Oct. 14, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team began the lone home tournament on its fall schedule, the Eck Classic, in style, going unbeaten in three doubles matches against Michigan State pairs on Thursday evening in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish, who dropped just seven total games in the contests, will be back in action on Friday, taking on players from the University of Virginia at 2 p.m. (EST) in singles and 3:30 p.m. in doubles, though action in the Eck Classic will begin at 9 a.m. and continue all day.
Junior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) continued to be dominant, posting an 8-1 victory over senior Keri Thompson and sophomore Sarah Andrews, who played Nos. 1 and 2 doubles, respectively, for the Spartans last spring. The teams both held serve to open the match, but the Irish then won the next seven games to claim the victory. Connelly and Buck are unbeaten in four matches this season and have lost a total of nine games, an average of just over two per contest. The duo has posted three straight wins in which its opponents have managed to win two games or fewer. Buck was victorious in her home debut, while Connelly is now 7-0 in combined (singles and doubles) play this fall.
Senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and junior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) also won by seven-game margin, defeating the Michigan State duo of senior Karen Gustafson and freshman Christine Bader. The Irish pair, which won the first five games of the match, also stands at 4-0 this fall and has now registered back-to-back 8-1 triumphs. The duo, which holds a career record of 21-14 playing together, has surrendered just five total games over its last three matches. The team of Connelly and Stastny is 7-2 in the Eck Tennis Pavilion and 14-6 in indoor matches. Both players are also undefeated in singles and stand 7-0 in combined play early this season.
Junior Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D./O’Gorman H.S.) and freshman and local product Bailey Louderback (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) got a pair of late service breaks to break a 5-5 tie en route to an 8-5 victory over junior Shelley Brady and sophomore Pascale Schnitzer, who played Nos. 2 and 3 doubles, respectively, in MSU’s ’04 dual-match lineup. Louderback, the daughter of head coach Jay Louderback, was victorious in her collegiate debut in her home area, while the Notre Dame duo won for the second time this season.
Notre Dame continued its outstanding play in the early portion of the 2004-05 season, as the Irish now stand with a 16-3 overall record in doubles matches this fall and a 35-7 mark in combined singles and doubles action.
Though the Irish normally play eight or nine Big Ten Conference foes during the dual-match season, it has been since 1991 that Notre Dame last played the Spartans in a dual match (8-1 home win).
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.
Thursday, October 14
Jennifer Smith (ND) def. Jaylen Musselman (MSU) 8-3
Brook Buck/Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Sarah Andrews/Keri Thompson (MSU) 8-1
Sarah Jane Connelly/Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Christine Bader/Karen Gustafson (MSU) 8-1
Liz Donohue/Bailey Louderback (ND) def. Shelley Brady/Pascale Schnitzer (MSU) 8-5