March 3, 1999

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The 16th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team fell to top-ranked and eventual winner Florida 7-2 and eighth-ranked UCLA 5-4 before beating 13th-ranked USC at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships on Thurs.-Sat, Feb. 18-20, in Madison, Wis. The Irish return from a 12-day break when they travel to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern on March 3.

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: After a 12-day rest, Notre Dame returns to the court for a road match at 32nd-ranked Northwestern on Wed., March 3. The Irish have beaten the Wildcats four straight times and in six out of the last eight meetings. The teams played twice in 1998, with Notre Dame winning 8-1 during the regular season and 6-2 at the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Notre Dame then returns home to face ninth-ranked Wake Forest at the Eck Tennis Pavilion on Sat., March 6 at 11:00 a.m. The Demon Deacons are coming off a 5-4 loss to South Carolina on Saturday and currently have a 2-4 record. The Irish trail the all-time series with Wake Forest 3-6 but won 8-1 a year ago over the 10th-ranked Deacons in Winston-Salem, N.C. Notre Dame assistant coach Liz Barker played at Wake Forest from 1990-94 where she earned All-America honors by advancing to the NCAA doubles semifinals as a senior.

IRISH LOOK TO CONTINUE MIDWEST DOMINANCE: When it faces Northwestern, Notre Dame will be looking to extend its winning streak against Midwest region opponents to 13 matches, dating back to a loss to Wisconsin in the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional. The Irish have rolled through their regional foes, building a 34-4 record against other Midwest teams since the ’95 season, including 27 wins against Big 10 teams.

HALL REACHES CENTURY MARK, APPROACHES RECORD: Senior two-time All-American Jennifer Hall beat UCLA’s 31st-ranked Annica Cooper 7-5, 6-3 to win her 100th singles match at Notre Dame, the first Irish player to reach 100 under head coach Jay Louderback. After the win against USC, Hall’s career singles record now stands at 101-54, just six wins behind the school record of 107 for singles wins, set from 1982-86 by Mary Colligan.

USTA/ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR RECAP: In its sixth appearance at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships, Notre Dame finished with a 1-2 record. The Irish lost five of six singles and two of three doubles matches in a 7-2 loss to top-ranked Florida in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The defending NCAA champions won their 33rd consecutive dual match in handing the Irish their third loss in three meetings with the Gators. Notre Dame’s only singles win came at No. 2 singles where senior two-time All-American Jennifer Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) outlasted 1997 NCAA singles finalist M.C. White 6-4, 0-6, 7-5. Florida’s Whitney Laiho won her 23rd consecutive dual singles match with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) at No. 1 singles. The Gators won in straight sets at Nos. 3-6 singles as Florida’s Jessica Lehnhoff clinched the win with a 6-4, 6-3 over Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) at No. 4 singles in a battle of two freshmen. Hall teamed with Dasso to lead the Irish to their second point of the match. The 22nd-ranked Irish pair beat Florida’s sixth-ranked team of Lehnhoff and Stephanie Nickitas 8-6 at No. 1 doubles. The Gators won 8-3 and 8-4 at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles to complete the 7-2 win.

In their first consolation match, the Irish lost a 4-2 lead and three team match points as eighth-ranked UCLA rallied to hand Notre Dame a 5-4 loss on the second day of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Bruins used a win at No. 6 singles and wins at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles to rally for the win. Notre Dame went up 2-0 when Hall and Marisa Velasco (Chula Vista, Calif.) won in straight sets. Hall beat 31st-ranked Annica Cooper 7-5, 6-3 and Velasco downed 38th-ranked Amanda Basica 6-2, 6-2. Cristina Popescu beat Dasso 7-5, 6-1 to put the Bruins within 2-1. Varnum beat Brandi Freudenberg 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) at No. 4 singles, while Katia Roubanova gave UCLA its second with a 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 win over Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) at No. 5 singles. Dasso and Hall beat the eighth-ranked team of Basica and Cooper 8-2 at No. 1 doubles to put the Irish ahead 4-2 while No. 6 singles was still being played. UCLA’s Petya Marinova won a close 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6) match at No. 6 over Irish freshman Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.). Marinova saved three match points to keep the Bruins alive. Freudenberg and Roubanova beat Varnum and Velasco 8-5 at No. 2 doubles to tie the match at 4-4. Marinova then teamed with Popescu to beat Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) and Zalinski 8-4 at No. 3 doubles to clinch the match for UCLA.

Notre Dame came away with a win in Madison by beating USC 5-3 with wins in four of six singles and a win at No. 1 doubles. Notre Dame improves to 6-4, while USC falls to 8-2. Dasso beat the Trojans’ 28th-ranked Ditta Huber for the second time in two weeks with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 1 singles, after also having beat Huber at the Rolex National Indoor Championships on Feb. 5. Hall won her third straight singles match at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a 6-1, 6-4 win over 64th-ranked Kara Warkentin at No. 2 singles. USC won a pair of match at Nos 3 and 4 singles in three sets. Jacqui Boyd edged Velasco 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (0) at No. 3, while Veronica Safarova held off Varnum 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 at No. 4. Zalinski dropped the first set against Krissy Hamilton at No. 5 singles but then rolled to a 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 win. The 22nd-ranked team of Dasso and Hall then beat 19th-ranked Huber and Warkentin at No. 1 doubles 8-4 for Notre Dame’s fourth point of the match. After wasting three match points in a three-set loss to UCLA on Friday, Green won the clinching match against the Trojans as she rallied to beat Karolina Bakalarova 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 6 singles.

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.

IRISH IN THE RANKINGS: Notre Dame has three players ranked in singles in the latest rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Sophomore Michelle Dasso has the highest ranking of her career at 10, while freshman Becky Varnum is 40th. Senior Jennifer Hall is 92nd. The doubles team of Dasso and Hall are 22nd, while freshman Nina Vaughan and junior Kelly Zalinski are 46th.

As a team, the Irish remain 16th among the 75 teams ranked. Notre Dame is one of just eight schools to have more than one doubles duo ranked among the top 50 teams and one of 12 schools to have at least three singles players ranked in the top 100.

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 8-2 singles records in dual matches in 1999 with Varnum playing at No. 4 singles and Zalinski at No. 5. Overall, Varnum is 21-7 in singles and Zalinski 20-7.

DASSO TOUGH IN DUAL MATCHES: Michelle Dasso has been tough to beat in dual singles matches in her short career, amassing a 31-6 record and a 7-3 mark in 1999. 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 four 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, ranked 22nd, 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 their last five wins. Dasso and Hall are 8-2 in dual matches and 13-4 overall.

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 and 13th-ranked USC 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 42-17 in singles in dual matches.

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 160-86 (.650) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 364-264 (.580) 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, Lindsey Green, Becky Varnum and Nina Vaughan 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.

Irish Recordbook

Senior All-American Jennifer Hall remains on pace to break Irish records for career singles wins and combined singles and doubles wins set in 1986.

Jennifer Hall (1995-)        Mary Colligan (1982-86)Singles: 101 (29 wins/yr.)   Singles: 107 (27/yr.)Doubles: 77 (21 wins/yr.)    Doubles: 88 (22/yr.)Combined: 178 (50 wins/yr.)  Combined: 195 (49/yr.)

Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings

Team Release: Dec. 8, 1998 (Fall)    This Last School                TotalRank Year1.   1.   Florida (8)           6502.   2.   Duke *                4443.   4.   Georgia               4374.   6.   California            4315.   3.   Stanford              427T6.  7.   Mississippi           416T6.  5.   Texas                 4168.   14.  UCLA                  4029.   11.  Wake Forest *         40110.  8.   William & Mary *      39411.  12.  Vanderbilt            39212.  10.  Arizona State *       38113.  20.  Southern California   37514.  16.  Arkansas              37315.  13.  Pepperdine *          36016.  19.  Notre Dame            35917.  17   Kansas *              35218.  9.   BYU *                 35119.  23.  South Alabama         34120.  22.  Virginia Commonwealth 33421.  33.  South Carolina        32622.  21.  Miami (Fla.)          32523.  24.  Kentucky *            32024.  18.  Arizona               31425.  27.  San Diego State       312
* indicates Notre Dame opponents
Singles Release: Feb. 16, 1999This Last Name SchoolRank Rank1. 1. Zuzana Lesenarova San Diego2. 6. Marissa Irvin Stanford3. 46. Marissa Catlin Georgia4. 3. Agnes Muzamel Mississippi5. 12. Vanessa Webb Duke6. 10. Mariel Verban Wake Forest7. 17. Dora Djilinova Fresno State8. 5. Anousjka Van Exel Tulsa9. 77. Teryn Ashley Stanford10. 23. Michelle Dasso Notre Dame11. 8. Vanessa Castellano Georgia12. 4. Mirela Vladulescu UAB13. 11. Cristina Popescu UCLA14. 7. Julie Ditty Vanderbilt15. 9. Elisa Penalvo Marquette16. 22. Kristina Kraszewski Washington17. 21. Celeste Frey Mississippi18. 25. Kris Sell Kansas19. 14. Ivona Mihailova Mississippi20. 18 Ana Fernandez Marquette21. 24. Traci Green Florida22. 37. Esther Knox Georgia23. 17. Aarthi Venkatesan Georgia24. 15. Megan Miller Duke25. 87. Anita Kurimay CaliforniaT40. T50. Becky Varnum Notre Dame92. T100. Jennifer Hall Notre Dame
Doubles Release: Feb. 16, 1999This Last Name SchoolRank Rank1. 1. Catlin/Castellano Georgia2. 3. Ashley/Irvin Stanford3. 6. Augustus/Jensen California 4. 14. Goldstein/Webb Duke5. 2. Ondrejkova/Puflerova So. Ala.6. 4. Lehnoff/Nickitas Florida7. 5. Fernandez/Penalvo Marquette8. T12. Basica/Cooper UCLAT9. 11. Eberle/Frey MississippiT9. 20. Chapman/Muzamel Mississippi22. 39. Dasso/Hall Notre DameT46. 37. Vaughan/Zalinski Notre Dame