Oct. 22, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team turned in a strong performance on Saturday in the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility in main draw singles and doubles action in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Championships. The Irish are one of just two schools (along with Northwestern) to have three players – senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and juniors Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – among the final 16 in singles, while ND and the Wildcats also are the only squads to have multiple doubles teams in the quarterfinals: Connelly and fellow senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) plus sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) and freshman Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.).
The surprise of the day was Connelly, who won a pair of tight three-setters to advance to the round of 16 in singles. After having posted a 3-5 mark heading into the tournament, she rallied from dropping the opening set to beat Reedhina Parekh of Western Michigan 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round. Connelly then won a third-set tiebreaker to upset the tournament’s 13th seed, 117th-ranked Beatrix Csordas from DePaul, by scores of 7-5, 0-6, 7-6 (7-3). It was the first upset of a ranked player by Connelly in more than two years, since beating #65 Amy Wei from William & Mary in the Kentucky Fall Classic on Oct. 3, 2003. The Irish captain has another challenge on the horizon, as she will take on fourth-seeded and 50th-ranked Alexis Prousis from Northwestern, who is 5-0 in her career against Notre Dame players, on Sunday.
Connelly and Stastny continued to roll in doubles, as they beat Sarah Andrews and Christine Bader from Michigan State 8-2 in the round of 16. The Irish seniors will next challenge the tournament’s No. 2 seed, the 19th-ranked duo of Sarah Batty and Laura McGaffigan from Indiana. Connelly and Stastny are 8-3 on the season and have lost just seven games in three matches in the tournament.
Buck and Tefft, who are ranked 60th in the nation, are the No. 4 seeds in the tournament, and they won 8-1 on Saturday against Carrie Jeanmarie and Malena Remynse of Western Michigan. Up next for them will be the Illinois squad of Macall Harkins and Brianna Knue.
Catrina Thompson, ranked 27th nationally and the No. 2 seed, dropped just five games in her first two matches in the singles draw. She beat Sonia Ruzimovsky from Ohio State 6-2, 6-1 and then downed Knue 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the final 16. The Notre Dame junior will next play Milica Veselinovic from Iowa, the 14th seed, who beat Stastny 6-3, 6-0 in the opening round.
Christian Thompson, the sixth seed and the only unranked player among the top 10 seeds, also had little trouble on Saturday. She beat Ida Malmberg from Minnesota 6-2, 6-0 in the opening round and then defeated Dunja Antunovic from DePaul 6-2, 6-4. Thompson will next face the region’s top rookie, Georgia Rose from Northwestern, who is the 11th-seeded player in the singles draw.
Notre Dame was the only school with seven players among the 64-player main draw (Indiana and Michigan had six each). Four Irish players fell in the opening round, but all of them bounced back for consolation victories. Tefft lost 6-2, 6-3 to Randi Schuler from Purdue, but then beat Michigan State’s Christine Bader 6-2, 6-1. Stastny came back to beat a player from Western Michigan 6-1, 6-0. Freshman Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) lost 7-5, 6-4 against Nazlie Ghazal of Northwestern, but then won 6-2, 6-7, 1-0 (10-3) against Malmberg from Minnesota. Buck, ranked 54th and seeded seventh, was upset 7-5, 6-1 by Debra Streifler from Michigan in round one, but she beat Iowa’s Hillary Mintz 6-4, 6-3 in consolation play.
The two singles finalists and the doubles champions in the ITA Midwest Championships will earn berths into the main draw of the season’s second grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The Thompson sisters – who are ranked #2 in the nation – are not competing in doubles since they have already guaranteed themselves a spot in the tournament by virtue of winning the title in the first grand slam of 2005-06, the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships.
ITA Midwest Championships (October 22)Singles - Main DrawRandi Schuler (Purdue) def. Kelcy Tefft (ND) 6-2, 6-3 - first roundNazlie Ghazal (Northwestern) def. Katie Potts (ND) 7-5, 6-4 - first round Christian Thompson (ND) def. Ida Malmberg (Minnesota) 6-2, 6-0 - first roundLauren Connelly (ND) def. Reedhina Parekh (Western Michigan) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 - first roundDebra Streifler (Michigan) def.  #54 Brook Buck (ND) 7-5, 6-1 - first round Milica Veselinovic (Iowa) def. Kristina Stastny (ND) 6-3, 6-0 - first round #27 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Sonia Ruzimovsky (Ohio State) 6-2, 6-1 - first round Christian Thompson (ND) def. Dunja Antunovic (DePaul) 6-2, 6-4 - second roundLauren Connelly (ND) def.  #117 Beatrix Csordas (DePaul) 7-5, 0-6, 7-6 (7-3) - second round #27 Catrina Thompson (ND) def. Brianna Knue (Illinois) 6-2, 6-0 - second roundKelcy Tefft (ND) def. Christine Bader (Michigan State) 6-2, 6-1 - consolationKatie Potts (ND) def. Ida Malmberg (Minnesota) 6-2, 6-7, 1-0 (10-3) - consolation#54 Brook Buck (ND) def. Hillary Mintz (Iowa) 6-4, 6-3 - consolationKristina Stastny (ND) def. (WMU) 6-1, 6-0 - consolationDoubles - Main Draw #60 Brook Buck/Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Carrie Jeanmarie/Malena Remynse (Western Michigan) 8-1 - round of 16Lauren Connelly/Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Sarah Andrews/Christine Bader (Michigan State) 8-2 - round of 16