March 2, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 19th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team improved to 6-5 on the season defeating No. 13 Texas 6-1 on Sunday in the Eck Tennis Pavilion at the second annual “Ace for the Cure” to benefit colon cancer. The win completed a pair of victories over ranked opponents for the Irish this weekend, the first being a 6-1 over No. 50 Wake Forest on Saturday.
In a near complete reversal from last year’s 5-2 Longhorn victory, the Irish swept the doubles matches and won five of six singles matches, giving Notre Dame its second win over Texas since the series started in 1990. The Irish will head out west on their spring break trip taking on No. 49 BYU in Provo, Utah on Saturday, March 8 at 3 p.m. (MST).
Notre Dame was perfect in it’s doubles play this weekend. Junior Caylan Leslie (Newport Beach, Calif./ Corona del Mar H.S.) and freshman Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg H.S.) finished first, winning 8-5 at the No. 3 spot. The pair has won all three of their matches since they began playing together last Monday against Kentucky. Senior captain Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island H.S.) and freshman Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s H.S.) clinched the doubles point and also picked up their fourth win over a ranked team this season defeating No. 19 Kendra Strohm and Ziva Grasic 8-3. Junior Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.) and freshman Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) completed the sweep, picking up an 8-4 win at No. 2.
In singles, the Irish came on strong winning the first set in all six matches. Leslie had another quick win over a ranked opponent, her sixth of the season, as she beat No. 105 Strohm 6-0, 6-2. Playing for the first time this weekend at No. 1 singles, Leslie is now 2-0 at the postion. Lauren Connelly put the Irish ahead 3-0 with a straight-set win at No. 6 over Macey Breece, 6-3, 6-2. Stastny then picked up her second clinching win of the day at No. 4 singles giving the Irish the match with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Grasic .
Playing at No. 5, Kelly Baritot put the Longhorns on the board knocking off sophomore Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) in the day’s only three set match, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Salas fought hard and came out on top at No. 2 singles snapping a personal four-match losing streak with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Michelle Krinke.
It seemed appropriate that the last match on the court was at the No. 3 spot where Cunha, playing with a lot of emotion, defeated Lindsay Blau 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-4). Cunha came up with the idea of the “Ace for the Cure” benefit match to raise awareness of colon cancer in the fall of 2001. Sunday’s match attracted a season-high 300 fans to the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
#19 Notre Dame 6, #13 Texas 1
No. 1: #44 Caylan Leslie (ND) d. #105 Kendra Strohm (UT) 6-0, 6-2
No. 2: #73 Alicia Salas (ND) d. Michelle Krinke (UT) 6-3, 7-5
No. 3: Katie Cunha (ND) d. Lindsay Blau (UT) 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-4)
No. 4: *Kristina Stastny (ND) d. Ziva Grasic (UT) 6-4, 6-2
No. 5: Kelly Baritot (UT) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
No. 6: Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Macey Breece (UT) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 1, 6, *4, 5, 2, 3
No. 1: *#31 Cunha/Stastny (ND) d. #19 Grasic/Strohm (UT) 8-3
No. 2: L. Connelly/Salas (ND) d. Blau/Krinke (UT) 8-4
No. 3: Leslie/Jennifer Smith (ND) d. Baritot/Breece (UT) 8-5
Order of Finish: 3, *1, 2
Team Records: Notre Dame 6-5; Texas 4-2
* denotes clinching match
— ND —