Feb. 11, 2006
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) won in three sets in the final match remaining to hand the 22nd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (3-0) a 4-3 victory against #23 Wake Forest (3-1) Saturday afternoon in the Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center. The Irish – who will head west to Chapel Hill to face 10th-ranked North Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m. (live scoring updates may be available on und.com) – swept the doubles matches and won at the bottom three positions in singles for their first victory in Winston-Salem since 1998. Notre Dame, which sprinted to a 3-0 lead and held on, ended a streak of the home team winning seven consecutive matches in the series between the schools.
“This was a nice win for us over a very good team,” said Irish head coach Jay Louderback. “We looked really good in doubles, particularly at the top two positions, and it was good to start off by winning the doubles point. I think we showed what good depth we have in singles, winning at Nos. 4, 5, and 6, and for Katie to win in her first time being the last match on was great. She played aggressive right till the end, coming in to the net on both of the last two points. Wake Forest is a very good team that just had a 6-1 win over Tennessee.”
The team score became tied at 3-3 with Potts trying to close out her match at No. 6 with fellow rookie Sierra Poske in the second set. But the Demon Deacon got a late break to force a decisive frame that would decide the entire affair. Potts got an early service break to go up 2-0, but that was quickly negated. She then bounced back to win three straight games and take a 5-2 advantage, but Poske denied Potts in her first attempt to serve out the match. The Irish rookie then finished off a 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-4 triumph to hand Notre Dame its fourth consecutive victory in 4-3 matches. Potts has now won seven consecutive matches, dating back to Oct. 22, and stands 9-3 in her first collegiate season. Saturday marked her first three-set affair as a collegian, and she reversed a trend in prevailing twice in tight sets. Prior to that match, Potts had won just once this season in six close sets (6-4, 7-5, or 7-6).
She became the first Notre Dame freshman to triumph in singles in the final match on court with the team score tied since the current dual format – which sees the singles played after the doubles – was adopted in 2000-01. The last Irish rookie to be involved in winning the lone remaining match in a 4-3 triumph was current senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy), who paired with Sarah Jane Connelly to win at No. 2 doubles and clinch the doubles point to give Notre Dame a 4-3 win at Miami in the final of the 2003 BIG EAST Championship (the singles were played first in that match, and both teams won three contests).
Notre Dame – the only Division I school with three nationally-ranked doubles teams – swept the doubles matches for the third time in as many matches this spring. In fact, Notre Dame has dropped just 25 total games in those nine matches, an average of 2.8 per contest. Off the court first was the top-ranked squad in college tennis, All-America twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.). The Irish juniors lost just one game in beating Alexandra Hirsch and Ashlee Davis at No. 1. The Thompsons are 8-1 on the season – having dropped one game or fewer in four of those matches – and have won six in a row in dual action, dating back to April 14, 2005. The Wake Forest duo – comprised of their top two singles players – had been 7-3 on the season and was ranked 32nd nationally in the preseason.
Sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm), ranked 35th nationally, won 8-3 at No. 2 against freshmen Ana Jerman and Christian Tara for their second clinching win of the spring. The Irish team has won six in a row and is 13-2 on the season, having dropped three games or fewer on five occasions. Buck earned her 40th career win in doubles action, as compared to just 14 defeats (.741).
Irish seniors Stastny and team captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.), ranked 45th, completed the sweep by beating Poske and Christine Simpson 8-6 at No. 3. That pair leads the Irish in doubles wins this season with a 14-5 mark. The Wake Forest team is 7-2 together, and both Poske (13-3 before Saturday) and Simpson (11-3) have had much doubles success as individuals.
Stastny continued her recent domination in singles, beating Jenna Loeb 6-0, 6-2 at No. 5 to put Notre Dame up 2-0. The Irish senior has won five in a row for the first time in her career and stands 12-4 on the season. Not only has she not dropped a set in her winning streak, she has lost only 15 total games (an average of 1.3 per set) and never more than three in any frame. Loeb – who lost 6-3, 6-1 to Stastny at No. 5 last spring – came into the match with a 10-4 record on the season.
Tefft put Notre Dame up 3-0 by topping fellow rookie Tara 6-3, 6-4 at No. 4. The Irish freshman has won six straight (all in straight sets) and is now 10-1 as a collegian. Tara came into the match with a 9-4 record.
Wake Forest began its comeback when 64th-ranked Davis completed a 6-2, 6-1 win against Christian Thompson, ranked 44th, at No. 2. The Demon Deacon junior – who hails from Anderson, Ind. – remained perfect against Notre Dame in her career, having won at No. 1 singles in each of the previous two dual matches between the schools. Davis is 12-4 on the season, while Thompson had a seven-match winning streak when carrying a national ranking ended.
Hirsch, ranked 42nd, moved to 14-2 on the season by beating 24th-ranked Catrina Thompson 7-5, 6-3 at No. 1. Hirsch – who played No. 6 against Notre Dame last spring, but has excelled in jumping to the top of the lineup this year – has won seven in a row.
Jerman, a freshman from Slovenia, tied the score at 3-3 by beating Buck 7-5, 6-3 at No. 3. She is 12-5 on the season, while Buck had her career-best five-match winning streak ended and lost for the first time at the No. 3 position.
Notre Dame had lost four straight matches in Winston-Salem and now trails the all-time series with Wake Forest by a 9-8 count. The Deacons had held a 5-1 edge in matches decided by just one point (5-4 or 4-3 scores), including four consecutive wins.
#22 Notre Dame 4, #23 Wake Forest 3SinglesNo. 1: #42 Alexandra Hirsch (WF) def. #24 Catrina Thompson (ND) 7-5, 6-3No. 2: #64 Ashlee Davis (WF) def. #44 Christian Thompson (ND) 6-2, 6-1No. 3: Ana Jerman (WF) def. Brook Buck (ND) 7-5, 6-3No. 4: Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Christian Tara (WF) 6-3, 6-4No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Jenna Loeb (WF) 6-0, 6-2No. 6: *Katie Potts (ND) def. Sierra Poske (WF) 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-4Order of Finish: 5, 4, 2, 1, 3, 6*DoublesNo. 1: #1 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Davis/Hirsch (WF) 8-1No. 2: *#35 Buck/Tefft (ND) def. Jerman/Tara (WF) 8-3No. 3: #45 Lauren Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Poske/Christine Simpson (WF) 8-6Order of Finish: 1, 2*, 3