Oct. 23, 2004
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Two Notre Dame doubles teams notched a pair of victories on Friday in the Baseline Tennis Center to advance to the round of 16 in the main draw of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Championships. Junior Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and freshman Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School) lost just two total games, while senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and junior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) also were double winners.
Buck and Connelly first defeated Sarah Andrews and Shelley Brady of Michigan State by an 8-1 score before winning by the same margin against Tayo Bailey and Shaden Dowiatt of Butler. The Irish pair is now 8-1 this fall, and they have lost two games or fewer on five occasions.
The elder Connelly and Stastny downed Brooke Beier and Shawna Zuccarini of Purdue 8-3 before topping the Michigan State team of Christine Bader and Keri Thompson by an 8-6 score. That Irish team also stands 8-1 on the season, and the veterans have now won 25 matches in their careers pairing together (in 40 total contests).
Notre Dame’s other doubles entrant, juniors Liz Donohue (Sioux Falls, S.D./O’Gorman H.S.) and Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg H.S.), lost 8-2 in the opening round against Hala Sufi and Stephanie Wooten of Purdue.
Donohue also took part in the final round of singles qualifying on Friday, but she lost 6-2, 6-1 against Iowa freshman Milica Veselinovic of Serbia.
Notre Dame’s success is further accentuated by the fact that its top doubles team, sophomore twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), is not taking part in the tournament, as they have already secured a berth in the 16-team main draw of the second leg of the collegiate grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, to which the Midwest Championships victor gains entrance. The Thompsons, ranked seventh in the nation, earned their spot by reaching the final of the first collegiate grand slam event of the season, the ITA All-American Championships.
Saturday will also feature the commencement of the singles main draw, which will feature six Irish players: the Connelly sisters, the Thompson twins, Stastny, and Buck.
The ITA Midwest Championships is an indoor singles and doubles tournament for the top players in the Midwest Region – which consists of every Big Ten Conference team but Penn State, as well as other area schools. It is one of eight regional tournaments taking place across the country this month. The event consists of main draws of 64 in both singles and doubles, with eight spots in singles reserved for winners of a 64-player qualifying bracket. The singles finalists and doubles champions earn automatic entry into the second leg of the collegiate grand slam, the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, slated for Nov. 4-7 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
ITA Midwest Championships
Singles Qualifying – Qualifying Round
Milica Veselinovic (Iowa) def. Liz Donohue (Notre Dame) 6-2, 6-1
Doubles – First Round
Sarah Jane Connelly/Kristina Stastny (ND) def. Brooke Beier/Shawna Zuccarini (Purdue) 8-3
Hala Sufi/Stephanie Wooten (Purdue) def. Donohue/Jennifer Smith (ND) 8-2
Brook Buck/Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Sarah Andrews/Shelley Brady (Michigan State) 8-1
Doubles – Second Round
S.J. Connelly/Stastny (ND) def. Christine Bader/Keri Thompson (Michigan State) 8-6
Buck/L. Connelly (ND) def. Tayo Bailey/Shaden Dowiatt (Butler) 8-1