Oct. 18, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team posted a 15-1 record on Sunday, the final day of its lone home fall tournament, the Eck Classic, in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish, taking on players from three teams, won 12 of 13 singles contests in addition to a trio of doubles matches. Six different players went 3-0 on Sunday in helping Notre Dame conclude the event with a 28-11 record, including 20-7 in singles.
Sisters Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) led the Irish in the Eck Classic, both finishing with 7-1 records, including 4-0 in singles. On Sunday, the former – Notre Dame’s lone senior and captain – continued a trend of prevailing in close matches, as she dropped the first set twice, but then rallied to win a pair of match tiebreakers. First, Connelly beat Kansas’ Luiza Loureiro 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-4) before downing Michigan State’s Pascale Schnitzer 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-2).
All four of Sarah Jane Connelly’s matches in the Eck Classic ended the same way, with her winning a match tiebreaker. She is now 7-0 this season, but only once has she prevailed in straight sets, while winning twice in three sets in addition to the quartet of match tiebreakers. She has now played 13 match tiebreakers during her career, winning 10 of them. Connelly is 31-13 in her career in home matches and 30-13 in fall play. She has now rallied from losing set to win the match four times this season and on 17 occasions during her career.
Lauren Connelly’s fall season also has seen her go unbeaten in seven matches, but her contests have lacked the constant drama of those played her older sister. The younger sibling defeated Christine Skoda, who played No. 3 for the Jayhawks last spring, 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday before topping Michigan State’s No. 1 player, Keri Thompson, 6-4, 7-6. After dropping her first set of the fall, Connelly has now won 14 in a row, including nine in which the Irish junior has lost two games or fewer. She now holds a 20-10 career record in fall action and a 19-9 mark in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Connelly has won nine in a row when winning the first set, improving her career mark in that situation to 41-6.
In doubles, Sarah Jane Connelly combined with junior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) to defeat Kansas’ Brittany Brown and Ashley Fillberth 8-1 on Sunday. The duo is now 6-1 this season and 9-3 in their careers teaming up in home matches. Connelly and Stastny also hold a 16-7 mark in indoor play and an 11-6 mark against the Midwest Region.
Lauren Connelly paired with rookie Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) to beat the Jayhawk duo of Skoda and Lauren Hommell by an 8-4 score. The Irish team won three of four matches in the Eck Classic to improve to 6-1 on the season.
Stastny had little trouble in singles on Sunday, first downing Hommell 6-0, 6-2 before topping Michigan State’s Sarah Andrews 6-0, 6-3 to finish with a 3-1 mark in the tournament. On the season, the Irish junior is 6-1 after posting a 34-36 combined mark in her first two seasons of collegiate competition. Stastny, who has surrendered three games or fewer in a set 11 times this season, is 20-8 in her career in the Eck Tennis Pavilion, and she holds a 34-7 record when winning the opening set. Stastny is 22-10 against the Midwest Region.
Buck notched a quick 6-1, 6-1 win over Jayhawk Stephanie Smith in the morning before playing a match tiebreaker for the first time as a collegian and prevailing 6-0, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6) against MSU’s Christine Bader. The Irish rookie won three of four matches in her first home tournament to improve to 5-2 on the season.
Junior Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg H.S.) finished up a successful first tournament back in action after a 17-month layoff due to a shoulder injury. She ended up by winning 6-1, 6-1 vs. Anna Jackson of Kansas to win for the third time in four matches in the event. Smith was a contributor at No. 6 singles for the Irish as a freshman in 2002-03 before missing all of last season due to shoulder surgery.
Smith then paired with junior Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D./O’Gorman H.S.) to defeat Kansas’ Loureiro and Stephanie Smith 8-4. Donohue ended up 3-1 in singles, defeating Ohio State’s Nidhi Shah 6-2, 6-2 in the morning on Sunday before topping Karen Gustafson of Michigan State 6-0, 6-3. She is 5-2 overall this season and 8-2 in her career in home matches.
Notre Dame has been outstanding in fall action, combining to post a 68-22 (.756) record in three tournaments thus far this season. The Irish are 47-15 in singles and 21-7 in doubles. Additionally, if team scores were being kept, Notre Dame would be 7-0 in hidden dual action this fall, with wins against Auburn, Colorado, Denver, Kansas, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Virginia.
The Irish will have just three days off before they return to action by heading to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Championships, the indoor fall singles and doubles championships of the Midwest Region, which features most of the Big Ten Conference and various other area schools. The singles finalists and the doubles champion will gain automatic entrance into the second leg of the collegiate grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, to be played in Ann Arbor, Mich., from Nov. 5-7.
Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Christine Skoda (K) 6-1, 6-2
Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Lauren Hommell (K) 6-0, 6-2
Brook Buck (ND) def. Stephanie Smith (K) 6-1, 6-1
Liz Donohue (ND) def. Nidhi Shah (OSU) 6-2, 6-2
Jennifer Smith (ND) def. Anna Jackson (K) 6-1, 6-1
Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) def. Luiza Loureiro (K) 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-4)
Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Sarah Andrews (MSU) 6-0, 6-3
Jennifer Smith (ND) def. Jaylen Musselman (MSU) 8-3
Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Keri Thompson (MSU) 6-4, 7-6
Brook Buck (ND) def. Christine Bader (MSU) 6-0, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6)
Liz Donohue (ND) def. Karen Gustafson (MSU) 6-0, 6-3
Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) def. Pascale Schnitzer (MSU) 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-2)
Shelley Brady (MSU) def. Bailey Louderback (ND) 6-1, 6-2
Brook Buck/Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Christine Skoda/Lauren Hommell (K) 8-4
Sarah Jane Connelly/Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Brittany Brown/Ashley Filberth (K) 8-1
Liz Donohue/Jennifer Smith (ND) def. Stephanie Smith/Luiza Loureiro (K) 8-4