April 2, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 28th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (9-8) delivered a 5-2 victory over #72 Long Beach State (9-8) Saturday morning in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish swept the doubles matches and then notched straight-set wins in each of the quickest three singles contests to win their third in a row in the Eck Pavilion. Notre Dame will return to action in its home finale next Saturday, playing host to #14 William & Mary at 10 a.m. (EST) in this season’s Gold Game.
Three Irish players – sisters Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and sophomore Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – were winners in both singles and doubles, while junior Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D./O’Gorman H.S.) notched a singles triumph. Also prevailing in doubles were junior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy), sophomore Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), and freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School).
Notre Dame won the doubles point for the 14th time in 17 matches this season and swept the doubles contests for the seventh time. First off the court were the Thompsons, the #2-ranked team in college tennis. They won all four of their return games and were up 6-0 en route to an 8-1 victory against Australian Nicole Bouffler and Sandra Rocha at No. 1 doubles. It was the fifth time in the last six matches that the Thompsons lost three games or fewer, as well as the second-most-lopsided victory for the twins this season. They stand 21-4 on the campaign, including 13-2 in dual-match action at No. 1. The Irish duo is 7-1 at home this season (13-4 career), as well as 18-4 vs. lower-ranked teams. Catrina Thompson notched the 45th doubles victory of her career (21 losses, .681), as well as her team-leading 15th dual-match victory of the spring (all at No. 1), in just 17 matches. She shares the team lead with Stastny in overall doubles victories with a 23-4 mark. Bouffler and Rocha came into the match with a 12-3 record in dual play at No. 1 this spring.
Clinching the doubles point for the fifth time this season (tied for team lead) were Sarah Jane Connelly and Stastny, who prevailed 8-4 at No. 3 against Australian Alanah Carroll and Rachael Porsz of England. The Irish team has won three straight and eight of its last 10 (four clinching victories in that span) to improve to 21-7 on the season, including 11-4 in dual action at No. 3. Connelly and Stastny have won seven in a row together (and eight in a row individually) at home to improve to 10-2 in the Eck Pavilion this season (16-4 career). They also have won eight straight indoors to move to 18-5 (31-11 career) and now have 11 career clinching wins as a team. Stastny is 23-7 on the season in doubles (tied for the Irish lead in victories), including a current five-match winning streak that has seen her move to 13-4 in dual-match play. Connelly notched her 78th career doubles victory (54 losses, .591) to move into a 16th-place tie with Cathy Schnell (1982-85) on the Irish all-time list. It was the first match for the team of Carroll and Porsz at No. 3 after their previous eight appearances (3-5 record) had all been at No. 2.
Completing the sweep were Lauren Connelly and Buck, who defeated Australian Stephanie Bengson and Krystina Katayama 8-3 at No. 2. The Irish team has won three of four and is 22-9 on the season, including 11-6 in dual action at No. 2. They are 9-4 at home.
First off the court in singles was Lauren Connelly, who beat Rocha 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3. The Irish junior has won three of four matches since moving up to the No. 3 position and became the second Notre Dame player (along with Buck) to reach the 20-win plateau in singles (9 losses). She has won three straight at home and is 10-3 on the season in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Putting the Irish within a point of victory was Catrina Thompson, ranked 44th in the nation in singles. She came on late in both sets to top Bouffler 7-5, 6-3 at No. 1. The Australian actually served for the first set at 5-4, but the Irish sophomore won three straight games to capture the set. In the second, the Long Beach senior led 3-2, before Thompson prevailed in the final four games of the match. She has won four consecutive matches and is 18-6 on the season, including 12-5 in her first year playing at No. 1. Thompson has won seven in a row indoors (14-4 record, 27-10 career) and figures to move up in the next set of national rankings (released Tuesday), as she is unbeaten since dropping five spots when the last set of rankings was released on March 22, with three of her four victories coming against nationally-ranked players. Bouffler, who has been ranked as high as 65th this season, had been 11-5 at No. 1 prior to Saturday.
Sarah Jane Connelly provided the clinching victory by beating Carroll 6-2, 7-5 at No. 5 to put Notre Dame ahead 4-0. It was the first match-clinching triumph for the senior captain since she beat Meaghan Colville to ice the Irish win against Ohio State on March 29, 2003. Connelly moved to 12-6 this season and evened her mark at 3-3 since being inserted into the dual-match lineup. She has won eight consecutive home singles matches (5-0 this season) and stands 32-13 in her career at home. It was the sixth clinching victory of Connelly’s career.
Donohue provided Notre Dame’s other victory, a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 triumph over Claudia Argumedo of El Salvador at No. 6 in the match’s longest contest. The Notre Dame junior has won three straight and improved to 17-12 on the season. She snapped a three-match losing streak in three-setters and won a close match for the second time this week, after pulling out a tight two-setter at Wisconsin on Tuesday.
Stastny appeared to be on her way to a win, as she served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but Porsz rallied for a match-tiebreaker victory by scores of 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8) at No. 4. The Irish junior had been 3-0 in match tiebreakers this season, and she lost after taking the opening set for just the second time in 2004-05.
Freshman Bengson continued her hot play, as she upset 100th-ranked Buck 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 at No. 2 to get The Beach on the scoreboard. The Australian is 11-6 on the season, while Buck now has lost back-to-back matches for the first time as a collegian.
The match was the first for the teams against each other since 1989 and the first ever at Notre Dame.
#28 Notre Dame 5, #72 Long Beach State 2
No. 1: #44 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Nicole Bouffler (LBSU) 7-5, 6-3
No. 2: Stephanie Bengson (LBSU) def. #100 Brook Buck (ND) 6-4, 0-6, 6-2
No. 3: Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Sandra Rocha (LBSU) 6-4, 6-3
No. 4: Rachael Porsz (LBSU) def. Kristina Stastny (ND) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8)
No. 5: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) def. Alanah Carroll (LBSU) 6-2, 7-5
No. 6: Liz Donohue (ND) def. Claudia Argumedo (LBSU) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 5*, 2, 4, 6
No. 1: #2 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Bouffler/Rocha (LBSU) 8-1
No. 2: Buck/L. Connelly (ND) def. Bengson/Krystina Katayama (LBSU) 8-3
No. 3: S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Carroll/Porsz (LBSU) 8-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3*, 2