Oct. 10, 2004
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Sophomore twins Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), the seventh-ranked doubles team in college tennis, fell just shy of delivering Notre Dame’s first-ever collegiate grand slam championship, as they lost in the title match of the Riviera/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Women’s All-American Championships Sunday morning at the Riviera Tennis Club. The Thompsons and the rest of the Irish will return to action next weekend, taking part in Notre Dame’s lone home fall tournament, the Eck Classic, from Oct. 15-17.
In the final, a pair of University of Florida freshmen, Whitney Benik and Lolita Frangulyan, put an end to the twins’ run by registering an 8-3 victory to claim the first national championship of the 2004-05 season. Benik and Fangulyan actually suffered a defeat last week in the final round of prequalifying for the event, but they gained a “lucky-loser” berth into the qualifying rounds and eventually were victorious in the main draw. The Florida rookies, who made their collegiate debuts in this tournament, are now 10-1 on the season.
The Thompsons, who came to Notre Dame in 2003 as the top-ranked girls’ 18-and-under doubles team in the United States, suffered their first defeat in seven matches this season. They were the first Irish duo ever reach the doubles final of a collegiate grand slam event. The Thompsons – who topped the #6, #1, and #11 teams en route to the final over the previous three days – are the second set of twins ever to reach the final of a collegiate grand slam. The Las Vegas natives were playing in just their second grand slam tournament. They were the first all-freshman team in Division I since 1998 to earn a berth in the NCAA Doubles Championship, reaching the round of 16 in May before falling in three sets.
The All-American Championships, the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships (to which the Thompsons have earned an automatic bid into the 16-team main draw), and the year-end NCAA Championships are college tennis’ three national championship events. The other leg of the collegiate grand slam, the T. Rowe Price National Clay Court Championships, was discontinued prior to the 2001-02 season. The Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships date back to 1983 and the famous Riviera Tennis Club has played host to the event since 1988.