April 10, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – For the second day in a row, junior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) came through with a three-set victory in the final match on court to give the 31st-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (11-8) a 4-3 victory. On Sunday morning, she delivered the final blow against #35 Indiana (11-9) at the IU Varsity Tennis Courts to hand the Irish their first three-match winning streak of the season.
Notre Dame won the doubles point and then got straight-set victories in the two quickest singles matches to go ahead 3-0. The Hoosiers rallied, notching one two-set win and a pair of three-set triumphs to even the score at 3-3, putting the match in the hands of the No. 5 players, Stastny and IU freshman Brianna Williams.
The Irish junior won the first set, but Williams struck back, extending the match and keeping her team’s hopes alive. But Stastny prevailed in a tight final frame for a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory, her team-leading fifth match-clinching win of the season. Stastny continued to be Notre Dame’s most successful crunch-time player, as she now holds a team-best 8-5 career record (3-2 this season) in three-set matches when the team outcome is still undetermined, including a 2-1 mark when the team score is tied 3-3, and she is in the only match left. On Saturday, she came back from dropping the opening set to defeat Kate Boomershine 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to give Notre Dame a 4-3 home upset of #16 William & Mary.
Stastny has singlehandedly reversed Irish fortunes in tight matches. Prior to this weekend, Notre Dame had lost eight consecutive 4-3 matches, including six straight that were 3-3 with a single match remaining. The Irish now stand 4-4 this season in contests that were undecided with only three-set matches remaining on the court, having previously topped both UNLV and Purdue in that situation.
Prior to this weekend, the St. Louis native had dropped five of her last seven matches, but all of those had been at either Nos. 3 or 4, where she played while sophomore Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) was out due to injury. Stastny is now 8-3 at No. 5 singles this season, as well as 20-11 overall and 11-8 in dual matches. She won outdoors for the second day in a row after having dropped three straight prior to that. Stastny, who also had lost four consecutive close matches before her heroics this weekend, is now 3-2 this season in three-set affairs and 17-2 when taking the opening set. She moved to 10-3 against Midwest Region opponents (30-13 career).
This weekend marked just the fourth time in the 29-year history of the program – and first since winning 4-3 at #24 Northwestern on March 2, 1997, and then prevailing 5-4 at home against #17 Michigan five days later – that Notre Dame won consecutive matches that were both decided by just a single point. It was just the second time the Irish pulled that feat off on consecutive days, with the first coming when Notre Dame won 5-4 at Miami (Ohio) on April 15, 1984, and then triumphed by the same score a day later at home against Michigan State. Stastny is the only Irish player ever to win three-set matches in consecutive Notre Dame one-point victories.
Irish sophomore twins Christian and Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) were victorious in both singles and doubles, while junior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) combined for a win in doubles.
Notre Dame won at the top two positions to claim the doubles point for the sixth straight match and 16th time in 19 contests this season. First done were Buck and Connelly, who beat Williams and Laura McGaffigan 8-2 at No. 2. The teams had matched up in last fall’s Indiana Invitational, which produced exactly the same result. Buck and Connelly won their third in a row to improve to 24-9 on the season, including 13-6 in dual action at No. 2. They are 14-5 in road matches and 11-4 against the Midwest Region.
The Thompson twins, ranked fourth in the nation, provided the clinching win for the fifth time this season, beating Sarah Batty and Dominika Walterova 8-6 at No. 1. The sisters have won four in a row and are 23-4 on the season, including 15-2 at No. 1. They have won six consecutive matches against Midwest Region foes (5-0 this season), dating back to last season and are 10-1 outdoors in 2004-05. The Thompsons remained strong in tight matches, improving to 7-1 in tilts decided by two games or fewer.
Notre Dame nearly swept the doubles for the third consecutive match, but Dora Vastag and Cecile Perton notched a tiebreaker triumph over Stastny and senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) at No. 3, 9-8 (7-3). The Irish team had been 3-0 in tiebreakers during their careers.
Christian Thompson was the quickest winner in singles, defeating McGaffigan 7-5, 6-0 at No. 3. It was her second win in as many days after being out of the singles lineup for nearly a month due to a nagging knee injury. Thompson has now won four straight, dating back to February, and is 11-7 on the season, including 8-5 in dual action at No. 3. She also has now won seven in a row outdoors, dating back to last season (5-0 in 2004-05).
Catrina Thompson, ranked 37th in the nation, dropped just three games in registering her ninth victory (in 16 matches) over a nationally-ranked player this season. She beat #101 Vastag 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 to make the score 3-0. Thompson has won five of her last six and is 19-7 on the season, including 13-6 in her first season at No. 1 singles. She continued to establish herself as one of the top players in the Midwest Region, as she is now 9-1 vs. regional foes this season, including six consecutive victories. Thompson’s lone defeat came last fall against Wisconsin’s Katie McGaffigan, whom she downed 6-2, 6-2 in dual-match play last month. She also has now won 20 in a row when taking the opening set (17-0 this season).
Walterova got IU on the board, defeating Lauren Connelly 6-4, 6-3 at No. 4. Perton then topped the elder Connelly 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 at No. 6.
Buck, ranked 90th nationally, had a chance to end the match, but she fell in a third-set tiebreaker to Batty 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 2.
Notre Dame won in Bloomington for the fifth consecutive time and beat IU for the ninth time in the last 10 years.
The Irish are now 5-1 against regional teams this season, and they have five victories against top-35 squads.
Notre Dame will play its final two matches of the regular season on the road this week against Big Ten Conference opponents, as they visit #53 Illinois on Wednesday for a 3:30 p.m. (CDT) match before traveling to #2 Northwestern for a 3 p.m. (CDT) contest on Thursday.
#31 Notre Dame 4, #35 Indiana 3
No. 1: #37 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. #101 Dora Vastag (IU) 6-1, 6-2
No. 2: Sarah Batty (IU) def. #90 Brook Buck (ND) 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4)
No. 3: Christian Thompson (ND) def. Laura McGaffigan (IU) 7-5, 6-0
No. 4: Dominika Walterova (IU) def. Lauren Connelly (ND) 6-4, 6-3
No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Brianna Williams (IU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
No. 6: Cecile Perton (IU) def. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4, 6, 2, 5*
No. 1: #4 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Batty/Walterova (IU) 8-6
No. 2: Buck/L. Connelly (ND) def. McGaffigan/Williams (IU) 8-2
No. 3: Perton/Vastag (IU) def. S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) 9-8 (7-3)
Order of Finish: 2, 1*, 3