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Freshmen Debuts Highlight Outstanding Opening Day For Irish At OSU/Prince Cup

Sept. 20, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The first day of the 2002-03 season was an impressive one for the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team, which had five players advance to the round of 16 in singles (while no other team had more than three) and a pair of doubles teams reach the quarterfinals of the OSU/Prince Cup. Junior Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.), sophomore Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and freshman Kristina Stastny (St. Lous, Mo.) are each still alive in the main draw in both singles and doubles heading into Saturday’s second day of play. Stastny and four of her classmates had impressive collegiate debuts,combining for a 10-4 record.

The OSU/Prince Cup is a seven-team tournament featuring a 48-player singles main draw and a 24-team doubles tournament. Consolation brackets guarantee each player of playing in at least three matches. The first two rounds of both main draws were played on Friday, as was the first round of consolation play. Play will continue at the Stickney Tennis Center on Saturday with two rounds of singles commencing at 9:00 a.m. (EDT) and another round of doubles slated for a 3:30 p.m. (EDT) start.

The five-player freshman class put together a brilliant first day of collegiate action, with three of them still remaining in the singles draw. Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla.) each won a pair of singles matches to advance to the round of 16, while Stastny received a bye in the first round and, thus, needed only one victory to reach tomorrow’s play. Connelly, who joined her sister at Notre Dame this fall, defeated Penn State’s Maaria Husain 6-1, 6-3 in the first round and then downed Miami of Ohio’s Grace Cascarilla 6-1, 6-4. Nelson topped LSU’s Erin McGill 6-0, 6-1 and then battled to a 7-5, 0-6, 1-0 (11-9) victory against Lindsay Williams of Ohio State. Stastny’s win also came in a match tiebreaker, 6-0, 1-6, 1-0 (10-8) over Penn State’s Sarah Spence. Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D.) defeated Remy Swain of Miami (Ohio) 6-4, 6-3 before falling to the tournament’s top seed, Vida Mulec of Baylor.

In other singles action, Salas picked up right where she left off last spring, defeating Miami of Ohio’s Megan Zimpfer 6-3, 6-0 after gaining a first-round bye. Salas was 31-6 in singles last year, while tying the school record with 24 wins in dual matches. She was the third seed in singles in the OSU/Prince Cup and is ranked 86th in the preseason national rankings.

In her first fall season of collegiate tennis, Sarah Jane Connelly led Notre Dame in victories. She started off well again this fall with a pair of match-tiebreaker wins on Friday. Connelly defeated Penn State’s Megan Marton 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8) before edging Ying Kunsuthi of Eastern Michigan 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6).

Notre Dame’s doubles play was equally impressive. Salas and Stastny gained a bye in the opening round and then defeated Amanda Mang and Marina Chiarelli of LSU by an 8-2 count. Sarah Jane Connelly and freshman Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C.) also reached the quarterfinals, defeating Miami of Ohio’s Grace Cascarilla and Nancy Wiegand 8-1 in the first round before downing the No. 4 seed, Mulec and Stephanie Balzert of Baylor, by an 8-5 score.

In consolation play, Smith and junior Emily Neighbours (Indianapolis, Ind.) won matches in the singles draw, while Nelson and Liz Donohue won a back-draw doubles tilt.

Making the Irish dominance even more impressive was the fact that they did it without the services of two of their top players. Senior captain Katie Cunha, seeded No. 5-8 in singles and No. 3 in doubles (with Lauren Connelly), was forced to withdraw prior to the start of play due to a wrist injury. Junior Caylan Leslie, who was expected to play No. 2 singles for last year’s Irish before suffering a season-ending injury, is still recovering from that shoulder injury and will see a limited schedule this fall.

In singles action on Saturday, Sarah Jane Connelly will try to exact some revenge for her teammate, Liz Donohue, when she faces top-seeded Mulec in the round of 16. The winner of that match will face either Nelson or Eastern Michigan’s Lisa D’Amelio, one of the No. 5-8 seeds. Stastny also is in the top half of the draw and will play Ohio State’s Taryn Bowen in the next round. Salas will have Chiarelli of LSU and could face either Lauren Connelly or another No. 5-8 seed, LSU’s Rocio Fantilli, in the quarterfinals.

In the doubles quarterfinals, Salas/Stastny will take on the top seed in the doubles draw, Rebecca Hawkins and Lisa D’Amelio of Eastern Michigan. The two remaining Irish teams could meet in the semifinals, as S.J. Connelly/Smith will face Maaria Husain and Lindsay Downing in the quarters.

OSU/Prince Cup


First Round

Liz Donohue (ND) d. Remy Swain (Miami of Ohio) 6-4, 6-3

Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Megan Marton (Penn State) 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8)

Kelly Nelson (ND) d. Erin McGill (Louisiana State) 6-0, 6-1

Amanda Mang (LSU) d. Maggie Donohue (ND) 6-4, 6-3

Marina Chiarelli (LSU) d. Emily Neighbours (ND) 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 1-0 (10-8)

Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Maaria Husain (PSU) 6-1, 6-3

Alison Bradley (Baylor) d. Jennifer Smith (ND) 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 (10-4)

Second Round

#62 [1] Vida Mulec (BU) d. L. Donohue (ND) 6-0, 6-3

S.J. Connelly (ND) d. Ying Kunsuthi (Eastern Michigan) 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6)

Nelson (ND) d. Lindsay Williams (Ohio State) 7-5, 0-6, 1-0 (11-9)

Kristina Stastny (ND) d. Sarah Spence (PSU) 6-0, 1-6, 1-0 (10-8)

#86 [3] Alicia Salas (ND) d. Megan Zimpfer (M) 6-3, 6-0

L. Connelly (ND) d. Grace Cascarilla (M) 6-1, 6-4


Lindsay Downing (PSU) d. M. Donohue (ND) 7-5, 6-1

Neighbours (ND) d. Meaghan Colville (OSU) 7-6, 6-0

Smith (ND) d. Kendra Clark (EMU) 6-3, 6-2


First Round

S.J. Connelly/Smith (ND) d. Nancy Wiegand/Cascarilla (M) 8-1

Daria Potapova/Izabela Mijic (B) d. L. Donohue/Nelson (ND) 8-4

Round of 16

Salas/Stastny (ND) d. Marina Chiarelli/Mang (LSU) 8-2

S.J. Connelly/Smith (ND) d. [4] Mulec/Stephanie Balzert (B) 8-5

Kendra Clark/Kensuthi (EMU) d. L. Connelly/Neighbours (ND) 8-4


L. Donohue/Nelson (ND) d. Daisi Espinal/Bonnie White (LSU) 8-1

Note: Number before players is national ranking. Number in brackets is tournament seeding.