Oct. 28, 2001
MADISON, Wis. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team had a pair of doubles teams advance to the semifinals before losing Sunday at the Omni Hotels Region IV Championships. Two Irish singles players lost in the round of 16 and three others completed consolation play.
The top-seeded doubles team of seniors Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) and the team of junior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) and freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) both were victorious in quarterfinal action Sunday morning. Varnum and Green, ranked 23rd nationally, defeated Michaela Havelkova and Valerie Vladea of Minnesota 8-5, while Cunha and Connelly beat the Eastern Michigan team of Lisa D’Amelio and Rebecca Hawkins 8-6.
Both Irish pairs fell in the semifinals to seeded teams. Varnum and Green fought to a tiebreaker, but came out on the short end (7-1) to the sixth seed, Liina Suurvarik and Alesia Mikalayeva of Illinois State. Cunha and Connelly lost 8-4 to the fourth-seeded pair of Kari Schlukebir and Linda Tran from Indiana.
The loss for Varnum was just her second career defeat in doubles at the Region IV Championships. In four years, she compiled an 18-2 mark, winning titles in 1999 and 2000 with Michelle Dasso and losing in the semifinals in 1998 and 2001. In combined singles and doubles play, she was 29-6 in her career at the Region IV Championships.
In singles action, the two remaining Notre Dame players lost in the round of 16 Sunday. Hawkins got some revenge on the Irish by eliminating sophomore Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 and Cunha fell 6-0, 6-1 to the third seed, #34 Lia Jackson of Northwestern. The loss ended a singles run in which Cunha won five matches — three in qualifying and two in the main draw. Neither Cunha nor Salas had won a match in the main draw of this tournament prior to this year.
In consolation action, 48th-ranked top seed Varnum won two matches, 6-3, 6-1 over Drake’s Annali de Bruyn and 6-4, 6-4 over Northwestern’s Ruth Barnes. 61st-ranked senior Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.), the sixth seed, beat Wisconsin’s Lindsay Martin 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 (14-12) before falling to the fourth seed, #57 Monica Rincon of Ohio State, 6-1, 6-3. D’Amelio also exacted some payback against Notre Dame for her earlier doubles loss by beating Green 6-2, 1-6, 1-0 (10-8) in another consolation match.
The Omni Hotels Region IV Championships consist of a 64-player singles draw and a 64-team doubles draw featuring the top players in the midwest in indoor action. A 64-player qualifying tournament in singles is also held with eight advancing to the main draw to join the 56 players receiving automatic berths. Three victories are needed to move through qualifying. 16 singles players and eight doubles teams are seeded in the main draws. The singles finalists and the doubles champion of the main draw of each regional championship advance to the Nov. 8-11 Omni Hotels National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in Dallas, Texas, the premiere indoor collegiate tennis event of the season.
Notre Dame will return to action in two weeks, hosting the Eck Classic from Nov. 9-11 to be played at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Some players may also participate in the Omni Hotels National Intercollegiate Indoor championships in Dallas, Texas from Nov. 8-11. The draw will be announced this week.
Omni Hotels Region IV Championships
Round of 16
Rebecca Hawkins (Eastern Michigan) d. Alicia Salas (ND) 7-6 (7-5), 6-0
(3) #34 Lia Jackson (Northwestern) d. (Q) Katie Cunha (ND) 6-0, 6-1
Consolation First Round
(1) #48 Becky Varnum (ND) d. Annali de Bruyn (Drake) 6-3, 6-1
Lisa D’Amelio (Eastern Michigan) d. Lindsey Green (ND) 6-2, 1-6, 1-0 (10-8)
(6) #61 Nina Vaughan (ND) d. Lindsay Martin (Wisconsin) 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 (14-12)
Consolation Second Round
(1) #48 Varnum (ND) d. Ruth Barnes (Northwestern) 6-4, 6-4
(4) #57 Monica Rincon (Ohio State) d. (6) #61 Vaughan (ND) 6-1, 6-3
(1) #23 Green/Varnum (ND) d. Michaela Havelkova/Valerie Vladea (Minnesota) 8-5
Sarah Jane Connelly/Cunha (ND) d. D’Amelio/Hawkins (Eastern Michigan) 8-6
(6) Liina Suurvarik/Alesia Mikalayeva (Illinois State) d. (1) #23 Green/Varnum (ND) 9-8 (7-1)
(4) Kari Schlukebir/Linda Tran (Indiana) d. Connelly/Cunha (ND) 8-4
Note: Numbers in parentheses indicate seeding or qualifier. Numbers preceding name are ITA national rankings.