April 23, 2005
TAMPA, Fla. – The top-seeded and 25th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (14-9) claimed its sixth BIG EAST Conference championship by defeating third-seeded Syracuse (14-8) 4-0 Saturday morning in the title match at the University of South Florida. The Irish won the doubles point and earned a trio of quick straight-set victories in singles – losing just four games apiece – to prevail over the Orange.
The win gave Notre Dame an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship, which begins May 13-15 at campus sites. The full 64-team draw will be announced on Wednesday, May 5, on ESPNews.
Sophomore twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were both double winners for the Irish, while senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) won in singles and her sister, junior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.), and freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) were victorious in doubles.
First off the court in doubles were Buck and Lauren Connelly, ranked 59th in the nation. They topped Katie Bramante and Wei-Ming Leong 8-2 at No. 2 to improve to 26-11 this season, including 15-8 in dual action at No. 2.
Clinching the doubles point for the second day in a row and seventh time this season were the Thompson twins, the #5-ranked team in college tennis. They defeated Victoria Vaynberg and Catherine Zawadzki 8-3 at No. 1 and are now 25-6 this season, including 17-4 in dual matches at No. 1.
The Irish were on their way to a sweep, as Sarah Jane Connelly and junior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) were up 7-4 against Carolina Huignard and Ashley Lipton at No. 3 when the Thompsons finished.
Christian Thompson, who did not play singles in Friday’s semifinals due to a knee injury, returned to action on Saturday and was the fastest singles winner, topping Lipton 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3. She snapped a two-match losing streak and moved to 12-9 this season.
Sarah Jane Connelly, in her final BIG EAST tournament, put ND within a point of victory by beating Pearly Leung 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6. She improved to 15-8 this season and has won three consecutive matches.
Catrina Thompson, ranked 37th in the nation, provided the clincher for the third time this season, defeating Vaynberg 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1. She is now 22-8, including 16-7 in action at No. 1.
For the second day in a row, Lauren Connelly was just one game shy of a victory, as she was ahead 6-2, 5-2 against Huignard at No. 4 when the match was abandoned. Buck, ranked 102nd, held a 6-2, 3-5 edge over Zawadzki at No. 2, while Bramante was up 6-1, 4-4 against Stastny at No. 5 when Thompson ended the match.
The Irish had previously won BIG EAST titles in 1996, ’97, ’99, 2001, and ’03.
Notre Dame improved to 25-0 all-time against current BIG EAST schools, including 4-0 against the Orange. The Irish also have now won 62 consecutive matches (dating back to 1993) against unranked squads.
[No. 1 seed] #25 Notre Dame 4, [No. 3 seed] Syracuse 0SinglesNo. 1: #37 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Victoria Vaynberg (SU) 6-3, 6-1No. 2: #102 Brook Buck (ND) led Catherine Zawadzki (SU) 6-2, 3-5, abandonedNo. 3: Christian Thompson (ND) def. Ashley Lipton (SU) 6-1, 6-3No. 4: Lauren Connelly (ND) led Carolina Huignard (SU) 6-2, 5-2, abandonedNo. 5: Katie Bramante (SU) led Kristina Stastny (ND) 6-1, 4-4, abandonedNo. 6: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) def. Pearly Leung (SU) 6-3, 6-1Order of Finish: 3, 6, 1*DoublesNo. 1: #5 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Vaynberg/Zawadzki (SU) 8-3No. 2: #59 Buck/L. Connelly (ND) def. Bramante/Wei-Ming Leong 8-2No. 3: S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) led Huignard/Lipton (SU) 7-4, abandonedOrder of Finish: 2, 1*