May 9, 1997

Notre Dame Tennis Defeats Illinois 5-3 in Midwest Regional

First Round: No 2 Notre Dame 5, Illinois 3
No. 1 – Jennifer Hall (ND) def. Susanne Land 6-2, 6-1
No. 2 – Marisa Velasco (ND) def. Stacy Schapiro 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
No. 3 – Tiffany Gates (ND) def. Kara Loffelmacher 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
No. 4 – Kelly Zalinski (ND) def. Allison Gottlieb 6-0, 6-1
No. 5 – Kelley Olson (IL) def. Jessica Klapper 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
No. 6 – Darcie Sweet (IL) def. Lindsey Bruce (IL) 6-3, 0-6, 7-5

No. 1 – Gates/Sarah Scaringe (IL) def. Klapper/Land 8-1
No. 2 – Velasco/Zalinski (ND) def. Bruce/gottlieb 8-3
No. 3 – Courtney Haskell/Olson vs. Schapiro/Loffelmacher susp.

Notre Dame Head Coach Jay Louderback
“Every time we play Illinois it is a tough match. They always play well against us and today was no exception. There were a lot of momentum changes when we went up 4-0 and they cut it to 4-2 and then 4-3.”

On the match: “This match was a flash back to our San Diego State match (a 5-4 Notre Dame loss on March 15). We went up 4-0 and then lost the last two singles matches and all three doubles. I kept having flashbacks to that match today.”

On the play of Marisa Velasco and Kelly Zalinski: “With Kelly and Marisa, we just have to keep them loose because Kelly is a freshman. The key for them is to return serve because when they return well, they play well. They didn’t hit one return in the court when they went down 1-3 but then we told not to try to hit the ball really hard but to just get it in play. They did that and it worked.”

Notre Dame player Kelly Zalinski
On the 4-0 lead: “After we went up 4-0, we thought we would pull it out in singles but Illinois played well at five and six singles to send the match into doubles.”

On the match going down to doubles: “When it came down to doubles, it was a surprise to us but it was also fun. Marisa and I knew that one point was all it would take so we didn’t focus the other matches, we just concentrated on our match and that helped us get fired up.”

Illinois Head Coach Jennifer Roberts
“We are disappointed in the outcome but very proud of the effort. We came into the match thinking that we would need to pull out three of the singles matches to win. There were three three-set singles matches and we won two of them which isn’t bad for the underdog.”

On the doubles: “We’ve been tough all year in doubles. If we could have pulled it out in doubles, we could have won.”