September 15, 1998

PRINCETON, N.J. — Notre Dame men’s and women’s tennis teams have earned preseason singles and doubles rankings for the 98-99 season, according to the rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association on Tuesday. Seniors Jennifer Hall and Marisa Velasco and sophomore Michelle Dasso are ranked on the womens team while senior Brian Patterson and junior Ryan Sachire are ranked on the mens team.

A three-time NCAA singles participant and two-time NCAA doubles participant, Hall enters her senior year ranked No. 23 after earning her second All-America honor last year by teaming with Tiffany Gates to advance to the quarterfinals of the 98 NCAA doubles championship, adding to her singles All-America accolades as a freshman. She is on pace to become Notre Dames all-time leader in singles wins and combined singles and doubles wins. She has compiled an 87-47 singles record and 64-36 doubles record and has anchored the No. 1 singles spot in Irish lineup in her three years.

Velasco returns with a preseason ranking of No. 54 after a junior year as one of the best No. 3 singles players in the country with a 19-4 record and a final ranking of 73. Her intense competitiveness and fiery play on the court has led to a 79-29 career singles record, including a 5-1 record in NCAA team competition.

Dasso begins her sophomore year ranked 17th after bursting into collegiate tennis and into the Irish recordbooks as a freshman with her 40-8 singles record and 24-13 doubles record, the most singles and combined singles and doubles wins in a season in Notre Dame history. While being ranked as high as No. 16 during the season, Dasso won her first 20 singles dual matches and finished 14-6 against ranked opponents on her way to an NCAA singles bid.

Dasso and Hall will team together in doubles for the first time this season and have been ranked No. 18. The Irish are one of just five schools with two singles players ranked in the top 25, joining defending NCAA champion Florida, UCLA, Georgia and Mississippi. Notre Dame also is one of just six schools with three singles players ranked in the top 60, joining Duke, Florida, UCLA, Georgia, Mississippi and USC.

On the men’s side, Sachire enters the season ranked eighth after finishing his sophomore year ranked 20th in the country. He returns for his junior year after spending the summer as one of six top American college players on the elite United States Tennis Associations All-American Summer Team. He became Notre Dame’s first All-American since 1994 last year when he advanced to the third round at the NCAA championships as one of 16 seeded players in the draw.

Sachire will team with Patterson to form the 28th-ranked doubles duo in the preseason rankings. Patterson led the Irish in doubles the last years with Jakub Pietrowski as the pair qualified for the 1997 and 1998 NCAA championships. Patterson and Pietrowski were ranked as high fifth last year with a final ranking of No. 21.

The Irish men’s and women’s tennis teams open their fall seasons this weekend as the women play host to the Eck Classic on Fri.-Sun, Sept. 18-20, at the Courtney Tennis Center. The mens tennis team travels to Houston, Texas, for the Rice Invitational on Fri.-Sun, Sept. 18-20.