Jan. 30, 2003
EVANSTON, Ill. – A young Notre Dame women’s tennis team faced a tough challenge as it matched up with a veteran Northwestern squad Thursday afternoon. The 16th-ranked Wildcats have four players currently ranked among the top 80 in the country, and in the end, that experience paid off. Northwestern did not drop a set en route to a 7-0 victory over No. 21 Notre Dame, extending the Wildcats’ winning streak over the Irish to three matches.
Visiting its second ranked Big Ten Conference opponent in the last five days, Notre Dame (2-1) gave Northwestern all it wanted during the doubles portion of the match. After the Wildcats won at No. 2 doubles, the Irish duo of senior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island H.S.) and freshman Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) pushed the Northwestern tandem of Jessica Rush and Cristelle Grier to the edge before falling, 8-6. That loss clinched the doubles point for the Wildcats and put Notre Dame in an early hole.
Despite playing without the services of 18th-ranked Marine Piriou, Northwestern didn’t miss a beat in the singles competition. The No. 1 flight featured a matchup of two ranked players, as Grier, the No. 16 player in the nation, met Irish junior Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.). The Wildcat freshman got the better of this match, winning 6-1, 6-2, to hand Salas just the fourth loss of her career in 33 dual match singles events.
Northwestern (3-2) completed its sweep behind wins from No. 63 Jessica Rush and No. 76 Jamie Peisel. Rush dispatched Notre Dame junior Caylan Leslie (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar H.S.) by a 6-3, 6-4 count. Meanwhile, Piesel provided the clinching singles victory for the Wildcats, as she downed Irish freshman Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) by a score of 6-2, 6-3.
Notre Dame will have little time to rest as it returns to the court Saturday afternoon, playing host to No. 5 North Carolina at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The first serve is slated for 1 p.m. (EST).
— ND —
#16 Northwestern 7, #21 Notre Dame 0
#16 Cristelle Grier (NU) d. #124 Alicia Salas (ND), 6-1, 6-2
#63 Jessica Rush (NU) d. Caylan Leslie (ND), 6-3, 6-4
Andrea Yung (NU) d. Kristina Stastny (ND), 6-1, 6-2
*#76 Jamie Peisel (NU) d. Lauren Connelly (ND), 6-2, 6-3
Ruth Barnes (NU) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND), 6-4, 6-1
Stacy Kokx (NU) d. Jennifer Smith (ND), 6-4, 6-4
*Grier/Rush (NU) d. Katie Cunha/Stastny, 8-6
Barnes/Yung (NU) d. L. Connelly/Salas (ND), 8-4
Peisel/Kristi Roemer (NU) d. S.J. Connelly/Smith (ND), 8-7 (7-4)
* indicates clinching victory