April 9, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Juniors Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) prevailed in three-set matches, keying a 4-3 upset victory for the 31st-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team (10-8) against #16 William & Mary (15-3) Saturday morning at the Courtney Tennis Center. Stastny came through in the final match on court with the score deadlocked at 3-3 to hand the Irish a win in their final home match of the season.
Notre Dame swept the doubles matches, then got a straight-set victory from sophomore Christian Thompson (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) in her return to singles action for the first time in nearly a month. The score was 2-2 with just a trio of three-set affairs left on the courts.
The final match was the No. 5 singles contest, where the Irish junior dropped the first set, but rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory against senior Kate Boomershine. Stastny lost the first two games of the third set, but then got back on serve and got the decisive break in the set’s seventh game. From there, she held serve and then broke again for the final margin, snapping a six-match losing streak for the Irish in matches that were tied 3-3.
Stastny has been Notre Dame’s most successful crunch-time player during her career, as she holds a team-best 7-5 record (2-2 this season) in three-set matches when the team outcome is still undetermined. It was just the second time in her career that she was in the final match remaining with the score tied 3-3. The first instance came in William & Mary’s last visit to Notre Dame (in 2003), when senior Nina Kamp registered the decisive win over Stastny, then just a freshman, by scores of 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 at No. 4.
The Notre Dame junior had dropped five of her last seven matches, but all of those had been at either Nos. 3 or 4, where she played while Christian Thompson was out due to injury. Stastny is 7-3 at No. 5 this season, as well as 19-11 overall and 10-8 in dual matches. She rallied to win after dropping the opening set for the third time this season and the eighth time in her career. Stastny improved to 26-13 in her career at home (9-4 in 2004-05) and snapped a three-match losing streak in outdoor play.
Connelly continued her recent strong play in tight matches, fighting off senior Amy Wei for a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory. The Notre Dame junior has now won three consecutive three-setters with the team outcome on the line, having previously come through against both UNLV and Purdue. She is 21-9 on the season, including 11-7 in dual action. Connelly has won three straight at home and is 11-3 on the season in home contests (26-13 career), as well as 10-3 in close matches. Wei, who has been ranked as high as 65th in the nation during her career, had been 11-3 on the season.
Notre Dame swept the doubles matches for the eighth time this season, winning the doubles point for the 15th time in 18 contests. Off first was the #4-ranked team in collegiate tennis, sophomore twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), who defeated Boomershine and Fuchs 8-6 at No. 1. The sisters improved to 21-4 this season, including 14-2 in dual-match action at No. 1. They are 8-1 at home and 9-1 outdoors in 2004-05. The Thompsons are 6-1 in matches decided by two games or fewer.
Sarah Jane Connelly and Stastny provided the clinching victory for the sixth time this season, overcoming a 6-3 deficit to prevail in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (7-1), against Yang and Lena Sherbakov. The Irish team is 22-7 this season, including 12-4 in dual action at No. 3. Connelly and Stastny have won four straight and nine of their last 11 matches and now stand 11-2 at home this season.
The Irish captain was playing the final home match of her career, which has seen her be a regular in Notre Dame’s lineup throughout. She was particularly effective when playing at the Courtney Tennis Center or Eck Tennis Pavilion, concluding with a 32-14 (.696) home mark in singles, as well as a 36-13 (.735) record in doubles action. She finished her career with nine consecutive doubles victories at home. The doubles-point-clinching victory was the 19th of her career.
Lauren Connelly and freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) completed the sweep, upsetting the 48th-ranked team of Wei and Megan Muth by an 8-4 score at No. 2. It was their first win over a ranked team while playing together, as well as the first in doubles in Buck’s young career. Connelly now has four career wins against nationally-ranked doubles squads. The pair improved to 23-9 overall and 12-6 in dual action at No. 2. They had previously dropped both of their matches this season against ranked teams, though both decisions were by 9-7 scores.
The victory made Connelly the 21st Irish player to register 70+ career wins in doubles, as she stands 70-29 (.707) in just under three years of collegiate action. The win also was her 45th in dual-match action (18 losses, .714). She holds a 27-10 (.730) career mark in home matches.
Christian Thompson returned to Notre Dame’s singles lineup for the first time in nearly a month, and she won 6-3, 6-1 against Lena Sherbakov at No. 3 singles. The Irish sophomore last played on March 10 against UNLV before sitting out of singles action for six consecutive matches due to a nagging knee injury (she played doubles in all but two of those). She improved to 10-7 on the season and is on a three-match winning streak. It was the 35th victory of her career (20 losses, .636). Thompson has now won six in a row outdoors (4-0 in 2004-05), and she continued the tradition of her No. 3 singles spot being the most indicative of Irish success this season. Notre Dame is 10-0 when winning there and 0-8 when dropping that match.
In the quickest singles match, Fuchs, currently ranked 122nd after being as high as 16th in the nation during her career, beat 37th-ranked Catrina Thompson 6-1, 6-0. Fuchs is 22-6 on the season and 15-2 in dual matches.
In a marathon two-set match, 62nd-ranked Muth edged #90 Buck 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) at No. 2. The Irish rookie rallied from 5-2 deficits in both sets, and held a 5-2 advantage in the first tiebreaker, but fell in the end. That match tied the team score at 3-3, putting the contest in the hands of the No. 5 players.
Yang claimed a three-set victory for the Tribe, outlasting Sarah Jane Connelly 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 at No. 6.
William & Mary was the highest-ranked team to fall victim to the Irish since a 4-3 win at #14 VCU on Feb. 13, 2004. Since that match, Notre Dame had dropped 4-3 decisions to top-20 squads on five occasions.
Each of the last three meetings between the schools – and six of 14 all-time – have been decided by 4-3 (or 5-4 under the previous format) scores. William & Mary prevailed by the score in both 2003 and ’04.
Notre Dame will jump back in action immediately, heading to #35 Indiana for a 10 a.m. (EST) contest on Sunday.
#31 Notre Dame 4, #16 William & Mary 3
No. 1: #122 Candice Fuchs (W&M) def. #37 Catrina Thompson (ND) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: #62 Megan Muth (W&M) def. #90 Brook Buck (ND) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5)
No. 3: Christian Thompson (ND) def. Lena Sherbakov (W&M) 6-3, 6-1
No. 4: Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Amy Wei (W&M) 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Kate Boomershine (W&M) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
No. 6: Lingda Yang (W&M) def. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 6, 4, 2, 5*
No. 1: #4 Thompson/Thompson (ND) def. Boomershine/Fuchs (W&M) 8-6
No. 2: Buck/L. Connelly (ND) def. #48 Muth/Wei (W&M) 8-4
No. 3: S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Sherbakov/Yang (W&M) 9-8 (7-1)
Order of Finish: 1, 3*, 2