March 9, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. –The 16th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team picked up two wins last week, winning 5-4 at 32nd-ranked Northwestern and beating ninth-ranked Wake Forest 7-2 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish travel to 14th-ranked Arizona State and 23rd-ranked Kansas over spring break.

  • Notre Dame edges Northwestern 5-4, downs Wake Forest 7-2
  • Hall jumps 39 spots in singles, moves up to No. 6 in doubles with Dasso

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame will spend part of its spring break in Phoenix before facing the 13th-ranked Sun Devils on Wed., March 10 at 1:30 p.m. The Irish and Sun Devils have met just once before with seventh-ranked Arizona State beating Notre Dame 8-1 in 1995. The Sun Devils enter the match with a 4-4 record and are led by 64th-ranked Allison Bradshaw. Bradshaw and Katy Propstra are ranked 24th in doubles.

The Irish then will travel to 23rd-ranked Kansas for a 1:00 p.m. match on Sat., March 13. Notre Dame leads the series with Kansas 4-3 but lost to the Jayhawks 6-3 at home last year. Senior Kris Sell is ranked 15th in singles and 33rd in doubles with Cheryl Mallaiah.

HALL REACHES CENTURY MARK, APPROACHES RECORD: Senior two-time All-American Jennifer Hall’s 7-5, 6-3 win over UCLA’s Annica Cooper on Feb. 19 marked her 100th singles win at Notre Dame, the first Irish player to reach 100 under head coach Jay Louderback. Hall enters the Arizona State match with a career singles record that now stands at 102-55, just five wins behind the school record of 107 for singles wins, set from 1982-86 by Mary Colligan.

NORTHWESTERN, WAKE FOREST RECAP: Notre Dame used a win by a first-time double team of freshman Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) and junior Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) at No. 3 doubles to hang on for a 5-4 win at 32nd-ranked Northwestern on Wednesday. The Irish won four of six singles match but lost at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles before Green and Zalinski clinched Notre Dame’s fifth straight win over Northwestern. Tenth-ranked Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) and 40th-ranked Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) gave the Irish straight set singles wins. Dasso beat Katherine Nasser 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, while Varnum won 6-0, 7-5 over Colleen Cheng at No. 4 singles. Senior All-America Jennifer Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) rallied for a 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 win over Shannon Duffy at No. 2 singles to improve to 10-1 in dual matches in 1999. Sophomore Kim Guy (Portola Valley, Calif.), playing in her first dual match of the year, held on for a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win over Jennifer Lutgert at No. 6 singles. With the match tied at 4-4 after Northwestern won at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles, Green and Zalinski beat Duffy and Leigh Weinraub 8-5 at No. 3 doubles to clinch the win.

The Irish won four of six singles matches and swept the doubles to defeat ninth-ranked Wake Forest 7-2 on Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The two teams split the first four singles match before the Irish won the final two matches to take a 4-2 lead after singles. Zalinski beat Annemarie Milton 6-3, 6-1 at No. 5 singles for the first point of the match. Wake Forest came back as Janet Bergman beat Hall 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 at No. 2 singles. Notre Dame went up 2-1 when Marisa Velasco (Chula Vista, Calif.) won 6-3, 6-1 over Maren Haus at No. 1. Jackie Houston rallied from 1-4 in the first set to beat Varnum 7-6 (7-1), 6-4. Notre Dame then used wins at the top and bottom of the lineup to pull away from Wake Forest. Dasso beat sixth-ranked Deacon sophomore Mariel Verban 7-5, 6-4 at No. 1 singles for a 3-2 lead. Guy then rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Lea Miller at No. 6 singles. Miller came back from 3-5 down the third set and saved a match point at 4-5 and three more match points at 5-6 before Guy closed out the match for a 4-2 Notre Dame lead. Notre Dame then swept the doubles to complete the 7-2 win.

HALL HONORED AT USTA/ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR: Jennifer Hall was selected as the recipient of the USTA Sportsmanship Award by the 16 coaches participating in the event. Hall is the second Notre Dame player to win the award, following 1994 winner Wendy Crabtree.

SINGLES LINEUP SOLID: Only two teams have beaten the Irish singles lineup in 1999, top-ranked Florida and second-ranked Duke. 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 won four of six singles matches against 15th-ranked Pepperdine, 13th-ranked USC, 32nd-ranked Northwestern and ninth-ranked Wake Forest and split six matches with eighth-ranked UCLA. The Irish won five singles matches against Ohio State and swept Clemson, Oklahoma, Kansas State and DePaul. Overall, the Irish are 50-21 in singles in dual matches.

IRISH IN THE RANKINGS: Notre Dame is one of just seven schools with three singles players ranked in the top 60 in the latest rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Sophomore Michelle Dasso dropped one spot from 10 to 11, while freshman Becky Varnum is 47th. Senior Jennifer Hall vaulted from 93 to 54. The doubles team of Dasso and Hall are moved from 22 to six. As a team, the Irish crept two spots from 16th to 14th among the 75 teams ranked.

IRISH EXTEND MIDWEST DOMINANCE: Notre Dame extended its winning streak against Midwest region opponents to 13 matches after the win at Northwestern, a streak that dates back to a loss to Wisconsin in the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional. The Irish have rolled through their regional foes, building a 35-4 record against other Midwest teams since the ’95 season, including 28 wins against Big 10 teams.

VARNUM, ZALINSKI TOUGH TO BEAT: The middle of Notre Dame’s singles lineup has been solidified by the play of Becky Varnum and Kelly Zalinski. Each have compiled 9-3 singles records in dual matches in 1999 with Varnum playing at No. 4 singles and Zalinski at No. 5. Overall, Varnum is 22-8 in singles and Zalinski 21-8.

DASSO TOUGH IN DUAL MATCHES: Michelle Dasso has been tough to beat in dual singles matches in her short career, amassing a 33-6 record and a 9-3 mark in 1999. In her last outing she beat sixth-ranked Mariel Verban 7-5, 6-4. 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. Her six losses have come to Duke’s Vanessa Webb, Florida’s Whitney Laiho and UCLA’s Cristina Popescu this year and to Popescu, Duke’s Kristin Sanderson and Indiana’s Kelly Blanch a year ago.

DASSO/HALL DUO POST BIG WINS: The first-year doubles team of Michelle Dasso and Jennifer Hall moved to No. 6 in the rankings thanks to a number recent wins. 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 in the last month. Dasso and Hall are 9-3 in dual matches and 14-5 overall.

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.

IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The Irish, who finished 20-10 a year ago, will play at least 22 matches against ranked teams and nine ranked teams at home. BYU, Duke, Wake Forest and William & Mary, four of the 16 teams that came to Courtney Tennis Center for the 1998 NCAA championships, return to Notre Dame to face to the Irish this year.

All four of Notre Dame’s losses have come against higher ranked teams. The first Irish loss came against 15th-ranked Pepperdine by a 5-4 score after Notre Dame had won four of the six singles matches on Jan. 23. Second-ranked Duke beat the Irish 6-3, while top-ranked Florida won 7-2 on Thursday in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 10th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 162-86 (.653) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 366-264 (.581) 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 after leading the Irish to BIG EAST championship titles in 1996 and 1997. His Notre Dame players have won All-America honors seven times in his nine years.

FRESHMEN SPARK IRISH: Notre Dame’s freshman class of Berica Day (San Antonio, Texas), Lindsey Green, Becky Varnum and Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) combined for a 38-22 record during an impressive fall season. Green, Varnum and Vaughan all saw action in Notre Dame’s first two matches of the season, the biggest immediate contributions for a freshman class since the 1993 freshman class of Wendy Crabtree, Holyn Lord and Sherri Vitale all played in the singles or doubles lineup in their first dual match.

Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings

Team Release: March 9, 1999

This Last  School             TotalRank Year  1.  1.   Florida *           375  2.  2.   Duke *              370  3.  3.   Georgia             365  4.  4.   California          360  5.  5.   Stanford            355  6.  6.   Texas               349  7. 10.   William & Mary *    341  8. 11.   Vanderbilt          340  9.  6.   Mississippi         339 10.  8.   UCLA *              329 11. 13.   USC *               326 12. 15.   Pepperdine *        315 13. 12.   Arizona State *     313 14. 16.   Notre Dame          309 15. 21.   South Carolina      308 16.  9.   Wake Forest *       307 17. 14.   Arkansas            306 18. 23.   Kentucky *          284 19. 20.   VCU                 281 20. 26.   Tennessee *         279T21. 42.   Washington          263T21. 38.   Fresno State        263T23. 17.   Kansas *            262T23. 25.   Arizona             262 25. 19.   South Alabama       254
* indicates Notre Dame opponents

Singles Release: Feb. 16, 1999

This Last  Name    SchoolRank Rank  1.   1.  Zuzana Lesenarova       San Diego  2.   2.  Marissa Irvin           Stanford  3.   5.  Vanessa Webb            Duke  4.   4.  Agnes Muzamel           Mississippi  5.   9.  Teryn Ashley            Stanford  6.   6.  Mariel Verban           Wake Forest  7.   3.  Marissa Catlin          Georgia  8.   8.  Anousjka Van Exel       Tulsa  9.  13.  Cristina Popescu        UCLA 10.   7.  Dora Djilinova          Fresno State 11.  10.  Michelle Dasso          Notre Dame 12.  12.  Mirela Vladulescu       UAB 13.  27.  Lioudmila Skavronskaia  Miami 14.  25.  Anita Kurimay           CaliforniaT15.  60.  Whitney Laiho           FloridaT15.  18.  Kris Sell               Kansas 17.  16.  Kristina Kraszewski     Washington 18.  17.  Celeste Frey            Mississippi 19.  48.  Stephanie Hazlett       Florida 20.  14.  Julie Ditty             Vanderbilt 21.  15.  Elisa Penalvo           Marquette 22.  11.  Vanessa Castellano      Georgia 23.  NR   Sandy Sureephong        Texas 24.  21.  Traci Green             Florida 25.  30.  Baili Camino            Florida 47. T40.  Becky Varnum            Notre Dame 54.  93.  Jennifer Hall           Notre Dame

doubles Release: Feb. 16, 1999

This Last Name SchoolRank Rank 1. 1. Catlin/Castellano Georgia 2. 2. Ashley/Irvin Stanford 3. 3. Augustus/Jensen California 4. 4. Goldstein/Webb Duke 5. 6. Lehnoff/Nickitas Florida 6. 22. Dasso/Hall Notre Dame 7. 5. Ondrejkova/Puflerova So. Ala. 8. 9. Eberle/Frey Mississippi 9. 8. Basica/Cooper UCLA10. 7. Fernandez/Penalvo Marquette