Nov. 9, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Click below for complete Eck Classic results, through Saturday, in PDF format.
Four of the six participants in Sunday’s title matches will be from Notre Dame after Irish players continued to be rude hosts on the court Saturday in their only home tournament of the fall, the 15th annual Eck Classic. Junior Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo.) and freshman Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) will meet in the Blue Flight singles final, while first-year competitor Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla.) will look for the title in the Gold Flight. Senior captain Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) and freshman Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo.) won a pair of matches Saturday to advance to the doubles final. Sunday will feature one round of doubles followed by a round of singles, with play getting underway at 9:00 a.m.
Salas continued her dominating play with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Indiana’s Sarah Batty in the Blue Flight semifinals. The Irish junior, ranked 86th in the nation in singles, is 10-4 this fall and 57-14 (.803) in her career. Saturday marked the 31st time in those 71 career matches that Salas’ opponent failed to win more than five games. She has won six of her last seven matches and is now 25-2 in singles matches at home in her career, including a current nine-match winning streak in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The other Blue Flight semifinal was one of three matches on the day where Irish competitors were forced to play against their own teammates. Connelly came back to defeat Stastny 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-5) to gain a berth in Sunday’s final against Salas. The Irish freshman is 8-4 in her inaugural collegiate fall and will try to improve to 3-0 against ranked opponents. Stastny will face Batty in the third-place match on Sunday.
In the Gold Flight, Nelson topped Indiana’s Martina Grimm 7-5, 6-4 to advance to a matchup with Kristine Holte of Syracuse in Sunday’s final. Nelson has won six of her last seven matches and is 11-5 overall this fall, which leads Notre Dame in singles triumphs.
Cunha and Stastny advanced to the final by knocking off a pair of their teammates, sophomore Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and freshman Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C.), in the semifinals by an 8-4 score. The Irish team, which is 5-1 this fall, will take on Purdue’s squad of Lara Burgarello and Missy Wright in the championship match after the Boilermaker pair topped two Notre Dame teams on Saturday. Cunha and Stastny defeated Batty and Grimm 8-5 in the quarterfinals, while Connelly and Smith topped another Irish pair, senior Maggie Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and sophomore Jami Kirk (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), 8-2 to advance to the semis.
Notre Dame players also had strong results in consolation singles play on Saturday. Sarah Jane Connelly defeated Daniela Kaluskova of Syracuse 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the consolation title match against Purdue’s Amy Walgenbach in the Blue Flight. Meanwhile, Maggie Donohue beat Louisville’s Paige Eber 6-3, 6-3 and her sister, Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D.), topped another Cardinal, Casie Skaggs, 6-0, 6-1 to set up an all-Irish and all-family consolation final in the Gold Flight. That match, however, will not be played as both Donohues will take on players from Syracuse in consolation action on Sunday. Maggie will play Natalie Ackerman and Liz will face Trine Juliussen. Also a backdraw winner on Saturday was Cunha, who downed Burgarello 6-1, 6-2 in Blue-Flight play.
Kirk will be in action as well on Sunday, facing Alexa Konstand of Syracuse. In doubles, Salas and Lauren Connelly will prepare for their singles tussle by teaming up to take on Batty and Grimm in a consolation match. Smith and Sarah Jane Connelly will face Kaluskova and Wei-Ming Leong of Syracuse and Liz Donohue and Nelson are slated to take on another pair of Orangewomen, Masha Kabanova and Sherwin Saedinia. Kirk and Maggie Donohue will play Jessica Groth and Sophie Rychlik of Indiana.
The Eck Classic has been held each year in the Eck Tennis Pavilion since its construction in 1987. The format of this year’s tournament is two 16-player singles brackets (Blue and Gold Flights) and one 16-team doubles tournament. Four other teams, Indiana, Louisville, Purdue and Syracuse, join the Irish in the event.
#86 Alicia Salas (ND) d. Sarah Batty (IU) 6-2, 6-1
Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Kristina Stastny (ND) 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-5)
Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Daniela Kaluskova (SU) 6-1, 6-1
Katie Cunha (ND) d. Lara Burgarello (PU) 6-1, 6-2
Kelly Nelson (ND) d. Martina Grimm (IU) 7-5, 6-4
Maggie Donohue (ND) d. Paige Eber (Louisville) 6-3, 6-3
Liz Donohue (ND) d. Casie Skaggs (Louisville) 6-0, 6-1
Catie McLevish (P) d. Jami Kirk (ND) 6-4, 6-2
L. Donohue/Nelson (ND) d. #13 Karie Schlukebir/Linda Tran (IU) by default
Burgarello/Missy Wright (PU) d. L. Connelly/Salas (ND) 9-7
S.J. Connelly/Jennifer Smith (ND) d. M. Donohue/Kirk (ND) 8-2
Cunha/Stastny (ND) d. Batty/Grimm (IU) 8-5
Burgarello/Wright (PU) d. L. Donohue/Nelson (ND) 8-4
Cunha/Stastny (ND) d. S.J. Connelly/Smith (ND) 8-4
Batty/Grimm (IU) d. M. Donohue/Kirk (ND) 8-0