May 6, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 12th-ranked and 12th-seeded Notre Dame women’s tennis team will play host to NCAA first and second round matches at the Courtney Tennis Center on May 15-16. The Irish will face Illinois-Chicago after earning an automatic bid into the tournament by winning the BIG EAST Conference title.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Notre Dame earned a No. 12 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 first round matches at the Courtney Tennis Center, the Irish will take on Illinois-Chicago on Sat., May 15, at 10:00 a.m., and Florida State and Iowa will play at 2:00 p.m. First-round winners will play a second-round match on Sun., May 16, at 11:00 a.m. with the winner advancing to the round of 16 at the University of Florida. Tickets can be purchased through the Notre Dame ticket office at (219) 631-7356 at a cost of $6 for adults and $4 for college students with identification, senior citizens over 55 and children 16 and under.

Notre Dame and UIC each earned automatic bids into the tournament as the Irish won the BIG EAST title, and the 13-10 Flames claimed the Midwestern Collegiate Conference crown to earn their first-ever NCAA bid. Notre Dame has beaten UIC in each of their five meetings, but the two teams have not played since the 1985-86 season. The Flames, who are seeded 49-64, will be making their second trip to Notre Dame this season after competing in the Eck Classic which was held Sept. 18-20, 1998, at the Courtney Tennis Center.

Florida State, seeded 25-28, currently is ranked 19th in the country with a 21-6 record and received an at-large bid into the NCAA championships. Freshman Alida Gallovits is ranked 91st in singles and 47th in doubles with sophomore Nanette Duxin. The Irish beat the Seminoles 6-1 in 1996 in the only meeting between the two schools.

Iowa is ranked 39th in the country with a 16-8 record and received an at-large selection to make its first-ever NCAA appearance. Freshman Toni Neykova and junior Shera Wiegler are ranked 38th in doubles. The Irish beat the Hawkeyes 8-1 earlier in the year on March 20, at the Eck Tennis Pavilion and have won all four meetings with Iowa, which is seeded 33-48.

IRISH WIN THIRD BIG EAST TITLE: Notre Dame dropped the doubles point but won four singles matches to beat 22nd-ranked and second-seeded host Miami 4-2 to win its third BIG EAST title in its four years in the BIG EAST. The match marked the fourth meeting between Irish and Hurricanes in the BIG EAST championship, with Notre Dame winning in 1996 and 1997 and Miami winning in 1998.

The Irish, playing the same format as men’s tennis, lost the doubles point for the first time in the tournament as Miami won at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles to take a 1-0 lead. Freshman Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and junior Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) continued their dual-match success as Varnum beat Eva Jimenez 6-3, 6-4, while Zalinski downed Alanna Broderick 6-2, 6-3 to put the Irish ahead 2-1. Miami’s Meredith Laughlin knotted the match at 2-2 with her 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 win over freshman Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) at No. 6 singles. Senior Marisa Velasco (Chula Vista, Calif.) won her 99th career singles match by beating Marcy Hora 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) at No. 3 singles for a 3-1 Irish lead.

Senior All-American captain Jennifer Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) won the championship-clinching match for the Irish as she ended Katia Bogomolova’s 14-match winning streak with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles. Hall trailed 2-5 in the first set before climbing back to 5-5 before losing 7-5. After rolling through the second set 6-1, she led 3-1 in the third set before Bogomolova broke back to tie. After holding serve at 4-4, Hall broke Bogomolova for the win. Eighth-ranked Irish sophomore Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) was ahead 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 5-1 over 26th-ranked Lioudmila Skavronskaia at No. 1 singles when Hall clinched the win.

Notre Dame had beaten Rutgers 4-0 in the second round after receiving a first-round bye and blanked 73rd-ranked Syracuse 4-0 in the semifinals to reach the championship match.

IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Notre Dame will be making its sixth appearance in the NCAA team championship in the last seven years and has a 6-5 record in its five previous appearances. Senior Marisa Velasco has compiled a 5-1 singles record and 2-0 doubles mark during her career in the NCAA team championships and has won her last five singles matches. Kelly Zalinski is 3-2 in singles and 1-1 in doubles, while Michelle Dasso has a 2-1 doubles and 1-0 doubles record. Jennifer Hall is 2-5 in singles and has not completed doubles match. Kim Guy is 2-1 in singles.

DASSO ONE OF FIVE IN TOP 10: Irish sophomore Michelle Dasso joins Georgia’s Marissa Catlin, Stanford’s Marissa Irvin and Teryn Ashley and Duke’s Vanessa Webb as one of only five players ranked in the top 10 in both singles and doubles. Dasso is 10th in singles and eighth in doubles with Jennifer Hall.

HONORS CONTINUE FOR HALL: As Jennifer Hall wraps up her storied career at Notre Dame, the two-time senior All-American added another accolade when she was named one of five recipients of the Byron V. Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor awarded to Notre Dame senior student-athletes who have been exemplary both as students and leaders. Hall is just the fourth women’s tennis player and the first since Wendy Crabtree in 1996 to win a Kanaley Award, which have been presented each year since 1927. Earlier this year, Hall was selected as the recipient of the USTA Sportsmanship Award at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor by the 16 coaches participating in the event. Hall is the second Notre Dame player to win the award, following 1994 winner Crabtree.

VARNUM, ZALINSKI STRONG IN THE MIDDLE: Irish freshman Becky Varnum and junior Kelly Zalinski have played important roles in Notre Dame’s success this season with their results at Nos. 4 and 5 singles. The duo has anchored the middle of the lineup in dual matches with Varnum posting a 20-6 mark at No. 4 and Zalinski 20-6 at No. 5. The 69th-ranked Varnum leads the team in singles wins with her 34-11 record, while Zalinski is second with a 32-11 mark.

IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The Irish have played 22 of their 28 matches against ranked teams, including nine teams in top 15 at the time of the match. The Irish have played six of the 11 teams ranked ahead of them in the latest ITA rankings. All six of Notre Dame’s losses have come against teams ranked ahead of the Irish at the time of the match. The Irish have played 16 teams in the 64-team NCAA field and have a 10-6 record in those matches.

HALL REACHES 200 WINS: Senior two-time All-American Jennifer Hall, who earlier in the year set Irish career records for singles wins and combined singles and doubles wins, recently reached the 200-win plateau. She boasts a 115-57 singles record and an 90-46 doubles record. Hall earlier in the season broke 13-year-old records of 195 combined wins and 107 singles wins by Mary Colligan from 1982-86. Hall’s win over Illinois’ Stacy Schapiro marked her 108th singles win at Notre Dame and moved her past Colligan for the most singles wins in Irish history. Hall became the first Irish player to reach 100 wins under head coach Jay Louderback on Feb. 19, when she beat UCLA’s Annica Cooper 7-5, 6-3.

IRISH IN THE RANKINGS: Notre Dame is ranked 12th in the latest ITA rankings, down two spots from 10th after beginning the year ranked 16th. Sophomore Michelle Dasso is 10th in singles, while senior All-American Jennifer is ranked 58th and eighth in doubles with Dasso. Freshman Becky Varnum stands 75th in singles.

SINGLES LINEUP SOLID: Only four teams have beaten the Irish singles lineup in 1999, top-ranked Florida, second-ranked Duke, 12th-ranked Tennessee and 13th-ranked Arizona State. Against the Blue Devils, the Irish had won two of four matches before losing two three-set matches 6-4 in the final sets. Notre Dame split six matches with eighth-ranked UCLA and won four of six singles matches against 15th-ranked Pepperdine, 13th-ranked USC, 32nd-ranked Northwestern, ninth-ranked Wake Forest, 18th-ranked Kentucky, 62nd-ranked Illinois, 55th-ranked Wisconsin and ninth-ranked William & Mary. The Irish won five singles matches against Indiana, Ohio State, Kansas and Iowa and swept BYU, Purdue, Illinois State, Michigan, Clemson, Oklahoma, Kansas State and DePaul. Playing the men’s format at the BIG EAST championship, Notre Dame was 3-0 in singles against Rutgers and Syacuse and 4-1 against Miami. Overall, the Irish are 119-42 in singles in dual matches for an average lead after singles of 4.25 to 1.5 per match.

DASSO TOUGH IN DUAL MATCHES: Michelle Dasso has been tough to beat in dual singles matches in her short career, amassing a 45-7 record and a 21-4 mark in 1999 at No. 1 singles. She won her first 20 dual matches as a freshman in a streak that included wins over M.C. White of Florida and Christina Moros of Texas. Dasso ended her freshman season with a 24-3 dual match record at No. 2.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 10th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 176-88 (.667) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 377-266 (.586) in 19-plus seasons of coaching. He has guided the Irish to NCAA championship appearances in five of the last six years, including a national quarterfinal appearance in 1996. His teams have finished among the top 20 teams in the country in four of the last six 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 three times after leading the Irish to BIG EAST championship titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999. His Notre Dame players have won All-America honors seven times in his nine years.

DASSO/HALL DUO POST BIG WINS: The first-year doubles team of Michelle Dasso and Jennifer Hall stand No. 8 in the rankings thanks to nine wins over ranked teams. The duo went 3-0 at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor, with wins over sixth-ranked Lehnhoff and Nickitas of Florida, eighth-ranked Basica and Cooper of UCLA and 19th-ranked Huber and Warkentin of USC. The duo also beat seventh-ranked Dascoli and Harris of Ohio State for three wins over top 10 teams and most recently beat 14th-ranked Tara Ann Toro and Laura Tsaggaris of William & Mary. Dasso and Hall are 20-6 in dual matches and 25-8 overall.

GREEN LEADS IN DOUBLES: Freshman Lindsey Green sports the best doubles record on the team with her 26-5 mark and is tied with Jennifer Hall for the most doubles wins on the team. Green has teamed with Kelly Zalinski for a 12-3 record in dual matches in 1999. Green also has teamed with Kim Guy (Portola Valley, Calif.) for a 3-0 mark and Sarah Scaringe (Marietta, Ga.) for a 10-2 record. Green is 21-10 in singles with a 10-6 mark in dual matches.

IRISH AT HOME: Notre Dame enters the NCAA first round match against Illinois-Chicago with a 10-1 record at home, its the best home mark since the Irish were 8-0 at home in 1990 in Jay Louderback’s first year at Notre Dame. Second-ranked Duke was the only team to defeat Notre Dame at home this year, while the Irish picked up wins over six ranked teams, including two top-10 teams.

DASSO WINS ROLEX CONSOLATION SINGLES: Michelle Dasso rallied from a first-round loss to win the singles consolation draw at the Rolex National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the third leg of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association collegiate grand slam. After Washington’s 22nd-ranked Kristina Kraszewski bounced Dasso 6-3, 6-3 in the first round, Dasso won three straight matches to win the consolation singles. She beat Arkansas’ 43rd-ranked Tara Reid 6-3, 6-1, USC’s 13th-ranked Ditta Huber 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) and Cal’s 32nd-ranked Amanda Augustus 7-6 (8-6), 3-2, retired. Dasso took advantage of another injury when Petra Gaspar of BYU-Hawaii could not play in the singles consolation final due to injury.

September18-20           Eck Classic                         NTS24-27           at T. Rowe Price Nat'l Clay Courts  NTS 
October9-11 at Ohio State Invitational NTS16-18 at Michigan Invitational NTS22-25 at ITA All-American NTS
November5-8 ITA Midwest Singles/Doubles NTS
January22 Fri. vs. DePaul W, 9-0 (Minneapolis, Minn.)23 Sat. vs. #15 Pepperdine L, 4-530 Sat. vs. #58 Kansas State W, 9-031 Sun. at #45 Oklahoma W, 9-0
February4-7 Th.-Sun. at Rolex National Indoor NTS12 Fri. #59 Ohio State W, 8-113 Sat. Clemson W, 9-014 Sun. #2 Duke L, 3-618-21 Th.-Sun. at USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Thurs. vs. #1 Florida L, 2-7 Fri. vs. #8 UCLA L, 4-5 Sat. vs. #13 USC W, 5-3
March3 Wed. at #32 Northwestern W, 5-46 Sat. #9 Wake Forest W, 7-210 Wed. at #13 Arizona State L, 1-813 Sat. at #23 Kansas W, 8-120 Sat. #53 Iowa W, 8-124 Wed. Michigan W, 9-027 Sat. at #12 Tennessee L, 3-628 Sun. at #18 Kentucky W, 5-431 Wed. #62 Illinois W, 7-2 April3 Sat. #71 Purdue/Ill. St. W, 9-0/W, 9-05 Mon. at #56 Wisconsin W, 7-29 Fri. BYU W, 9-0 11 Sun. #9 William & Mary W, 5-415 Thurs. at #65 Indiana W, 6-222-25 Th.-Sun. at BIG EAST Champ.23 Fri. vs. Rutgers W, 4-024 Sat. vs. #73 Syracuse W, 4-025 Sun. at #22 Miami W, 4-2
May15-16 Sat.-Sun. NCAA 1st and 2nd Rounds20-28 Sat.-Sun. NCAA Championship (Gainesville, Fla.)
Home matches held at the Courtney Tennis Center or Eck Tennis Pavilion.

Team Release: May 4, 1999

This    Last    School              TotalRank    Year1.      1.      Florida *           72.352.      2.      Stanford            65.003.      3.      Georgia             58.464.      4.      Duke *              56.635.      8.      Mississippi         53.966.      5.      California          53.917.      6.      UCLA *              50.838.      9.      Pepperdine *        43.249.      7.      Texas               41.3010.     11.     USC *               38.8611.     13.     Arizona State *     35.4012.     10.     Notre Dame          33.3313.     12.     Vanderbilt          32.6714.     16.     South Carolina      29.6515.     15.     Tennessee *         29.2516.     14.     William & Mary *    28.7317.     17.     Wake Forest *       28.2918.     18.     Arkansas            22.4419.     19.     Florida State       20.9620.     20.     Kentucky *          20.16
* indicates Notre Dame opponents

Singles Release: May 4, 1999

This    Last    Name                SchoolRank    Rank1.      1.      Zuzana Lesenarova   San Diego2.      3.      Vanessa Webb        Duke3.      2.      Marissa Irvin       Stanford4.      4.      Agnes Muzamel       Mississippi5.      13.     Ditta Huber         USC6.      9.      Dora Djilinova      Fresno State7.      5.      Teryn Ashley        Stanford8.      7.      Whitney Laiho       Florida9.      6.      Marissa Catlin      Georgia10.     8.      Michelle Dasso      Notre Dame58.     55.     Jennifer Hall       Notre Dame75.     69.     Becky Varnum        Notre Dame

Doubles Release: May 4, 1999

This    Last    Name                    SchoolRank    Rank    1.      1.      Catlin/Castellano       Georgia2.      2.      Ashley/Irvin            Stanford3.      3.      Goldstein/Webb          Duke4.      4.      Augustus/Jensen         California 5.      6.      Basica/Cooper           UCLA6.      5.      Lehnoff/Nickitas        Florida7.      8.      Lawrence/Senoglu        Pepperdine8.      7.      Dasso/Hall              Notre Dame9.      9.      Ondrejkova/Puflerova    So. Ala.10.     13.     Bradshaw/Propstra       Arizona St.

Of the many players who have played at Notre Dame in the 10-year era of head coach Jay Louderback, four of the top 11 singles players are members of the 1998-99 team.

Name                    Record  Years1. Jennifer Hall        115-57  1996-992. Holyn Lord           99-43   1993-96   Marisa Velasco       99-45   1996-994. Wendy Crabtree       97-52   1993-965. Kelly Zalinski       96-35   1997-996. Lisa Tholen          95-41   1991-947. Melissa Harris       95-37   1990-938. Kim Pacella          93-52   1988-919. Christy Faustmann    91-52   1991-9410. Laura Schwab        81-59   1992-9511. Michelle Dasso      70-17   1998-99