March 7, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 15th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team travels to BYU on Sat., March 11, and sixth-ranked Pepperdine on Sat. March 18, over spring break. The Irish enter the trip with a four-match winning streak following victories over 12th-ranked Northwestern, 33rd-ranked Ohio State, 36th-ranked Iowa and 21st-ranked Kentucky last week.

UP NEXT FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame heads west for its spring break with matches at BYU and sixth-ranked Pepperdine on consecutive Saturdays. The Irish will meet BYU on Sat., March 11, at 3:00 p.m. The Cougars enter the week with a 6-4 record following a loss at Northwestern on Saturday. BYU is led by senior Eline Chiew who is ranked 53rd in singles. The match will mark the seventh meeting between Notre Dame and BYU with the series tied at 3-3. The Irish beat the Cougars 9-0 last year at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Notre Dame then travels to Pepperdine to take on the sixth-ranked Waves on Sat., March 18, at 11:00 a.m. Pepperdine currently has an 8-2 record following a 5-4 loss to South Alabama and will take on Loyola Marymount, SMU, UCLA and Wisconsin before playing Notre Dame. The Waves boast three ranked singles players in junior Ipek Senoglu (28), sophomore Cintia Tortorella (71) and junior Dorothee Kurz (74). Senoglu and sophomore Paola Palencia are ranked 20th in doubles. Pepperdine beat Notre Dame 5-4 last year after the Irish led 4-2 after singles and has won three of four meetings with Notre Dame.

WEEK IN REVIEW: Notre Dame won four matches in five days last week, beginning with a win 6-3 over 12th-ranked Northwestern on Wednesday and ending with a 7-2 win over 21st-ranked Kentucky on Sunday. Victories over 33rd-ranked Ohio State and 36th-ranked Iowa were sandwiched in between. Against the Wildcats, junior All-American Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) won a marathon against 50th-ranked Katherine Nasser 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7) to help the Irish salvage a 3-3 split of the six singles matches. Notre Dame then swept the doubles for their sixth consecutive win over Northwestern.

The Irish lost just two singles matches the rest of the weekend in clinching each of the three matches after singles. Sophomore Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Ohio State’s Sadhaf Pervez at No. 4 singles to claim the decisive point in the 8-1 win over the Buckeyes. The match was played in Toledo, Ohio, at the Laurel Hill Tennis Club, whose president is Kim Pacella, former Irish women’s tennis player and Byron V. Kanaley award winner.

Against the Hawkeyes, Notre Dame again came out strong in singles in winning five matches — including a 6-0, 6-0 win by Dasso over Shera Wielger at No. 1 singles. Freshman Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) rallied from 2-4 down in the third set to beat Stephie Hoch 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 at No. 6 singles to clinch the 6-3 win.

Notre Dame’s singles play was at its best in a 7-2 victory against 21st-ranked Kentucky, as the Irish did not lose a set in winning all six singles matches in straight sets. Sophomore Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) completed the sweep when she beat 55th-ranked Brooke Skeen 6-3, 7-6 (7-0) at No. 2 singles.

DASSO WINS RARE MATCH: Junior Michelle Dasso recorded a rare 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles over Iowa’s Shera Wielger on Sunday, becoming the first Irish player to win 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles since 1996. Jennifer Hall beat St. John’s Mona Eek in the quarterfinals of the 1996 BIG EAST championship, while Wendy Crabtree last accomplished it in the regular season against Baylor’s Harlensia Hernandez on Jan. 19, 1996. After winning the final five games of her 6-2, 6-2 win over Ohio State’s Kristy Dascoli on Thursday just before the Wiegler match, Dasso built a 4-0 lead against Kentucky’s Carolina Mayorga to put together a streak of 21 consecutive games won. With her 6-1, 6-0 win over Mayorga, Dasso enters the BYU match having won 29 of the last 30 games in which she has played at No. 1 singles.

CUNHA FILLS IN, CLINCHES WINS: Freshman Katie Cunha made an impressive move into the singles lineup at No. 6 singles last week. Playing in place of injured junior Kimberly Guy, Cunha dropped just one set in winning all four singles matches. In her first match against 12th-ranked Northwestern, Cunha beat Jennifer Lutgert 6-4, 6-4 after trailing 1-4 in the second set. Her 6-3 fall record in singles included two losses to Lutgert before her win last week. Against Iowa and Kentucky, Cunha’s singles wins clinched the victories for the Irish.

ZALINSKI APPROACHES SCHOOL RECORD: Senior Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) needs just six more singles wins and 18 more combined singles and doubles wins to match Jennifer Hall (1995-99) for the most singles and combined singles and doubles victories in Irish history. Zalinski enters the week with 110 wins in singles and 81 in doubles for a total of 191. Hall compiled 116 singles wins and 209 singles and doubles. With five singles victories in the fall, Zalinski joined Hall and Marissa Velasco (1995-99) as the only Notre Dame women’s tennis players to win 100 singles matches under Jay Louderback.

DASSO IN DUAL MATCHES: Junior All-American Michelle Dasso continues to be one of the top singles players in dual matches during the Jay Louderback era at Notre Dame. She has compiled a record of 59-10 (.855) during her two-plus seasons at mostly No. 1 singles. Only six other Irish players have won more dual singles matches under Louderback, including 66 by senior Kelly Zalinski. Dasso has won 26 of her last 31 dual singles matches at No. 1 singles, with the most recent of those five losses in that span coming to Stanford’s Marissa Irvin. She enters the BYU match on a seven-match winning streak.

ITA RANKINGS: The Irish stand 15th for the second consecutive week among the 75 teams ranked by the ITA after finishing 1999 ranked 15th. Junior Michelle Dasso is ranked 48th in singles and 17th in doubles with Becky Varnum. Freshman Katie Cunha and junior Kimberly Guy are ranked 16th in doubles. The next team rankings will be released on Wed., March 8.

GREEN AND ZALINSKI FORM TALENTED TANDEM: Senior Kelly Zalinski and junior Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) continue to be a solid doubles team for the Irish with a 16-8 record, including 8-4 in dual matches. The pair went 5-3 at No. 3 doubles to start 2000, including a win against North Carolina to clinch the 5-4 victory and a win over Maren Haus and Jackie Houston of Wake Forest. After that win, the duo moved up to No. 2 doubles and have a 3-0 record at that spot. In their latest win, they saved three match points before beating Kentucky’s 24th-ranked Leigh Bradwell and Brooke Skeen 9-8 (7-3). Green and Zalinski first paired together midway through the 1999 season and went 13-4 at No. 3 doubles.

IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: After facing eight top-25 opponents already in 15 matches, the Irish are scheduled to meet at least nine more ranked teams, including matches at sixth-ranked Pepperdine and 13th-ranked William & Mary. Notre Dame is 6-0 at home with the remaining matches of the 10-match home schedule to feature Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana and BIG EAST rival Miami (Fla.). The Irish made their seventh consecutive appearance at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships in February. Notre Dame will defend its 1999 BIG EAST championship April 20-23, at Miami. The Irish are scheduled to play or have played seven of the top 13 teams, including five of the top 10.

VAUGHAN WINS KEY MATCHES: Sophomore Nina Vaughan, in her first season as a regular in the singles lineup, won three matches last week. She rallied from a first-set loss to provide the clinching match at No. 4 singles against Ohio State and then won in a third-set tiebreaker against Iowa to help the Irish clinch the match after singles. Last week, she recorded her first career win over a ranked opponents when she defeated North Carolina’s 101st-ranked Kendrick Bunn 6-4, 6-1 at No. 4 singles on Saturday. Vaughan then rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Wake Forest’s Maren Haus at No. 4 singles the next day. A much improved player from a year ago when she was slowed by injury in the second half of the season, Vaughan has compiled an overall singles record of 13-11, with wins over Iowa’s Shera Wiegler and USC’s Veronika Safarova in the fall.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 11th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 188-93 (.669) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 392-271 (.591) in 19-plus seasons of coaching. His 1999 team won 23 dual matches, matching his ’95 Irish for Notre Dame’s most wins at the NCAA Division I level. He has guided the Irish to NCAA championship appearances in six of the last seven years, including a national quarterfinal appearance in 1996. His teams have finished among the top 20 teams in the country in five of the last seven years and in the top 30 in all but two of his years at Notre Dame. The Arkansas City, Kan., native, and 1976 graduate of Wichita State has been named the ITA regional coach of the year twice in 1995 and 1998 and was named BIG EAST coach of the year after leading the Irish to BIG EAST championship titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999. His Notre Dame players have won 10 All-America honors in his 10 years.

IRISH INK TWO: Caylan Leslie and Alicia Salas, two nationally ranked junior players, signed national letters of intent in November to attend Notre Dame next year. Leslie, a native of Newport Beach, Calif., will bring much experience to Notre Dame with a United States Tennis Association national girls’ 18s ranking of 19. The lefthander currently is a senior at Corona del Mar High School, the same high school as Irish sophomore Nina Vaughan. Salas, a native of Engelwood, Colo., hails from Cherry Creek High School, a perennial tennis power in Colorado, and is ranked 76th in USTA national rankings. She enters her senior year having won three state singles titles and will be looking for her fourth state crown in the spring. Only current Irish sophomore Becky Varnum, from Colorado Springs, Colo., won four Colorado High School singles titles.

Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings

Team Release: March 1, 2000
This Last School Avg.
Rank Rank
1. 1. Stanford * 600
2. 3. California 590
3. 4. Georgia 585
4. 2. Florida 577
5. T9. Wake Forest * 568
6. 6. Pepperdine * 560
T7. 9. Duke * 540
T7. 7. USC * 540
9. 8. Texas 537
10. 10. Arizona State 533
11. 12. Mississippi 518
12. 11. Northwestern * 512
13. 13. William & Mary * 510
14. 14. UCLA 497
15. 15. NOTRE DAME 491
16. 16. Vanderbilt 480
17. 17. South Carolina 474
18. 18. Tennessee 464
19. 19. Florida State 451
20. 20. South Alabama 450
21. 21. Kentucky * 438
22. 22. Arkansas 429
23. 23. Washington * 420
24. 24. LSU 418
25. 27. Mississippi State 406

* indicates Notre Dame opponents

Other Notre Dame opponents

28. 25. North Carolina 385
30. 31. Miami (Fla.) 370
33. 34. Ohio State 349
36. 30. Iowa 315
38. 43. Indiana 303
44. 44. Illinois 252
49. 42. Kansas 207
51. 54. BYU 183
52. 51. Maryland 179
54. 63. Purdue 172
58. 59. Michigan 147
59. 50. Wisconsin 143


Irish Singles Wins Under Jay Louderback

Name Record Years
1. Jennifer Hall 116-59 1996-99
2. Kelly Zalinski 110-46 1997-2000
3. Marisa Velasco 100-46 1996-99
4. Holyn Lord 99-43 1993-96
5. Wendy Crabtree 97-52 1993-96
6. Melissa Harris 95-37 1990-93
7. Lisa Tholen 95-41 1991-94
8. Kim Pacella 93-52 1988-91
9. Christy Faustmann 91-52 1991-94
10. Michelle Dasso 89-23 1998-2000

Dual Singles Wins Under Louderback

Name Record Years
1. Jennifer Hall 78-33 1996-99
2. Marisa Velasco 77-36 1996-99
3. Holyn Lord 72-30 1993-96
4. Kelly Zalinski 69-28 1997-2000
5. Lisa Tholen 62-28 1991-94
6. Kim Pacella 62-34 1988-91
7. Michelle Dasso 59-10 1998-2000