Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Travel To Pepperdine For First Trip To NCAA Round Of 16 Since 1996

May 16, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 13th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team travels to Pepperdine this week for the NCAA championships after beating UIC and 20th-ranked South Carolina in the first and second rounds. The Irish will play fourth-ranked and top-four seeded Florida at 11:00 a.m. PDT on Thurs., May 18, with the winner to face the winner of the Arizona State/Duke match on Fri., May 19, at 8:00 a.m. Live statistics of all the matches will be available on the Pepperdine web site at

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Notre Dame earned a No. 13-16 seed and was selected as one of 16 first- and second-round sites for the 64-team NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championships. In the first round at the Courtney Tennis Center, the Irish beat UIC 5-0 on Sat., May 13, and then defeated South Carolina 5-1 in the second round to reach the round of 16.

Notre Dame will be making its first trip to the NCAA national site since 1996. The Irish lost in the second round at home in 1999, in the Midwest Regional final at Illinois in 1998 and in the Midwest Regional semifinals at home in 1997. The Irish had previously advanced to the national event in 1993, 1994 and 1996, all ending in losses to Stanford. In 1993 in Gainesville, Fla., Notre Dame beat Alabama 5-0 and lost 5-0 to Stanford. The 1994 Irish traveled to Athens, Ga., and blanked UC Santa Barbara before falling 5-1 to the Cardinal. Notre Dame’s 1996 team defeated BYU 5-0 and lost to Stanford 5-1 in Tallahassee, Fla.

IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame is making its seventh appearance in the NCAA team championship in the last eight years and has a 9-6 record in its seven appearances. Kelly Zalinski is 7-2 in singles and 4-2 in doubles, while Michelle Dasso has a 6-1 singles and 3-1 doubles record. Becky Varnum is 4-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles, while Lindsey Green is 2-2 in singles and 3-1 in doubles. Kim Guy is 2-1 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. The Irish have an 11-6 record against the other 63 teams in the NCAA field and a 1-4 mark against the remaining 15 teams.

SENIORS COME THROUGH ON LAST CHANCE: Seniors Sarah Scaringe and Kelly Zalinski have helped the Irish reach the NCAA round of 16 in the fourth season at Notre Dame. Zalinski won the second Irish singles match and then provided the clinching win at No. 3 doubles to punch the class of 2000 a ticket to the NCAA national site. The appearance assures that 14 consecutive Notre Dame senior classes dating from 1990 and continuing through 2003 with current freshman Katie Cunha will have made at least one trip to the NCAA national event — a range that includes every freshman class since head coach Jay Louderback arrived at Notre Dame in 1990 .

FLORIDA PREVIEW: The Irish and Gators will meet for the fourth time and for the first time in the NCAA championships. Florida has won all three previous meetings, winning 7-2 in the first round of the 1999 USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships, 7-2 in Las Vegas in 1998 and 8-0 in the first round of the 1996 USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships. The fourth-ranked Gators have five players ranked in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings: junior Whitney Laiho (8), sophomore Jessica Lenhoff (30), senior Baili Camino (36), senior Traci Green (53) and junior Stephanie Hazlett (58), while freshman Julia Scaringe has been ranked as high as 44. Laiho and Lenhoff are ranked 11th in doubles. Florida blanked both Bethune-Cookman and Florida State 5-0 to reach the round of 16 with a 21-2 record.

SISTER ACT: A Scaringe family reunion will take place when Notre Dame and Florida square off. The younger sister of Irish senior Sarah Scaringe, Julia Scaringe, is a freshman for Florida and plays No. 6 singles and No. 2 doubles with senior Traci Green. Sarah Scaringe has a 2-0 record at No. 6 singles this season and a 6-1 record in doubles dual matches.

FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND REVIEW: The Irish used a strong performance from its singles lineup to beat UIC and South Carolina this weekend. Notre Dame won five singles matches in straight sets to beat UIC 5-0 on Saturday in the NCAA first round. Sophomore Becky Varnum beat Emina Curic 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 singles for Notre Dame’s first point. Freshman Katie Cunha won her first-ever NCAA match with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Alyson Stalzer at No. 6 singles. Sophomore Nina Vaughan also was victorious in her first NCAA match when she defeated Zorica Malesevic 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles for a 3-0 lead. Junior All-American Michelle Dasso put the Irish ahead 4-0 with her 100th career singles win. She defeated Jacki Farr 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Sophomore Lindsey Green then clinched the win when she defeated Zvjezana Malesevic 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5 singles. The Irish also swept the remaining matches which did not count toward the team score.

Against the Gamecocks, the Irish won four singles matches in straight sets and won at No. 3 doubles to beat 20th-ranked South Carolina 5-1 on Sunday in the NCAA second round. Notre Dame took a quick 3-0 lead with wins at Nos. 1-3 singles. Varnum needed just 53 minutes to give the Irish a 1-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Jennifer Radman at No. 2 singles. Varnum dropped just three games in winning both of her singles matches this weekend. Zalinski, who won 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 against UIC in the first round, lost just three games in beating Leigh Eichelberger 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 singles. Dasso then downed 25th-ranked Katarina Markovski 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 singles for a 3-0 Irish lead. Dasso rallied from an early break of serve at 1-2 in the first set to build a 5-2 lead. She then led 4-1 in the second set before saving four break points at 4-3 to hold serve for a 5-3 lead.

South Carolina’s Tamara Sutton rallied to beat Green 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 singles for the Gamecocks’ first point. Vaughan then won a tight match over Kathy Boyanovich at No. 4 singles by a 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) score. Vaughan trailed 3-5 in both sets and saved a set point at 4-5 in the second set to send the set into a tiebreaker. Irish freshman Katie Cunha had three match points at 7-6 (8-6), 5-3 to seal the win but lost the next four games as South Carolina’s Lynn-Yin Tan sent No. 6 singles to a third set. The match would later be stopped with Tan serving at 5-3 in the third set after the team match was decided at No. 3 doubles.

Green and Zalinski clinched the win with an 8-2 win at No. 3 doubles. The duo recovered after Zalinski lost her service game to open the set by winning eight of the next nine games to beat Markovski and Sutton. The pair won the final five games of the set to provide the clinching win for the third time this season.

ITA RANKINGS: The Irish stand 13th among the 75 teams ranked by the ITA after a preseason ranking of 18th. Junior All-American Michelle Dasso is ranked 27th in singles and 20th in doubles with Becky Varnum. Freshman Katie Cunha and junior Kimberly Guy are ranked 51st in doubles.

DASSO EARNS THIRD NCAA SINGLES SPOT: Junior All-American Michelle Dasso will be making her third NCAA singles appearance, becoming the third Irish player — joining Jennifer Hall (1996-99) and Wendy Crabtree (1993-96) — under 11th-year head coach Jay Louderback to play in the NCAA singles championship in her first three years. Dasso has compiled a 6-7 record against the other 63 players in the NCAA singles field. With a 29-7 record, all seven of her losses have come against NCAA qualifiers.

VARNUM MAKES NCAA DOUBLES DEBUT: Sophomore Becky Varnum and first-year doubles partner Michelle Dasso, ranked 20th in the country in doubles, have earned one of 32 spots in the NCAA doubles field. Dasso will be making her second NCAA doubles appearance with two different partners, while Varnum will play in her first NCAA doubles championship. Dasso advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals last year with Jennifer Hall. Varnum and Dasso have an 18-5 record in doubles and a 13-3 mark at No. 1 doubles with 5-1 records against both ranked opponents and NCAA doubles qualifiers.

IRISH CONCLUDE BEST REGULAR SEASON: Notre Dame’s win over Miami on April 15, gave the Irish their best regular-season finish ever under 11th-year head coach Jay Louderback at 19-5, topping the 18-6 mark of the 1996 team that finished 22-7. Notre Dame already has clinched its seventh season with fewer than 10 losses in 11 seasons under Louderback. A win over Florida on Thursday will give the Irish their most wins under Louderback at 24, while a loss would match the best seasons of the 1996 and 1999 Irish at 23-7.

ZALINSKI SETS SCHOOL RECORDS: Senior Kelly Zalinski set the Notre Dame school record for career singles wins with 117 in the final regular-season home match of her career against Miami on April 15, and has since won five straight matches to improve her career record to 122-48 (.718). She broke the record of 116 set just last year by former Irish All-American Jennifer Hall (1995-99). She broke two more school records this weekend when she went 2-0 and in singles and doubles to bring her combined win total to 213, surpassing the 209 by Hall. Zalinski’s two wins at No. 3 singles upped her career dual single-match record to 80-30, eclipsing the 78 dual-match victories by Hall.

NCAA MATCHES AT NOTRE DAME: The Irish played host to NCAA championships matches last weekend for the fourth consecutive year. Notre Dame was the site of the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional when top-seeded South Carolina advanced to the final before losing to Wisconsin. The Courtney Tennis Center next played host to the 1998 NCAA championships when Florida won the NCAA championship. Notre Dame played host to first- and second-round matches in 1999 in the first year of the expanded 64-team NCAA field.

IRISH VS. NCAA FIELD: Eleven of Notre Dame’s 21 wins prior to the NCAA championships came against the other 63 teams in the NCAA championship while the Irish have suffered all six of their losses to NCAA qualifiers.

DASSO, LOUDERBACK WIN BIG EAST AWARDS: Junior Michelle Dasso was named the BIG EAST championship most outstanding player after finishing with a 3-0 record at No. 1 singles. She joined 1996 recipient and former Irish All-American Jennifer Hall as the only Irish players to win the award. Irish head coach Jay Louderback was named BIG EAST coach of the year for the fourth time in Notre Dame’s five years in the conference.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK REACHES 200TH, 400TH WINS: Jay Louderback — in his 21st year of coaching — reached the 400-win milestone against Miami on April 15 and won his 200th match in his 11 seasons at Notre Dame against South Carolina on Sunday, brining his career record to 404-273 (.597). He is in his 11th year as head coach of the Irish and has compiled a 200-95 (.678) record at Notre Dame. 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 seven of the last eight 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 and also in 2000. His Notre Dame players have won 10 All-America honors in his 10 years.

DASSO REACHES CENTURY MARK: Junior All-American Michelle Dasso’s win at No. 1 singles against UIC marked the 100th-singles win of her Irish career, becoming the first Irish junior and fourth player under 11th-year head coach Jay Louderback to win 100 singles matches. She 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 71-12 (.855) during her two-plus seasons — 47-9 at No. 1, 21-3 at No. 2 and 3-0 at No. 3 singles. Only four other Irish players have won more dual singles matches under Louderback, including a school-record 80 by senior Kelly Zalinski. Dasso has won 38 of her last 43 dual singles matches at No. 1 singles.

IRISH SINGLES SOLID: Only five teams have beaten the Irish singles lineup in 2000: Duke, USC, Stanford, Pepperdine and Miami. The Irish have split six matches with Wake Forest and Northwestern and won four of six singles matches against Washington, North Carolina, Miami and South Carolina and twice against William & Mary. Notre Dame won five singles matches against Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa, BYU and Michigan and swept Hawaii, Yale, Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Rutgers, Seton Hall and UIC. Overall, the Irish are 126-45 (.737) in singles in dual matches for an average lead after singles of approximately 4.4 to 1.6 per match. Notre Dame has won at least four singles matches in 22 of the 29 dual matches.

ZALINSKI WINS O’CONNOR AWARD: Senior captain Kelly Zalinski was awarded Notre Dame’s Francis Patrick O’Connor Award last week at the annual All-Sports Banquet. The award is presented upon nomination of head coaches and is given to one male and one female student-athlete who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspiration to their teams and possess such characteristics as caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience. Baseball senior Matt Nussbaum won the men’s award. Zalinski is the third women’s tennis player to win the award, joining 1996 winner Holyn Lord and 1994 winner Christy Faustman.VAUGHAN WINS KEY MATCHES: Sophomore Nina Vaughan has been a major part of the Irish success this season after compiling an overall singles record of 25-13 and 20-8 in dual matches at mostly No. 4 singles after playing in just one dual match as a freshman. Her overall singles record includes wins over Iowa’s Shera Wiegler and USC’s Veronika Safarova in the fall, while her 20 dual singles wins are third most on the team. She won a pivotal match against South Carolina when she gave the Irish a 4-1 lead with her 7-5, 7-6 (3) win after trailing 3-5 in both sets and saving a set point at 4-5 in the second set. Vaughan enters the Florida match with wins in 15 of her last 17 matches.

GREEN LEADS IN DOUBLES, CLINCHING WINS: Sophomore Lindsey Green, along with Kelly Zalinski, leads the Irish with a 19-5 record in doubles dual matches and a 27-10 overall doubles mark. Green won the clinching win in both victories last weekend in the first and second rounds. She won Notre Dame’s fifth point against UIC at No. 5 singles and teamed with Zalsinki to end for the decisive match against South Carolina at No. 3 doubles. Green leads the team with seven clinching wins, four in singles and three in doubles with Zalinski.

CUNHA TOPS AT NO. 6: Freshman Katie Cunha was thrust into the singles lineup at No. 6 singles after an injury to junior Kimberly Guy in the heart of Notre Dame’s dual-match season and has responded by compiling the best record at No. 6 singles in the 11 years Jay Louderback has coached the Irish. Her 14-2 mark at the bottom spot in the lineup stands as the best winning percentage (.875), is tied for the most wins and is tops by a freshman.

GREEN AND ZALINSKI FORM TALENTED TANDEM: Senior Kelly Zalinski and junior Lindsey Green have been a solid doubles team for the Irish with a 26-10 record, including 18-5 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 had an 11-2 record at that spot. The return of Kimberly Guy to the doubles lineup sent Green and Zalinski back to No. 3 doubles this weekend. They continued their winning at No. 3 doubles by with victories against UIC and the clinching win against South Carolina. Green and Zalinski first paired together midway through the 1999 season and went 13-4 at No. 3 doubles.

IRISH FINISH UNBEATEN AT HOME: Notre Dame concluded their home season with two more wins last weekend to wrap up their first unbeaten home season since 1990. The Irish went 10-0 during their 2000 home schedule and posted wins against UIC and South Carolina to move to 12-0 at home this season with nine of the victories coming in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

VARNUM ON A ROLL: Sophomore Becky Varnum enters the Florida match with wins in 10 of her last 14 singles matches and in seven consecutive No. 1 doubles matches with junior Michelle Dasso since the pair reunited on March 27 after a month apart. Her last two singles matches gave the Irish 1-0 leads against both UIC and South Carolina as she yielded just three games in those two matches.

20-WIN SEASON: The Irish have reached the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in the last five years. Notre Dame went 23-7 last year, matching the 1996 team for the best record for the Irish under head coach Jay Louderback and at the NCAA Division I level.

Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings

Release: May 10

This Last School Avg.
Rank Rank
1. 1. Stanford * 77.56
2. 2. Georgia 63.70
3. 3. Wake Forest * 61.51
4. 4. Florida * 60.43
5. 5. California 57.78
6. 7. Duke * 47.55
7. 6. Pepperdine * 45.98
8. 8. Texas 45.15
9. 9. UCLA 44.29
10. 11. Vanderbilt 40.94
11. 10. Arizona State 38.67
12. 12. USC * 33.76
13. 13. NOTRE DAME 29.44
14. 17. Northwestern * 26.85
15. 14. William & Mary * 26.13
16. 16. Mississippi 25.14
17. 15. South Alabama 24.65
18. 18. Tennessee 23.51
19. 19. Baylor 19.24
20. 21. South Carolina * 16.00
21. 22. Arizona 15.59
22. 20. Florida State 15.04
23. 24. Clemson 14.91
24. 23. TCU 14.82
25. 25. Washington * 14.22

* indicates Notre Dame opponents

Other Notre Dame opponents

This Last School Avg.
Rank Rank
26. 26. Ohio State 14.05
31. 27. Kentucky 12.22
35. 36. Miami (Fla.) 10.64
36. 35. Illinois 10.60
40. 40. North Carolina 8.48
42. 42. Iowa 8.20
45. 44. BYU 7.57
49. 45. Indiana 6.89
57. 59. Michigan 5.59
58. 57. Purdue 5.44
62. 62. Maryland 4.50
71. 67. Kansas 4.01