May 16, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 12th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team lost two of three doubles matches after splitting singles to lose to 38th-ranked Iowa 5-4 on Sunday in the NCAA second round at the Courtney Tennis Center. The loss ends a 12-match winning streak for the Irish who end the season at 23-7. Iowa improves to 18-8 with its first win in five tries over Notre Dame and travels to the University of Florida for the next round of the NCAA championship.

Notre Dame built a 3-1 lead in singles with three straight-sets wins. Eighth-ranked sophomore Michelle Dasso won 6-4, 6-0 over Toni Neykova at No. 1 singles. Junior Kelly Zalinski beat Erica Johnson 6-2, 6-4 at No. 5 singles. Erin Wolverton gave Iowa’s its first point with a 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 win over Lindsey Green at No. 6 singles. Freshman Becky Varnum won Notre Dame’s third singles match with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 win over Emily Bampton at No. 4 singles.

Iowa then used a pair of three-set wins to knot the match at 3-3 after singles. Shera Wiegler held off Irish senior Jennifer Hall 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 6-2 after trailing 3-5 in the first set. Natalya Dawaf then rallied to beat Marisa Velasco 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3 singles. Velasco led 3-1 and had a break point on Dawaf’s serve but became ill and was forced to take an injury timeout. When Velasco returned, Dawaf held serve and won four straight games on her way to the win.

In doubles, the Hawkeyes rallied from 0-4 down at No. 2 doubles and 1-4 down at No. 1 doubles for the win. Kim Guy replaced Velasco in doubles and played at No. 3 with Varnum. Green and Zalinski moved up to No. 2 from No. 3. Neykova and Wiegler saved two break points to close out that match at No. 1 doubles with an 8-5 win.

Notre Dame ends its season with a 23-7 record, the most single-season wins for the Irish since the 1985-86 team finished 28-6. The loss snaps a 21-match winning streak against Midwest region opponents, dating back to Wisconsin’s win over the Irish in the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals.

Final – NOTRE DAME 4 IOWA 5

SINGLES

No. 1 - Michelle Dasso (#10)    vs. Toni Neykova    ND              6-4, 6-0No. 2 - Jennifer Hall (#58)     vs. Shera Wiegler   UI   7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 6-2No. 3 - Marisa Velasco          vs. Natalya Dawaf   UI         1-6, 6-4, 6-4No. 4 - Becky Varnum (#75)      vs. Emily Bampton   ND        7-6 (7-3), 6-2No. 5 - Kelly Zalinski          vs. Erica Johnson   ND              6-2, 6-4No. 6 - Lindsey Green           vs. Erin Wolverton  UI         6-2, 0-6, 6-3

DOUBLES

No. 1 - Dasso/Hall (#8)         vs. Neykova/Wiegler (#38)   UI          8-5 *No. 2 - Green/Zalinski          vs. Bampton/Dawaf           UI          8-6No. 3 - Kim Guy/Varnum          vs. Johnson/Wolverton       ND          8-5
* Clinching Match

Match Notes: Number next to each player is ranking by Intercollegiate Tennis Association … Iowa improves its record to 17-8 on the season and advances to the round of 16 at the University of Florida … Notre Dame finishes the season with a 23-7 record … the loss snaps Notre Dame’s 12-match winning streak … the loss also ends a 21-match winning streak against Midwest region opponents with the last loss coming in the NCAA regional semifinals to Wisconsin in 1997 … Iowa improves to 2-0 in its first NCAA appearance … the win marks the first for the Hawkeyes in five meetings with the Irish after losing 8-1 at Notre Dame earlier this season … Notre Dame led 3-1 in the team match before Iowa won at Nos. 2 and 3 singles to force a split after singles … Iowa rallied from 1-4 down at No. 1 doubles to win the deciding match … the Hawkeyes also came back from 0-4 down at No. 2 doubles … Shera Wiegler trailed 3-5 in the first set and 3-5 in the tiebreaker before winning the first set … Marisa Velasco led 3-1 and had a break point in the third set when she became ill and was forced to use an injury timeout … Kim Guy replaced Velasco in doubles and teamed with Becky Varnum at No. 3 doubles while Kelly Zalinski and Lindsey Green moved up to No. 2 doubles.Second Round1999 NCAA Division I