February 16, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 16th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team downed Ohio State 8-1, blanked Clemson 9-0 and lost 6-3 to second-ranked Duke this past weekend at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish will play top-ranked Florida in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships on Thurs., Feb. 18, in Madison, Wis.

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: Just four days after playing Duke, the second-ranked team in the country, Notre Dame will take on top-ranked and top-seeded Florida in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships on Thurs., Feb. 18, at 2:00 p.m. at the Nielson Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wis. The Gators have won 32 consecutive dual matches and are 5-0 to start 1999, dropping only two matches in those five wins. Florida won the 1998 NCAA championship held at Notre Dame. Five Gator singles players and two doubles teamS are ranked. No. 1 singles player Whitney Laiho has won 22 consecutive dual singles matches. The Irish have lost both meetings with Florida, losing 7-2 to Florida in 1998 and 8-0 in 1996 in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships.

IRISH AT THE NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR: Notre Dame will making its sixth consecutive appearance and sixth overall in the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships since its first showing in 1994. The Irish are 7-8 all-time at the event with two losses to Stanford and one to Georgia and Florida.

WEEK IN REVIEW: The Irish won five of six singles matchES and swept the doubles for an 8-1 win over 59th-ranked Ohio State on Friday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Senior Jennifer Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.), junior Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) and sophomore Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) gave Notre Dame a 3-0 lead with straight-set singles wins. Freshman Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) lost a match point in the second set tiebreaker and fell behind 3-1 in the third set before rallying for a 6-0, 6-7 (8), 6-4 win at No. 4 singles. After Ohio State’s Michelle Matko beat Marisa Velasco (Chula Vista, Calif.) 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3 singles, Irish freshman Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) clinched the match with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 win over Laura Maloney at No. 6 singles. Notre Dame’s doubles lineup swept the Buckeyes to complete the 8-1 win. Dasso and Hall won five consecutive games from 2-3 to beat the seventh-ranked Buckeye team of Kristy Dascoli and Briana Harris 8-4.

Notre Dame dropped just one set on its way to a 9-0 win over Clemson on Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Hall put Notre Dame ahead 1-0 with a 6-1, 6-1 over Cecilia Hincapie at No. 2 singles. Varnum and Green won at Nos. 4 and 6 singles to give Notre Dame a 3-0 lead. After Dasso rolled to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Carmina Giraldo at No. 1 singles, Zalinski, a native of Greer, S.C., clinched the win for Notre Dame by beating Christina Oldock 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 singles. Velasco rebounded for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Catherine Galvin at No. 3 singles. Dasso and Hall went ahead 6-0 on their way to an 8-1 win over Galvin and Kate Maree Mair at No. 1 doubles.

The Irish jumped out to a 2-0 lead but lost a pair of tight three-set matches as second-ranked Duke rallied for a 6-3 win on Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Zalinski and Varnum remained perfect in seven singles dual matches this year with straight set wins, giving Notre Dame an early 2-0 lead. Zalinski trailed 50th-ranked Erica Biro 0-4 in the first set before rattling off the next 12 games for a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 5 singles. Varnum used a service break with 33rd-ranked Karen Goldstein serving at 5-6 in the first set for a 7-5, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles.

Duke’s 1998 NCAA singles champion Vanessa Webb won the first match for the Blue Devils as the 12th-ranked senior beat Dasso 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 singles. Duke then tied the match at 2-2 when Kristin Sanderson beat Velasco 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) at No. 3 singles. Velasco saved two match points serving at 5-6 and then lost three set points in the tiebreaker as Sanderson won five straight points to win the tiebreaker 8-6.

The Blue Devils took a commanding 4-2 lead with two three-set wins at Nos. 2 and 6 singles. Green rallied from a 1-4 deficit in the third but had her serve broken at 4-5 as 55th-ranked Sell edged Green 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4 at No. 6 singles to put the Blue Devils ahead 3-2. Duke then went ahead 4-2 when 15th-ranked Megan Miller rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 over Hall at No. 2 singles. The Irish won the first doubles match to cut the lead to 4-3 when Varnum and Velasco beat Miller and Sanderson 8-3 at No. 2 doubles. After Sell and Brooke Siebel won at No. 3 to clinch the win, the 13th-ranked team of Webb and Goldstein beat Dasso and Hall 8-4 at No. 1 doubles.

Irish Recordbook
Senior All-American Jennifer Hall remains on pace to break Irish school records for career singles wins and career combined singles and doubles wins, which date back to 1986.

Jennifer Hall (1995-)       Mary Colligan (1982-86)Singles: 98 (29 wins/yr.)   Singles: 107 (27/yr.)Doubles: 75 (21 wins/yr.)   Doubles: 88 (22/yr.)Combined: 173 (50 wins/yr.) Combined: 195 (49/yr.)

HALL APPROACHES CENTURY MARK: Senior two-time All-American Jennifer Hall looks for two wins this week at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships to become the first Notre Dame player under Jay Louderback to win 100 singles matches in a career. Holyn Lord won 99 singles matches from 1992-96. Hall currently boasts a 98-54 singles record in her three-plus seasons at Notre Dame. She remains on pace to break Mary Colligan’s Notre Dame record with 107 singles wins in her career from 1982-86 while the Irish played at the NCAA Division II level.

IRISH MOVE UP RANKINGS: Notre Dame’s three ranked singles players saw their rankings improve in the latest rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Sophomore Michelle Dasso jumped 13 places from 23 to 10, the highest ranking of her career. Freshman Becky Varnum moved 11 places to 40, while senior Jennifer Hall crept eight spots to 92. The doubles team of Dasso and Hall are 22nd, up from 39, while freshman Nina Vaughan and junior Kelly Zalinski dipped to 46 from 37.

As a team, the Irish remain 16th among the 75 teams as team rankings were not updated. 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.

IRISH CONTINUE MIDWEST DOMINANCE: Notre Dame’s 8-1 win over Ohio State extended its winning streak against Midwest region opponents to 12 matches, dating back to a loss to Wisconsin in the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional. The Irish have rolled through their regional foes, building a 33-4 record against other Midwest teams since the ’95 season, including 26 wins against Big 10 teams.

VARNUM HALFWAY TO RECORD: Becky Varnum has built a 20-5 singles record so far in her freshman year, halfway to Michelle Dasso’s single-season record of 40 singles wins. Varnum led the Irish with a 13-5 record in the fall to earn a national singles ranking of 51 after the fall season. She has lost just one set in seven dual-match singles matches in 1999 and picked up the biggest win of her career with a 7-5, 6-1 win over 33rd-ranked Karen Goldstein of Duke.

ZALINSKI PERFECT IN 1999: Junior Kelly Zalinski has yet to drop a set in winning all seven matches at No. 5 singles so far in 1999. The closest she has come to dropping a set came against 50th-ranked Erica Biro of Duke when she fell behind 0-4 in the first set before winning the final 12 games of the set for a 6-4, 6-0 win.

DASSO TOUGH IN DUAL MATCHES: Michelle Dasso has been tough to beat in dual singles matches in her short career, amassing a 30-4 record and a 6-1 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 this year and to UCLA’s Cristina Popescu, Duke’s Kristin Sanderson and Indiana’s Kelly Blanch a year ago.

SINGLES LINEUP SOLID: Notre Dame’s singles lineup has been solid in seven dual matches as the Irish have compiled a 34-7 record in singles. DePaul, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Clemson did not win a singles match against Notre Dame. Ohio State won one singles match, while Pepperdine won just two singles matches before winning all three doubles to edge the Irish 5-4. Only second-ranked Duke won more singles matches than the Irish in a dual match as the Blue Devils won two three-set matches after the two teams split four singles 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 17 matches against teams ranked in the top 50 and 21 matches against all ranked teams and will welcome nine ranked teams to Notre Dame, including second-ranked Duke. 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.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 10th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 159-84 (.654) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 363-262 (.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, 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.

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. gnes 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