April 3, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 27th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (9-6, 2-0) lost just 14 total games in singles play — the fewest surrendered in a home match by the Irish since 1989 — and did not drop a set en route to a 7-0 victory over Marquette (3-14) Saturday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Thompson twins both posted 6-0, 6-0 victories, becoming the first Irish duo to deliver shutouts in the top half of the singles lineup since 1986. Notre Dame will return to action Sunday in a Noon (EST) match against #18 Miami (13-2, 2-0) in a rematch of each of the last eight BIG EAST title matches.
The 14 games lost in singles were the fewest for an Irish team since April 21, 2000, when Notre Dame lost just 13 in a 6-0 victory over Rutgers in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship. It was the fewest surrendered in the regular season since Jan. 30, 1999, when the Irish allowed Kansas State to win 10 games in a 9-0 decision in Oklahoma City, Okla. That contest, however, featured an Irish walkover at No. 6. On March 18, 1989, Notre Dame dropped just 10 games in singles in a 9-0 win against Western Illinois, marking the last home match — and regular-season match with all six singles contests played — in which the Irish lost fewer than 15 games.
Notre Dame swept the doubles matches for the fifth time this season. First off the court was the team of senior co-captain Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.) and sophomore Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.), who defeated Canadian Genevieve Charron and Annabelle Espinosa of Panama 8-4 at No. 2 after rallying from a 3-2 deficit. Salas and Connelly have won three of their last four and are 16-7 this season, including 10-5 in dual matches at No. 2.
Senior Emily Neighbours (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor School) and sophomore Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy), playing together for just the second time after making their debut last Sunday, clinched the doubles point and got their first win together. They defeated Andrea Bukacek and Dominika Dabrowski 8-3 at No. 3.
Freshman twins Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) completed the sweep by topping Veronica Garcia Briseno of Mexico and Callan Smith 8-6 at No. 1. The win snapped a four-match losing streak for the Thompsons and upped their season record to 17-12.
It marked the 16th consecutive time the Irish went on to team victory after winning the doubles point. This season, Notre Dame is 9-0 when winning the doubles point and 0-6 when losing it.
Junior Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) was off the court first in singles, defeating Bukacek 6-1, 6-0 at No. 6. It snapped a four-match losing streak for Connelly and provided her first victory in singles since Feb. 29. Three of her 11 victories this season have seen her lose just a single game in the match.
A pair of “double bagels” from the Thompsons then clinched the Irish triumph. Catrina Thompson, ranked 92nd, finished first in her match at No. 3 against Smith, whose brother, Casey Smith, graduated from Notre Dame in 2002 after serving as team captain of the Irish men’s tennis team and earning All-America honors as a senior. Catrina Thompson is 17-10 this season, including 9-5 in dual matches at No. 3.
Christian Thompson provided the clinching victory by blanking Charron at No. 2 to improve to 19-12 this season. It was her third clinching win of the spring, while her sister has four, meaning the Thompson twins have combined to clinch seven of Notre Dame’s nine victories.
Saturday marked the first time since Feb. 4, 2001, that a pair of Notre Dame competitors won 6-0, 6-0 in the same match. On that date, Lindsey Green beat Meaghan Colville of Western Michigan at No. 4 and Salas shut out Mariana Quintanilla at No. 6 in Notre Dame’s 6-1 home victory. The last time the Irish had 6-0, 6-0 victories among the top three singles slots was May 3, 1986, when Susie Panther topped Lyn Brooks of Bowling Green at No. 1 and Isobel O’Brien shut out Lynda Wick at No. 3 in a 7-0 Irish win.
Lauren Connelly finished next, with a 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Annabelle Espinosa at No. 4 to snap a seven-match losing streak.
Stastny beat Dabrowski 6-1, 6-4 at No. 5 and Salas, ranked 10th in the nation, topped Garcia Briseno 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1. Salas is 23-10 this season, including 11-4 in dual matches at No. 1.
In all, half of the 12 singles sets on Saturday were Notre Dame shutouts. The last time Irish competitors turned in six 6-0 sets was April 23, 1999, when Notre Dame accomplished the feat in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship against Rutgers en route to a 5-0 victory.
Including the 13 games Marquette won in doubles action, Notre Dame lost just 27 total games in the contest, marking the fewest given up by the Irish since March 17, 2001. On that date, West Virginia managed just 19 games (16 in singles, three in doubles) in a 7-0 Notre Dame victory in Miami, Fla.
The match marked the first meeting between the schools since 1991. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 7-1 and is 6-0 at home against the Golden Eagles.
The Irish improved to 9-2 in indoor matches this season, while being winless in four outdoor affairs.
Notre Dame is 6-1 at home this season and has won 11 of the last 13 contests in the Eck Tennis Pavilion, dating back to last season.
Marquette was shut out for the eighth time this season, including five times in its last six matches.
Notre Dame, playing an unranked team for just the second time this season, continued its streak of having never lost to an unranked team since the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) began ranking more than 25 teams. Overall, the Irish have won 56 in a row vs. unranked teams, dating back to a 7-2 loss to Northwestern on Feb. 20, 1994. The Wildcats were not in the national top 25 at the time.
The Irish have won 21 in a row at home against squads not ranked among the nation’s top 20 and 17 straight overall against teams not ranked among the top 40.
#27 Notre Dame 7, Marquette 0
No. 1: #10 Alicia Salas (ND) d. Veronica Garcia Briseno (M) 6-4, 6-1
No. 2: *Christian Thompson (ND) d. Genevieve Charron (M) 6-0, 6-0
No. 3: #92 Catrina Thompson (ND) d. Callan Smith (M) 6-0, 6-0
No. 4: Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Annabelle Espinosa (M) 6-0, 6-3
No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) d. Dominika Dabrowski (M) 6-1, 6-4
No. 6: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Andrea Bukacek (M) 6-1, 6-0
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 2*, 4, 5, 1
No. 1: Thompson/Thompson (ND) d. Garcia Briseno/Smith (M) 8-6
No. 2: L. Connelly/Salas (ND) d. Charron/Espinosa (M) 8-4
No. 3: *Emily Neighbours/Stastny (ND) d. Bukacek/Dabrowski (M) 8-3
Order of Finish: 2, 3*, 1
* denotes clinching win; ! denotes clinching win in final match on-court