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No. 20 Irish Move To 3-0 Against Top-30 Teams, Down No. 26 Indiana 5-2

Feb. 29, 2004

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 20th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (7-1) improved to 3-0 this season against top-30 teams by defeating #26 Indiana (6-3) Sunday morning in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish, who have won seven in a row after losing their season opener, took the doubles point and won four singles contests in straight sets before dropping a pair of match tiebreakers. Notre Dame will continue a streak of five consecutive matches with top-30 foes on Thursday by welcoming #18 Illinois for a 4 p.m. (EST) match.

Among the highlights for the Irish were senior co-captain Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.), the 17th-ranked player in college tennis, dropping just two games in defeating #30 Dora Vastag to improve to 11-5 against ranked opponents this season.

The Irish took the initial point of the match for the seventh consecutive time with wins at Nos. 1 and 3. At the top spot, freshman twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), ranked 42nd nationally, topped the 45th-ranked team of Karie Schlukebir and Linda Tran 8-4. The Thompsons are 15-7 this season, including 6-2 in dual-match play at No. 1. They have won four in a row, including three straight vs. teams currently listed in the national rankings. Schlukebir and Tran came into the match with a 17-5 record, including an 11-0 start en route to reaching the semifinals of last fall’s ITA Midwest Championships.

Junior Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and sophomore Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) delivered the doubles point for the Irish with an 8-6 victory over Laura McGaffigan and Dora Vastag at No. 3. The Irish team has won four of its last five matches, providing the clinching victory in three of those.

Indiana salvaged the No. 2 match when Sarah Batty and Martina Grimm, ranked 44th, topped Salas and junior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) 8-6. The loss was the first for Salas and Connelly in eight matches this spring, though they still hold a 13-3 overall record this season.

Salas was first off the court in singles, with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Vastag at No. 1. The Irish senior is 18-8 this season, including 6-2 in dual-match play at No. 1. The win was Salas’ eighth over a top-45 player in 2003-04. Vastag entered the match 10-4.

Stastny lost just three games in putting the Irish within a point of victory with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Grimm at No. 6. The Irish sophomore has won four of her last five matches.

Catrina Thompson provided the clinching win, defeating Batty 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3 for her seventh consecutive triumph. She has provided the clincher in four of Notre Dame’s seven wins this spring and is 15-6 on the season, including 7-1 at No. 3.

Sarah Jane Connelly gave the Irish a 5-0 advantage with a 7-5, 6-3 win against Schlukebir at No. 5.

The final two contests were decided in match tiebreakers, with the Hoosiers winning both. Tran prevailed against Christian Thompson 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8) at No. 2 before McGaffigan dealt Lauren Connelly her first loss of the spring in snapping the Irish sophomore’s eight-match winning streak in a 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8) decision.

Notre Dame has won eight of the last nine matches with Indiana.

The Irish dropped the first match of the spring 4-3 at Michigan before winning seven in a row.

Notre Dame finished February with a 6-0 record, highlighted by wins over #14 VCU (4-3), #20 BYU (6-1), and the Hoosiers.

#20 Notre Dame 5, #26 Indiana 2


No. 1: #17 Alicia Salas (ND) d. #30 Dora Vastag (IU) 6-0, 6-2

No. 2: Linda Tran (IU) d. Christian Thompson (ND) 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8)

No. 3: *Catrina Thompson (ND) d. Sarah Batty (IU) 6-3, 6-2

No. 4: Laura McGaffigan (IU) d. Lauren Connelly (ND) 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8)

No. 5: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Karie Schlukebir (IU) 7-5, 6-3

No. 6: Kristina Stastny (ND) d. Martina Grimm (IU) 6-3, 6-0

Order of Finish: 1, 6, 3*, 5, 2, 4


No. 1: #42 Thompson/Thompson (ND) d. #45 Schlukebir/Tran (IU) 8-4

No. 2: #44 Batty/Grimm (IU) d. L. Connelly/Salas (ND) 8-6

No. 3: *S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) d. McGaffigan/Vastag ((IU) 8-6

Order of Finish: 1, 3*, 2