Oct. 10, 2003
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Notre Dame senior co-captain Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.), ranked 63rd nationally in singles, continued her run as a giant killer by upsetting #29 Dianne Hollands of Arizona in consolation action Friday in the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships, the first leg of the collegiate tennis grand slam. Salas then fell to #7 Daria Panova of Oregon to be eliminated from the tournament. Salas and the rest of the Irish women’s tennis team will return to action on Friday, October 17 in an exhibition match against rival USC in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Action is tentatively slated to begin at 4 p.m. (EST).
Salas posted her fourth win over a ranked opponent in four days by topping Hollands 6-4, 6-3. The Irish senior dropped the first three games of the second set before fighting back to win six consecutive games. The Wildcat is the highest-ranked opponent ever to fall victim to Salas.
“Alicia did an unbelievable job of covering the court,” said Irish head coach Jay Louderback. “She was really aggressive, and I was really impressed with her speed. She really tracked down a lot of balls.”
In the afternoon match, Panova, the tournament’s sixth seed, pulled out a close match 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). Salas jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but could not force a third frame.
“It was really a great tournament for Alicia,” said Louderback. “She played very well and beat some really good players.”
Salas is 6-3 on the young season, with the losses coming to players ranked Nos. 7, 8, and 27 nationally. She now has 11 career victories over ranked opponents. Prior to this tournament, Salas’ highest-ranked victim was #54 Melissa Applebaum of Miami in the BIG EAST final a year ago. She posted three wins over top-40 players in the All-American Championships.
In qualifying, she beat #85 Ashley Schellhas of Vanderbilt 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 and #33 Alix Lacelarie of Clemson 6-1, 6-0 on Tuesday before defeating #39 Megan Muth of William & Mary 6-4, 6-3 in Wednesday’s qualifying round. On Thursday, Salas lost 6-4, 6-0 to #27 Tammy Encina of Tennessee in the opening round of the main draw.
Salas was the first Notre Dame player to reach the 32-player main draw of the All-American Championships since current Irish assistant coach Michelle Dasso advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament as a senior in 2000.
The Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships, the Nov. 6-9 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, and the year-end NCAA Singles & Doubles Championships are college tennis’ three national championship events. From 1986 until 2000-01 there were four national tournaments, but the ITA National Clay Court Championships is no longer played.
The main draw (Thurs.-Sun.) was preceded by two sets of qualifying tournaments. The 64-player (32 doubles) prequalifying tournament was last weekend at UCLA and eight players and four doubles teams advanced from there to the 64-player qualifying tournament at Riviera (where eight players and four doubles teams advanced to the main draw).
The premier hard court event of the fall collegiate season, the All-American Championships feature the top players in NCAA Division I tennis. Several past champions have gone on to professional careers. The famous Riviera Tennis Club has played host to this event since 1988.
RadioTennis.com plans to broadcast the weekend semifinals and finals.
Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships
Singles — Consolation
#63 Alicia Salas (Notre Dame) d. #29 Dianne Hollands (Arizona) 6-4, 6-3
 #7 Daria Panova (Oregon) d. #63 Alicia Salas (Notre Dame) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
Note: Tournament seeding in brackets, followed by national ranking.