March 10, 2004
WIKALOA, Hawaii – Senior co-captain Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.) knocked off the fifth-ranked player in college tennis, but it was not enough as the 18th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (7-3) lost 6-1 to #6 Duke (7-1) Wednesday morning in a neutral-site meeting. The Irish senior, who is ranked 13th, is 13-5 this season against ranked foes.
In the final match remaining on-court, Salas rallied from losing the first set for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 win against Amanda Johnson at No. 1. Salas is 20-8 this season, including 8-2 in dual matches at No. 1. She is 5-0 this spring vs. ranked foes, with all of them being listed among the nation’s top 50. Salas has won each of her last four matches. It was the second time in as many seasons that Johnson suffered a defeat against the Irish. In 2003, Caylan Leslie upset the then-15th-ranked Blue Devil 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2 in a 5-2 Duke victory in the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Johnson was the highest-ranked player to fall victim to an Irish competitor since current Notre Dame assistant coach Michelle Dasso , ranked third at the time, upset #2 Ansley Cargill of Duke 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 in a 4-3 Blue Devils victory on Jan. 21, 2001.
Notre Dame’s top doubles team also managed an impressive victory. Freshman twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), ranked 37th, delivered an 8-6 win over Julia Smith and Tory Zawacki in the final contest on the court. The Irish pair took a 2-0 lead before Smith and Zawacki won five consecutive games. But the Thompsons tied the match at 5-5 and, after the Duke pair won the following game, took three straight to finish the match. The twins are 16-8 this season, including 7-3 in dual matches at No. 1. They have won five of their last six matches. Zawacki is ranked fifth in the current ITA national doubles rankings, along with Johnson, but the pair has since been split up.
Duke used late runs to take the bottom two doubles contests in jumping out to a 1-0 advantage. At No. 3, Notre Dame junior Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and sophomore Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) led 4-3 but then lost five of the next six games as Kristen Cargill, Ansley’s sister, and Jennifer Zika went on to an 8-4 victory.
Johnson and Saras Arasu led 5-4 over Salas and sophomore Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) at No. 2 before winning the final three games to clinch the doubles point. The Irish pair has dropped three straight after a seven-match winning streak.
Notre Dame dropped the doubles point for the second match in a row after taking a 1-0 lead in each of the previous seven matches.
Cargill was the first off the court in singles, defeating Sarah Jane Connelly 6-0, 6-4 at No. 6. Smith put the Blue Devils within a point of victory by topping Lauren Connelly 7-5, 6-2 at No. 4. Connelly has lost three straight following an eight-match winning streak.
Zika delivered the clinching blow with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Christian Thompson at No. 2.
After the outcome was determined, Zawacki improved to 17-5 this season with a 7-5, 6-3 upset of #84 Catrina Thompson at No. 3. Thompson has lost back-to-back matches following a seven-match winning streak.
Arasu then beat Stastny 7-5, 7-5 at No. 5 to snap the Irish sophomore’s four-match winning streak and move to 13-6 in 2003-04.
Following a 5-2 defeat against #17 Illinois last Thursday, Notre Dame has lost two matches in a row for the first time in more than a year. The last time the Irish lost back-to-back contests was Feb. 21-24 of last season, when they fell to #1 Duke (5-2), at #11 Tennessee (4-3), and at #25 Kentucky (4-3).
Duke has won all 11 all-time meetings with Notre Dame.
The Irish spring break trip to Hawaii culminates on Saturday with a match against #36 Tennessee at 10 a.m.
#6 Duke 6, #18 Notre Dame 1
No. 1: #13 Alicia Salas (ND) d. #5 Amanda Johnson (D) 2-6, 6-1, 6-3
No. 2: *Jennifer Zika (D) d. Christian Thompson 6-3, 6-4
No. 3: Tory Zawacki (D) d. #84 Catrina Thompson 7-5, 6-3
No. 4: Julia Smith (D) d. Lauren Connelly (ND) 7-5, 6-2
No. 5: Saras Arasu (D) d. Kristina Stastny (ND) 7-5, 7-5
No. 6: Kristen Cargill (D) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 6-0, 6-4
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 2*, 3, 5, 1
No. 1: #37 Thompson/Thompson (ND) d. Smith/Zawacki (D) 8-6
No. 2: *Arasu/Johnson (D) d. L. Connelly/Salas (ND) 8-4
No. 3: Cargill/Zika (D) d. S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) 8-4
Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1