March 13, 2004
WIKALOA, Hawaii – The 18th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (7-4) dropped its second straight 6-1 decison, this time falling to #36 Tennessee (9-8) Saturday morning in the final match of its spring break trip. Senior co-captain Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.) scored the lone point for the Irish, defeating #24 Tammy Encina in a match tiebreaker at No. 1 singles 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7). The two squared off in the fall in the first round of the first leg of the collegiate grand slam, the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, where Encina posted a 6-4, 6-0 victory. Salas ranked 13th nationally, picked up her fifth straight win to improve to 21-8 this season and 14-5 against ranked foes. The Irish will return to action on Thursday, playing host to #44 Iowa at 4 p.m. (EST) in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Each of the last four matches for Salas have been against top-30 players, with the Irish senior prevailing in each one. Prior to Saturday, she topped #5 Amanda Johnson of Duke on Wednesday, #13 Jennifer McGaffigan of Illinois on March 4, and #30 Dora Vastag of Indiana on Feb. 29. Salas improved to 9-2 this spring at No. 1, including a 6-0 record against ranked opponents, with all of those foes being listed among the top 50. Overall this season, she has 11 wins against top-50 players this season, including six against players listed among the top 30.
Notre Dame also managed a victory at No. 3 doubles as junior Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and sophomore Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) beat Majen Immink and Breanna Kray in a match tiebreaker 9-8 (7-3).
Tennessee’s Sabita Maharaj and Ashley Robards topped Salas and sophomore Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma Cit y, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) 8-3 at No. 2 doubles. The Irish pair has dropped four straight after a seven-match winning streak.
The Lady Vols claimed the initial point as Encina and Melissa Schuab outlasted 37th-ranked freshmen Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thomspon (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) 9-8 (7-5) at the No. 1 position. Notre Dame dropped the doubles point for the third match in a row after taking a 1-0 lead in each of the previous seven matches.
Victoria Jones was the first off the court in singles, defeating Sarah Jane Connelly 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6. Immink put Tennessee within a point of victory by topping Stastny 7-5, 6-2 at No. 5.
Maharaj, ranked 73rd nationally, delivered the clinching win for the Volunteers at No. 2 singles, beating Christian Thompson 6-1, 6-3.
After the outcome was determined, Blakeley Griffith stretched the Tennessee lead to 5-1 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Lauren Connelly at No. 4. Connelly has lost four straight following an eight-match winning streak.
In the final match on-court, Ashley Robards upended #84 Catrina Thompson in a match tiebreaker at No. 3 by scores of 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-6). Thompson has lost back-to-back matches following a seven-match winning streak.
#36 Tennessee 6, #18 Notre Dame 1
No. 1: #13 Alicia Salas (ND) d. #24 Tammy Encina (T) 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7)
No. 2: *#73 Sabita Maharaj (T) d. Christian Thompson (ND) 6-1, 6-3
No. 3: Ashley Robards (T) d. #84 Catrina Thompson (ND) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-6)
No. 4: Blakeley Griffith (T) d. Lauren Connelly (ND) 6-4, 6-2
No. 5: Majen Immink (T) d. Kristina Stastny (ND) 7-5, 6-2
No. 6: Victoria Jones (T) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 6-3, 6-1
Order of Finish: 6, 5, 2, 4, 1, 3
No. 1: !Encina/Melissa Schaub (T) d. #37 Thompson/Thompson (ND) 9-8 (7-5)
No. 2: Maharaj/Robards (T) d. L. Connelly/Salas (ND) 8-3
No. 3: S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) d. Immink/Breanna Kray (T) 9-8 (7-3)
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1!
* denotes clinching win; ! denotes clinching win in final match on-court
— ND —