Oct. 26, 2002
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Irish junior Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo.) won a pair of matches on Saturday to advance to the round of 16 in the singles main draw of the OMNI HOTELS Midwest Championships in the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. Salas, ranked 86th nationally in singles and one of the tournament’s 9-16 seeds, posted a pair of straight-set victories and will face the tournament’s top seed, 23rd-ranked Marine Piriou of Northwestern at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday. No other Irish competitors remain in the event, which features the top players in the midwest region.
Salas defeated qualifier Kim Plaushines of Michigan 6-1, 6-3 in the first round of the 64-player singles tournament. She then downed Illinois’ Eldina Fazlic 6-3, 6-4 in second-round action.
Four other Notre Dame players were eliminated from the singles tournament on Saturday, as was the lone remaining doubles team. Senior captain Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) and freshman Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo.), one of the 9-16 seeds in the doubles draw, lost 8-5 in the round of 16 to the fourth-seeded pair of Rebecca Hawkins and Lisa D’Amelio from Eastern Michigan after winning a pair of matches on Friday.
In singles play, Stastny and classmate Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) advanced to the second round before losing. Stastny topped lucky loser Melissa Roach of Ball State 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, but then fell 6-0, 6-1 to the fourth seed, 71st-ranked Melissa Iqbal of Purdue. Connelly improved to 2-0 this fall against ranked opponents by upsetting #69 Erica Fisk of Ohio State, one of the 9-16 seeds, in the first round 6-4, 7-5. The Irish freshman then lost a heartbreaker 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4) to Michigan’s Kavitha Tipernini.
Cunha and sophomore Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) each fell in the opening round to seeded players. The captain lost 6-1, 6-2 to one of the 9-16 seeds, 90th-ranked Christella Grier of Northwestern, while Connelly gave second-seeded and 40th-ranked Jennifer McGaffigan of Illinois a scare before yielding 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.
Two other Notre Dame freshmen won consolation matches on Saturday. Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla.) topped Plaushines 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5) and Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D.) beat Carolina Salinas of Indiana State 6-1, 6-4.
The OMNI HOTELS Midwest Championships are one of eight regional championships sponsored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The event features a 64-player singles qualifying draw followed by a 64-player singles main draw and 64-team doubles main draw. The tournament continues through Tuesday and the singles finalists and doubles champion will earn berths to the second leg of the collegiate tennis grand slam, the OMNI HOTELS National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, slated for Nov. 7-10 in Dallas.
OMNI HOTELS Midwest Championships
[9-16] #86 Alicia Salas (ND) d. Kim Plaushines (Michigan) 6-1, 6-3
Lauren Connelly (ND) d. [9-16] #69 Erica Fisk (Ohio State) 6-4, 7-5
Kristina Stastny (ND) d. Melissa Roach (Ball State) 7-6 (9-7), 6-3
[9-16] Christelle Grier (Northwestern) d. Katie Cunha (ND) 6-1, 6-2
 #40 Jennifer McGaffigan (Illinois) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
[9-16] #86 Salas (ND) d. Eldina Fazlic (Illinois) 6-3, 6-4
Kavitha Tiperneni (Michigan) d. L. Connelly (ND) 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4)
 #71 Melissa Iqbal (Purdue) d. Stastny (ND) 6-0, 6-1
Kelly Nelson (ND) d. Plaushines (Michigan) 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5)
Liz Donohue (ND) d. Carolina Salinas (Indiana State) 6-1, 6-4
Caroline Lay (Michigan State) d. Katie Cunha (ND) 0-6, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (13-11)
Malanie Peters (Western Michigan) d. S.J. Connelly (ND) 6-3, 6-2
Round of 16
 Lisa D’Amelio/Rebecca Hawkins (Eastern Michigan) d. [9-16] Cunha/Stastny (ND) 8-5
Note: Tournament seedings are in brackets. ITA national rankings immediately precede names.