Jan. 25, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The fourth-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team will begin the dual-match portion of its schedule on Friday. The Irish will travel to Illinois to face the Illini and first-year head coach, former Notre Dame assistant, Michelle Dasso. First-serve is schedule for 4 p.m. at the Atkins Tennis Center. The Irish will then host 12th-ranked Vanderbilt in their home opener on Sunday. First-serve is set for Noon at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Notre Dame, coming off its best season in the 31-year history of the program, has been victorious in 13 of the last 14 meetings with Illinois. The Irish have won the last five meetings in Champaign – a streak that dates back to the 1992 season.
The Illini opened the dual-match season last weekend with a 4-3 victory over Marquette. Their lineup will feature three freshmen (Leigh Finnegan, Megan Fudge and Kristina Minor), a sophomore (Shivani Davé), two juniors (Alejandra Meza Cuadra and Momei Qu) and one lone senior (Emily Wang). The Illini went 8-15 last season and finished 10th in the Big Ten Conference (2-8 record).
Dasso is in her first season at Illinois after spending the past three years as an assistant coach under Notre Dame head coach Jay Louderback. She garnered ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year honors after helping the Irish to unprecedented success in 2005-06.
Vanderbilt also opened the dual-match season last weekend. The Commodores registered a pair of sweeps (7-0) over both Louisville and East Tennessee State. Vanderbilt, ranked 12th in the most recent ITA poll, feature four singles’ players ranked in the top 60. Freshman Catherine Newman leads the team at #24, largely due to her straight set win over North Carolina’s No. 7 Jenna Long at the NCAA Regionals during the fall. ITA All-American Amanda Fish is ranked 26th, followed by Amanda Taylor at #42 and the 2006 SEC Player of the Year Taka Bertrand at #57.
— ND —