Feb. 25, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The seventh-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team won its eighth straight match by defeating #20 Brigham Young 5-2 Saturday morning in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish – who have won nine consecutive home matches – are off to an 8-0 start for the first time since 1984-85. Notre Dame concluded a stretch of six consecutive matches against top-30 squads with a perfect record. It is ND’s best record in such a stretch in its history.
A trio of 8-3 victories in doubles vaulted the Irish to an early lead. The Cougars secured a victory at No. 1 singles before the Irish posted wins in the next four singles matches to take a 5-1 lead and clinch the victory. Brigham Young won the final match at No. 3 in two tie-break sets to account for the final margin.
Notre Dame – which was playing as a top-10 squad for the first time in five years – won the doubles point for the eighth time in as many matches this spring and improved to a combined 23-1 in partnered play. In 17 of the 24 matches, the Irish have limited their opponents to three games or fewer.
Junior All-Americans Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were first off the court following their fourth straight win at the No. 1 position. The Irish duo won the last five games of their match to defeat Anastasia Sourkova and Jennifer Miccoli and improved their record to 12-2 on the season.
The senior tandem of Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) and Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) won six of the final seven games against Olga Boulytcheva and Sofia Holden to put away the Cougar team and secure the doubles point for the Irish. It was the third clinching victory for the veteran duo which earned its team-leading 19th win. The duo remained undefeated in dual-match play.
The 31st -ranked team of sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.) completed the Irish sweep by topping Dolly Chang and Lauren Jones at No. 2. Buck and Tefft have won 11 consecutive matches, dating back to Oct. 23, and stand 18-2 overall (8-0 dual). Notre Dame is a perfect 8-0 at the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles positions this season.
Brigham Young knotted the score at 1-1 when Catrina Thompson fell for just the second time in singles this spring, dropping a 6-1, 6-1 decision to Brigham Young’s 17th ranked Boulytcheva. The loss marked Thompson’s third in as many matches this season against higher ranked opponents.
The Irish vaulted into the lead for good when Tefft defeated Holden 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4. The win was the third straight for the Notre Dame rookie, who ran her record to 13-2 on the season. Tefft won 10 of the first 11 games to secure the first set and jump out to a 4-0 advantage in the second. Holden fought back to win the next three games before Tefft regained control to take the match.
Next off the court was freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.), who beat Miccoli 6-3, 6-4 at No. 6 for her 12th consecutive victory, dating back to Oct. 22. Potts rallied to defeat the determined Brigham Young sophomore in the second set after trailing 4-3. Three hard-fought deuce games went the way of the Irish as Potts earned a crucial break at 4-4 and held serve to win. She is now 14-3 on the season, including 8-0 in dual action.
Notre Dame clinched the match when Stastny, the only senior in the Irish singles lineup, prevailed over Dolly Chang 6-4, 6-1. Stastny never trailed in either set, winning the first with a service break and sprinting to a 3-0 lead in the second. The senior improved to 16-5 on the season.
The two teams split the final two matches with Christian Thompson defeating Lauren Jones at No. 2 and Sourkova surviving two tiebreakers to earn a victory over Buck at No. 3. Sourkova’s victory came in a closely-contested match that included numerous service breaks and nail-biting points. With the score tied 4-4 in the first set, neither player could hold serve in the final four games, and the set went to a tiebreaker. Buck fell behind 5-2 and fell victim to bad luck when a netcord winner gave the Cougar a 6-2 advantage and the eventual set win. Buck had the opportunity to serve out the second set at 5-4, but Sourkova earned the break and went on to win in a close tiebreaker.
Notre Dame avenged last year’s 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Cougars in Provo. The Irish win was their seventh in the last eight matches with the Cougars and fourth in as many all-time contests at home.
The Irish last began the season with eight consecutive victories in 1984-85, when they were 10-0 en route to finishing 25-5 and advancing all the way to the title match of the NCAA Division II Championship. It is Notre Dame’s longest winning streak at any point in the season since taking 10 straight from March 30-May 13, 2001.
The Brigham Young match concluded a stretch of six straight matches against top 30 teams. The Irish will not face another top-30 team until a March 15 clash with eighth-ranked Duke in Orlando, Fla.
Notre Dame – which is in the midst of its longest homestand since 1992-93 (seven matches from Feb. 18-March 10) – will play #51 Wisconsin at the Eck Tennis Pavilion Sunday morning. The Badgers fell to BYU 7-0 in a match played Friday afternoon in Madison, Wis.
#7 Notre Dame 5, #20 Brigham Young 2SinglesNo. 1: #17 Olga Boulytcheva (BYU) def. #27 Catrina Thompson (ND) 6-1, 6-1No. 2: #32 Christian Thompson (ND) def. #98 Lauren Jones (BYU) 6-4, 6-2No. 3: Anastasia Sourkova (BYU) def. Brook Buck (ND) 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5)No. 4: Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Sofia Holden (BYU) 6-1, 6-4No. 5: * Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Dolly Chang (BYU) 6-4, 6-1No. 6: Katie Potts (ND) def. Jennifer Miccoli (BYU) 6-3, 6-4Order of Finish: 1, 4, 6, 5*, 2, 3DoublesNo. 1: #2 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Sourkova/Miccoli (BYU) 8-3No. 2: #31 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Boulytcheva/Holden (BYU) 8-3No. 3: * #51 Lauren Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Chang/Jones (BYU) 8-3Order of Finish: 1, 3*, 2
* - indicates clinching victory