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Irish Dominant On Opening Day Of Eck Classic

Nov. 8, 2002

Complete Friday results from the opening day of the Eck Classic in pdf format.

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The Notre Dame women’s tennis team got off to a great start on Friday in its only home tournament of the fall, advancing five teams to the quarterfinals in doubles and winning 18 of 24 matches overall on the opening day of the 15th annual Eck Classic in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Five Irish players, including four rookies, went unbeaten on Friday, which featured one round of doubles and two singles matches for each participant. The tournament, which is the final event on Notre Dame’s fall schedule, continues Saturday with two doubles matches and a round of singles for each player, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Junior Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo.) had a nearly-perfect day, dropping just one game in three matches on Friday. Salas initially teamed with freshman Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) to defeat Indiana’s pair of Jessica Groth and Sophie Rychlik by an 8-1 score. Salas, ranked 86th nationally in singles, then went on to post 6-0, 6-0 victories over two opponents in the singles draw. Both Louisville’s Melisa San Martin and Purdue’s Lara Burgarello failed to win a game against Salas, becoming the third and fourth players to be shutout by the Colorado native in her career.

Not allowing opponents much success is nothing new to Salas, who has surrendered five games or fewer an amazing 30 times in her 70 career matches (43 percent). The Irish junior improved to 9-4 this fall and 56-14 (.800) in her career in singles action. She will take on Indiana’s Sarah Batty in Saturday’s semifinals.

Other than Salas, four Notre Dame players in their first semester of collegiate competition also posted undefeated marks on Friday — sophomore Jami Kirk (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and freshmen Connelly, Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo.) and Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Kirk, who joined the team last month as a walk-on, was victorious in her first career matches in both singles and doubles, pairing with senior Maggie Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D.) to top the Syracuse squad of Masha Kabanova and Shervin Saedinia 8-4 before downing another Orangewoman, Natalie Ackerman, 6-1, 6-1 in Green-Flight singles action.

After teaming with Salas, Connelly went on to win a pair of Blue-Flight singles contests to join her partner in the semifinals. She defeated Amy Walgenbach of Purdue 6-4, 7-5 and was leading Indiana’s Linda Tran 6-5 when the Hoosier was forced to retire due to injury. Connelly will face her teammate, Stastny, in Saturday’s semis. She notched a pair of wins, downing Kabanova 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 before beating Indiana’s Karie Schlukebir 7-5, 2-6, 1-0 (10-5). Earlier in the day, Stastny and senior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) defeated Kristine Holte and Trine Juliussen of Syracuse 8-4 in doubles play.

Cunha was just a match tiebreaker away from making it an Irish sweep in the Blue-Flight semifinals, losing to Batty 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5) after advancing to the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Purdue’s Missy Wright.

Nelson is the lone remaining Notre Dame player in the Gold-Flight main draw. She defeated Louisville’s Paige Eber 6-2, 6-3 and Juliussen 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 on Friday to improve to 10-5 this fall. Nelson leads the Irish in singles victories and will meet Indiana’s Martina Grimm in the semis. On Friday morning, Nelson paired with classmate Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D.) to defeat Syracuse’s Daniela Kaluskova and Wei-Ming Leong 8-6 in the opening round of doubles play.

Sophomore Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and freshman Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C.) continued their strong doubles play, defeating Casie Skaggs and Mariana Torres of Louisville 8-1 to improve to 7-3 this fall.

In consolation play, Connelly beat San Martin 6-1, 6-1 in the Blue Flight, while Maggie Donohue topped Leong 6-3, 6-1 and Liz Donohue beat Rychlik 6-4, 6-1 in Gold-Flight action.

Saturday’s slate will get underway at 9:00 a.m. with all five Notre Dame teams participating in the doubles quarterfinals. Nelson and Liz Donohue will challenge Indiana’s team of Schlukebir and Tran, who are ranked 13th in the nation. Salas and Lauren Connelly will meet Burgarello and Wright of Purdue, while Cunha and Stastny are slated to take on Batty and Grimm of Indiana. Two Irish teams will meet in the other quarterfinal with Smith and Sarah Jane Connelly to play Kirk and Maggie Donohue. The semifinals will follow on Saturday before the singles action gets underway.

In Blue-Flight singles consolation action, Cunha will take on Burgarello and Smith will face Purdue’s Shawna Zuccarini. Maggie Donohue will take on Eber and Liz Donohue and Skaggs also will meet in the Gold Flight. Kirk is slated for a Green-Flight match against Purdue’s Catie McLevish.

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.

Eck Classic


Blue Flight

First Round

#86 Alicia Salas (ND) d. Melisa San Martin (Louisville) 6-0, 6-0

Lara Burgarello (Purdue) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 6-0, 6-2

Katie Cunha(ND) d. Missy Wright (PU) 7-5, 6-3

Kristina Stastny (ND) d. Masha Kabanova (Syracuse) 7-6 (7-5), 6-0

Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Amy Walgenbach (PU) 6-4, 7-5

Linda Tran (IU) d. Jennifer Smith (ND) 7-6 (12-10), 6-3

Second Round

#86 Salas (ND) d. Burgarello (PU) 6-0, 6-0

Sarah Batty (Indiana) d. Cunha(ND) 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5)

Stastny (ND) d. Karie Schlukebir (IU) 7-5, 2-6, 1-0 (10-5)

L. Connelly (ND) d. Tran (IU) 6-5, ret.


S.J. Connelly (ND) d. Melisa San Martin (UL) 6-1, 6-1

Walgenbach (PU) d. Smith (ND) 7-5, 7-5

Gold Flight

First Round

Martina Grimm (IU) d. Maggie Donohue (ND) 6-2, 6-0

Kelly Nelson (ND) d. Paige Eber (UL) 6-2, 6-3

Kristine Holte (SU) d. Liz Donohue (ND) 7-6 (7-1), 6-3

Second Round

Nelson (ND) d. Trine Juliessen (SU) 7-6 (7-3), 6-0


M. Donohue (ND) d. Wei-Ming Leong (SU) 6-3, 6-1

L. Donohue (ND) d. Sophie Rychlik (IU) 6-4, 6-1

Green Flight

Jami Kirk (ND) d. Natalie Ackerman (SU) 6-1, 6-1


First Round

L. Donohue/Nelson (ND) d. Daniela Kaluskova/Leong (SU) 8-6

L. Connelly/Salas (ND) d. Jessica Groth/Rychlik (IU) 8-1

S.J. Connelly/Smith (ND) d. Casie Skaggs/Mariana Torres (UL) 8-1

M. Donohue/Kirk (ND) d. Kabanova/Shervin Saedinia (SU) 8-4

Cunha/Stastny (ND) d. Holte/Juliessen (SU) 8-4