Sept. 24, 2000

PIKESVILLE, Md. — Notre Dame senior women’s tennis All-American Michelle Dasso lost in her bid to become the first Irish women’s tennis player to win an Intercollegiate Tennis Association grand slam as she fell 6-1, 6-3 to Wake Forest’s Bea Bielik on Sunday in the championship match of the T. Rowe Price National Intercollegiate Clay Court Championships, the opening leg of the at the Suburban Club of Baltimore County in Pikesville, Md. Dasso’s appearance in the final marked the best-ever showing for an Irish women’s tennis player at a grand slam, bettering the semifinal spot her former doubles parter Jennifer Hall (1996-99) claimed at the 1996 Rolex National Indoor Championships.

Bielik, who is No. 14 in the ITA rankings, needed 65 minutes to beat 18th-ranked Dasso. Bielik did not lose a set during her five-match title run this week. Dasso, who was playing with a pulled stomach muscle she suffered in the quarterfinals, had beaten the nation’s No. 31, 44 and 67 en route to the final. Three of Dasso’s four wins en route to the final were three-set battles. In Friday’s quarterfinal win over Mississippi’s Mira Radu she fought off six match points to win 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7).

“I think my luck just kind of ran out today,” said Dasso, a senior from Long Grove, Ill. and Stevenson High School, who has a 4-1 record after her first tournament of the season. “I think I used it all up this week. (Bielik) played well. Every game was close, but I couldn’t quite get my momentum going.”

“I knew coming out that (Dasso) was going to run down a lot of balls so I was going to have to be patient,” said Bielik. “Luckily I was able to win some key points when I needed to and I think that was the difference today.”

The two could meet again during the spring dual-match season when Wake Forest travels to Notre Dame on Sat., Feb. 10.