April 1, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 23rd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team lost its second consecutive match to a top-10 opponent Monday afternoon, bowing to fourth-ranked Duke, 6-1, in Durham, N.C. As was the case in their 4-3 loss at No. 3 Wake Forest on Saturday, the Irish were only a few key points away from knocking off the highest-ranked opponent in school history. However, the visitors dropped two singles matches in three sets and succumbed in the decisive doubles match by a narrow 9-7 margin, giving Duke the edge it needed.
Sophomore Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) continued to shine in singles action for Notre Dame, earning her 21st victory in the last 23 matches with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over 64th-ranked Saras Arasu. It was Salas’ fourth career triumph over a ranked opponent and her second in as many matches. In addition, Arasu represents the highest-ranked foe Salas has defeated in her two-year Irish career. The Notre Dame standout now is 18-2 in dual match singles play this season (4-1 in three-set affairs), and she improves to 25-5 overall and 41-9 in her career.
Senior Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) attained a personal milestone in the loss, recording the 100th doubles victory of her career when she teamed with junior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) for an 8-6 win at the No. 1 flight over the Duke tandem of Hillary Adams and Kelly McCain. Green is the fourth Irish player to reach the century mark in career doubles wins, joining Michelle Dasso (109), Susie Panther (101) and senior Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (101) in that elite sorority.
Duke (15-3) drew first blood in the doubles competition, as the 60th-ranked pair of Julie DeRoo and Amanda Johnson dispatched the Irish duo of Salas and freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) by an 8-4 count. However, Cunha and Green evened matters with their win, making the No. 3 doubles match the decisive encounter. Varnum and senior Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Duke’s Katie Granson and Susie Abromeit fought back and eventually claimed the 9-7 win and the opening salvo in the match.
Johnson and DeRoo gave the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead when they claimed victories at the top two singles positions. Johnson, the 39th-ranked player in the nation, capably filled in for the fourth-ranked McCain, who was felled by an illness — she dispatched the 75th-ranked Varnum, 6-4, 6-3. Meanwhile, No. 18 DeRoo downed the 118th-ranked Vaughan by a 6-1, 6-1 score. Moments later, Duke locked up the match when Adams held off a spirited charge from Connelly to win 7-5, 6-4 at No. 6 singles.
The final three singles matches all went three sets, highlighted by Salas’ victory at No. 4. Cunha took a one-set lead at the fifth position, but Granson rallied to win in three, handing the Irish junior only her fourth loss this season after winning the opening frame. Green also bowed in three sets, losing for just the second time in her last nine matches.
Notre Dame (11-9) will complete its three-match road trip at 2:30 p.m. (EST) Tuesday when it takes on No. 7 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Irish then will return home this weekend for matches with 17th-ranked Northwestern (Saturday at 10 a.m.) and No. 26 Miami (Sunday at noon CDT) at the Courtney Tennis Center (weather permitting).
The latter contest has been designated “Ace For The Cure” — a special match-up designed to increase awareness among the Michiana community as to the deadly threat of colon cancer. Inspired and conceived by Cunha, whose family has been afflicted by this disease, the match will serve as a fund raiser with all proceeds going to benefit ongoing colon cancer research. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students (college age and under), and they may be purchased at the Joyce Center Ticket Office (call 574-631-7356) or the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
#4 Duke 6, #23 Notre Dame 1
No. 1: #39 Amanda Johnson (D) d. #75 Becky Varnum (ND) 6-4, 6-3
No. 2: #18 Julie DeRoo (D) d. #118 Nina Vaughan (ND) 6-1, 6-1
No. 3: Ioana Plesu (D) d. Lindsey Green (ND) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
No. 4: Alicia Salas (ND) d. #64 Saras Arasu (D) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
No. 5: Katie Granson (D) d. Katie Cunha (ND) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1
No. 6: *Hillary Adams (D) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 7-5, 6-4
No. 1: Cunha/Green (ND) d. Adams/Kelly McCain (D) 8-6
No. 2: #60 DeRoo/Johnson (D) d. Connelly/Salas (ND) 8-4
No. 3: *Susie Abromeit/Granson (D) d. Varnum/Vaughan (ND) 9-7
* denotes clinching match
Team Records: #4 Duke (15-3), #23 Notre Dame (11-9)
— ND —