April 15, 2002
AUSTIN, Texas – The 25th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team saw its two-match winning streak come to an end with a 5-2 loss to No. 10 Texas Monday night at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin, Texas. The Longhorns were the 22nd ranked opponent, and seventh top-10 foe for the Irish this season, highlighting what has been arguably the most difficult docket in school history.
Sophomore Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) continued her remarkable season with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Texas’ Rebekah Forney at No. 4 singles. Salas now is 30-5 this year, becoming the 24th Irish player to reach the 30-win plateau in a single season. She also is 23-2 in dual match play, moving her into a tie for fifth on the Notre Dame single-season wins list, one off the school record currently held by three players — Marisa Velasco (1996), Michelle Dasso (1998 & 2000) and Jennifer Hall (1999). In addition, Salas has won 26 of her last 28 matches and nine in a row.
Freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) picked up the other point for the Irish, registering a 6-2, 6-4 victory at No. 5 singles over UT’s Lindsey Blau. With the win, Connelly improves to 22-14 in singles play this season and 14-11 in dual matches. She also was making just her second career start in the fifth singles slot, where she now is 2-0.
The Longhorns (16-5) claimed the opening point of the match when they swept all three doubles contests. Texas built on its lead with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 singles flights, before Notre Dame rallied back behind victories from Salas and Connelly. However, UT stifled any hopes of an Irish comeback when 98th-ranked Kaysie Smashey defeated senior Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) by a 6-3, 6-4 count at No. 2 singles.
Notre Dame (13-12) now turns its attention to the BIG EAST Conference Championships, which begin Friday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex on the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, Fla. The Irish are the top seed for this year’s tournament, earning them a bye into Saturday’s semifinals where they will face either Boston College or Syracuse at 9 a.m. (EDT). Notre Dame is the defending conference champion and has won four titles in its six-year BIG EAST membership. The winner of the league tourney will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships which begin May 11-12 at campus sites around the country. The finals will be held May 16-25 on the Stanford University campus in Stanford, Calif.
#10 Texas 5, #25 Notre Dame 2
No. 1: #22 Vladka Uhlirova (UT) d. Becky Varnum (ND), 6-4, 6-3
No. 2: *#98 Kaysie Smashey (UT) d. Lindsey Green (ND), 6-3, 6-4
No. 3: Joanne Masongsong (UT) d. Nina Vaughan (ND), 6-3, 6-4
No. 4: Alicia Salas (ND) d. Rebekah Forney (UT), 6-2, 6-4
No. 5: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Lindsay Blau (UT), 6-2, 6-4
No. 6: Michelle Krinke (UT) d. Emily Neighbours (ND), 7-5, 6-4
No. 1: *#38 Uhlirova/Ziva Grasic (UT) d. Cunha/Green (ND), 8-4
No. 2: Smashey/Blau (UT) d. Varnum/Vaughan (ND), 8-5
No. 3: Forney/Masongsong (UT) d. Connelly/Salas (ND), 8-1
* indicates clinching victory
— ND —