Jan. 26, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team opened its season Saturday by posting 6-1 victories over both #59 Illinois State and Northern Iowa in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Sophomore Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) notched four victories on the day and lost just four combined games in her matches, while junior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) delivered the match-clinching victory in both contests — a feat she did not accomplish at all a season ago. The Irish open the season 2-0 for the first time since 1998. Notre Dame will return to action on Wednesday when the Irish travel to Michigan for a 5 p.m. match against the Wolverines.
In the morning match against Illinois State, the Irish swept the three doubles matches. Cunha and freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) drew first blood, gaining an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles. Salas and senior Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) clinched the doubles point with a victory at No. 3. Seniors Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) and Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.), ranked 29th nationally in doubles, then registered a 9-7 upset victory over the 14th-ranked team of Alesia Mikalayeva and Liina Suurvarik. That Redbird pair, the top-ranked doubles team in the region, defeated Green and Varnum in a tiebreaker in the semifinals of the Omni Hotels Region IV Championships last fall.
In singles, Notre Dame won the first five matches off the court to gain the team victory. Green was done first when Mikalayeva retired in the fourth game of the No. 2 singles match. Salas was done soon thereafter, notching a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 5. Cunha clinched the Irish win with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 4 singles. After the outcome was decided, Connelly won at No. 6 and Vaughan at No. 3 before Suurvarik, ranked 107th, got a victory at No. 1 singles to avoid the shutout for Illinois State.
The singles were played first in the Notre Dame-Northern Iowa match. Salas was again off the court quickly after a 6-1, 6-0 triumph at No. 5. Connelly notched a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 6 and Green won 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 to set up the clinching win, delivered in the form of a 6-2, 6-4 victory by Cunha at No. 4. The Irish went up 5-0 when Vaughan won moments later at No. 3. Again the Irish were denied the shutout, though, when Kylene Wong gained a victory in a match tiebreaker at No. 1.
In doubles, Salas and Varnum won 8-1 at No. 2 doubles before senior Michelle Hamilton (Diamond Bar, Calif.) and junior Maggie Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D.) turned in an 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles to clinch the doubles point. It was the dual-match debut for both players.
#14 Notre Dame 6, #59 Illinois State 1
No. 1: #107 Liina Suurvarik (ISU) d. #58 Becky Varnum (ND) 6-4, 6-2
No. 2: Lindsey Green (ND) d. Alesia Mikalayeva (ISU) 1-2, ret.
No. 3: Nina Vaughan (ND) d. Alana Hoffman (ISU) 6-4, 6-3
No. 4: Katie Cunha (ND) d. Tatyana Ugorich (ISU) 6-1, 6-2
No. 5: Alicia Salas (ND) d. Laura Gravino (ISU) 6-0, 6-0
No. 6: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Shelby Lipson (ISU) 6-2, 6-2
No. 1: #29 Green/Varnum (ND) d. #14 Mikalayeva/Suurvarik (ISU) 9-7
No. 2: #53 Connelly/Cunha (ND) d. Gravino/Hoffman (ISU) 8-2
No. 3: Salas/Vaughan (ND) d. Lipson/Ugorich (ISU) 8-2
#14 Notre Dame 6, Northern Iowa 1
No. 1: Kylene Wong (UNI) d. #58 Becky Varnum (ND) 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7)
No. 2: Lindsey Green (ND) d. Jessica Landes (UNI) 6-1, 6-2
No. 3: Nina Vaughan (ND) d. Carrie Amsbaugh (UNI) 6-4, 6-3
No. 4: Katie Cunha (ND) d. Kristina Bothova (UNI) 6-2, 6-4
No. 5: Alicia Salas (ND) d. Jaime Noyce (UNI) 6-1, 6-0
No. 6: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Archana Reddy (UNI) 6-2, 6-0
No. 1: Landes/Wong (UNI) d. #53 Connelly/Cunha (ND) 8-6
No. 2: Salas/Varnum (ND) d. Amsbaugh/Bothova (UNI) 8-1
No. 3: Maggie Donohue/Michelle Hamilton (ND) d. Mercedes Pollmeier/Korkoi Quaye (UNI) 8-3