Junior Catrina Thompson is the No. 2 seed in the ITA Midwest Championships.

Two Tiebreakers In Decisive Matches Send Irish To 4-3 Defeat Against USC

Oct. 15, 2005

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After nearly 10 hours of play, the women’s tennis match between the University of Notre Dame and the University of Southern California came down to a single tiebreaker at No. 2 singles, where Dianne Matias prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) over Irish junior Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) to hand the Women of Troy a 4-3 victory in exhibition action Friday in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. USC’s victory also was keyed by a tiebreaker victory in the final doubles match on court.

At 5-5 in the decisive tiebreaker, Thompson hit a big serve and followed it up with an even bigger forehand that Matias barely lobbed back. But when the Notre Dame junior tried to hit an even bigger overhead, she missed it long. Matias followed her serve to net on match point, made one volley and then celebrated when Thompson’s would-be pass hit the white tape and fell down into the net.

Thompson took an early advantage in the final set, but Matias came back and at 6-5, won the first two points on Notre Dame’s serve to stand just two more away from victory. But Thompson stormed back with four straight points to win that game and force a tiebreaker. The Trojan then went up 4-1 in it, but again her opponent stormed back, though Thompson never held the lead after 1-0.

Since it was played concurrently with the meeting between the schools in men’s tennis, an alternate schedule was used. The Nos. 4-6 matches started things off, and ND won at the bottom two positions there to take a 2-1 advantage. The doubles followed, and the Women of Troy took a tiebreaker at No. 2 in the final contest remaining to pull even at 2-2. USC then won two of the top three singles matches to finish off the match.

Luana Magnani, a senior who was ranked 15th nationally and played No. 1 singles the last time the Women of Troy visited Notre Dame, put USC ahead by defeating Irish rookie Katie Potts (Brookfield, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S.) 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 singles.

Notre Dame’s other freshman, Kelcy Tefft (Enid, Okla./Chisholm H.S.), tied the score at 1-1 with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph against Judy DeVera at No. 6. Tefft is now unbeaten in four collegiate singles matches. She has not yet dropped a set and has lost just 13 total games in eight sets this fall.

Senior Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy) put the Irish on top with an upset victory at No. 5. She defeated South African Carine Vermeulen, ranked 74th, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2.

The Women of Troy clawed out a point in doubles play, earning close victories at both of the bottom two positions. The point came down to a tiebreaker at No. 2, where Magnani and Amanda Fink prevailed 9-8 (7-5) over Tefft and sophomore Brook Buck (Yukon, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School). It was the first loss in either singles or doubles in Tefft’s young Notre Dame career.

The Irish duo of junior twins Christian and Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) – ranked #2 in the preseason before winning the title at the first grand slam of the 2005-06 campaign last weekend – won 8-3 at No. 1 over Vermeulen and Lindsey Nelson. Matias and Judy DeVera then beat Stastny and senior captain Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) 9-7 at No. 3 to put the point in the hands of the No. 2 teams.

Catrina Thompson, ranked 27th, wasted little time in singles, defeating 28th-ranked Anca Anastasiu of South Africa 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 to put ND up 3-2. Fink then knotted the score at 3-3 by upsetting 54th-ranked Buck 6-4, 6-0 at No. 3, leaving the match up to Matias and Christian Thompson.

The teams also played Nos. 7 and 8 singles matches during the afternoon, though they did not figure into the final dual-match score. Connelly won 6-1, 6-0 against Ashley Ellis at No. 7, and Ellis fell 6-0, 6-0 to Notre Dame senior Kelly Nelson (St. Petersburg, Fla./Shorecrest Preparatory School) at No. 8.

Notre Dame will return to action next weekend, taking part in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Championships from Oct. 20-25 at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

USC 4, Notre Dame 3Notre Dame, Indiana, Eck Tennis Pavilion (Indoors)SinglesNo. 1: #27 Catrina Thompson (ND) d. #28 Anca Anastasiu (USC) 6-2, 6-0No. 2: #60 Dianne Matias (USC) d. Christian Thompson (ND) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5)No. 3: Amanda Fink (USC) d. #54 Brook Buck (ND) 6-4, 6-0No. 4: #74 Luana Magnani (USC) d. Katie Potts (ND) 6-1, 6-3No. 5: Kristina Stastny (ND) d. #91 Carine Vermeulen (USC) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2No. 6: Kelcy Tefft (ND) d. Judy DeVera (USC) 6-2, 6-2(No. 7: Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Ashley Ellis (USC) 6-1, 6-0)(No. 8: Kelly Nelson (ND) vs. Ashley Ellis (USC) 6-0, 6-0)Order of Finish: 4, 6, 5, 1, 3, 2*DoublesNo. 1: #2 Thompson/Thompson (ND) d. Nelson/Vermeulen (USC) 8-3No. 2: Fink/Magnani (USC) d. #60 Buck/Tefft (ND) 9-8 (7-5)No. 3: DeVera/Matias (USC) d. Connelly/Stastny (ND) 9-7Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2*