Oct. 15, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team continued action in the lone home tournament on its fall schedule, the Eck Classic, on Friday afternoon in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The highlight of the day was the Irish winning four singles matches – including at three of the top four positions – against the University of Virginia. Notre Dame will be back in action at Noon (EST) on Saturday, playing singles matches against Midwest Region rival Ohio State before the schools lock horns in doubles at 1:30 p.m.
Notre Dame, which is without its top two players this weekend, took on the Cavaliers in seven singles matches and three doubles matches. The Irish won four in singles, but UVa. then swept the doubles contests.
Freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) made her home singles debut a successful one by notching an impressive 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 victory against junior Douglas Wink, who transferred from the University of Georgia during the offseason after a campaign in which she was 12-3 at Nos. 5 and 6 singles for the Bulldogs, which finished at seventh in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national rankings. Buck is 3-1 in her young collegiate career.
Junior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) also posted a noteworthy victory, as she failed to drop a game in downing Kristen James, who played No. 2 for the Cavaliers in 2004 and was their team leader in dual-match wins (15-7 record). It was the second 6-0, 6-0 victory of her career, and she also has a total of 10 shutout sets. Connelly is unbeaten in four singles contests this fall. After dropping her first set of the season, she has won eight in a row, losing only 12 games, an average of 1.5 per frame. Connelly holds a career record of 25-16 in indoor matches as a collegian.
After a shoulder injury caused her to miss all of last season after being a contributor for Notre Dame in her rookie season, junior Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg H.S.) continued her successful return to competitive tennis. Prior to this tournament, she had not played since May 10, 2003, a stretch of more than 17 months. After claiming a pro-set singles victory in her return to action on Thursday, Smith prevailed again on Friday, downing Lauren Bruch – who played No. 3 for Virginia last spring – by scores of 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 1-0 (10-6). Smight played 10 matches at No. 6 for the Irish in 2002-03 and was expected to be a factor for Notre Dame last season before her injury.
Notre Dame’s other victor was senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.), who defeated Lori Stern 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8). Connelly is now unbeaten in four matches this fall, though only one has been decided in straight sets. The win was the 65th singles triumph of her career, making Connelly the 30th Notre Dame player to post 65+ wins. She improved to 28-13 (.683) in home matches and has won seven of 10 match tiebreakers in her career.
The 16th annual Eck Classic features a “hidden dual” format in which teams play simulated dual matches against each other, but there are no team scores kept. All results count for individual ranking purposes, but match tiebreakers are played instead of third sets in the interest of time. The tournament features five teams: Kansas, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Virginia.
Friday, October 15
Diana Srebovic (Virginia) def. Kristina Stastny (ND) 6-2, 6-2
Brook Buck (ND) def. Douglas Wink (V) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1
Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Kristen James (V) 6-0, 6-0
Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) def. Lori Stern (V) 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8)
Rachel Del Priore (V) def. Liz Donohue (ND) 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6)
Jennifer Smith (ND) def. Lauren Bruch (V) 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 1-0 (10-6)
Marta Bechliwanis (V) def. Bailey Louderback (ND) 8-2
Diana Srebovic/Douglas Wink (V) def. Brook Buck/Lauren Connelly (ND) 8-6
Kristen James/Lori Stern (V) def. Sarah Jane Connelly/Kristina Stastny (ND) 8-4
Lauren Bruch/Rachel Del Priore (V) def. Liz Donohue/Jennifer Smith (ND) 8-5