6, 6-2 at No. 5 and Schutte, a freshman from South Africa, topped Sarah Jane Connelly 6-1, 7-6 at No. 6.
#23 Tennessee 6, #25 Notre Dame 1
No. 1: #44 Sabita Maharaj (UT) def. #39 Catrina Thompson (ND) 6-1, 6-3
No. 2: #59 Brook Buck (ND) def. Blakeley Griffith (UT) 6-3, 6-1
No. 3: Bryce Marable (UT) def. Kristina Stastny (ND) 6-3, 6-0
No. 4: Victoria Jones (UT) def. Lauren Connelly (ND) 6-1, 6-1
No. 5: Ashley Robards (UT) def. Liz Donohue (ND) 7-6, 6-2
No. 6: Ghizela Schutte (UT) def. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 6-1, 7-6
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 2, 1*, 5, 6
No. 1: Stastny/Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Maharaj/Marable (UT) 8-4
No. 2: Melissa Schaub/Schutte (UT) def. Buck/L. Connelly (ND) 9-7
No. 3: Griffith/Robards (UT) def. S.J. Connelly/Jennifer Smith (ND) 9-8 (7-2)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3*