March 1, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 15th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team used a scrambled, but effective, doubles lineup to beat 12th-ranked Northwestern 6-3 on Wednesday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. After the teams split the six singles matches, the Irish raced to 8-2 wins at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles to clinch their sixth consecutive victory over the Wildcats. Notre Dame improves to 8-4 with the win and will face 33rd-ranked Ohio State on Thursday in Toledo, Ohio. Northwestern falls to 9-2 with the loss.
An injury to Irish junior Kimberly Guy forced the breakup of Notre Dame’s 16th- and 17th-ranked doubles teams. Junior All-American Michelle Dasso, who is ranked 17th in doubles with sophomore Becky Varnum, teamed at No. 1 doubles with freshman Katie Cunha — Guy’s partner as the 16th-ranked team in the country. Varnum and sophomore Nina Vaughan paired together for just the third time ever and rolled to an 8-2 win over Jennifer Lutgert and Leigh Weinraub at No. 3 doubles to give the Irish a 4-3 lead. Cunha and Dasso — playing together for the first time — beat 51st-ranked Colleen Cheng and Katherine Nasser 8-2 at No. 1 doubles to clinch the win. Notre Dame’s usual No. 3 doubles team of sophomore Lindsey Green and Kelly Zalinski won 8-5 over Lia Jackson and Marine Piriou at No. 2.
After falling behind 3-2, Notre Dame salvaged a split of the singles when Dasso outlasted Nasser 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7) at No. 1 singles in a match that last nearly three hours. Nasser led 4-2 in a seesaw third set before Dasso converted on her seventh break point of the game to trail just 3-4. She then held serve and broke serve again for 5-4 but Nasser broke back with Dasso serving for the match at 5-4. After both players won service games to send the set into a tiebreaker, Dasso built a 5-3 lead. Nasser rallied for 5-5 and saved match points at 5-6 and 6-7 before Dasso converted on her third match point to tie the match after singles.
The Irish had taken an early lead in singles when Varnum beat Shannon Duffy 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles. Cheng tied the match with a 7-6 (10-8), 6-2 win over Zalinski at No. 3 singles. Cunha — playing in just her second dual match in 2000 in replace of Guy — won the final five games of the match to beat Lutgert 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6 singles, after Lutgert had handed Cunha two of her three losses in the 1999 fall season. Piriou held off Green 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 at No. 5 singles to tie the match once again at 2-2. Jackson then beat Vaughan 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 4 singles to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead before Dasso beat Nasser at No. 1 singles.
#15 NOTRE DAME 6, #12 NORTHWESTERN 3
No. 1: #48 Michelle Dasso (ND) def. #50 Katherine Nasser (NU) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7)
No. 2: Becky Varnum (ND) def. Shannon Duffy (NU) 6-1, 6-2
No. 3: Colleen Cheng (NU) def. Kelly Zalinski (ND) 7-6 (10-8), 6-2
No. 4: #99 Lia Jackson (NU) def. Nina Vaughan (ND) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
No. 5: Marine Piriou (NU) def. Lindsey Green (ND) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
No. 6: Katie Cunha (ND) def. Jennifer Lutgert (NU) 6-4, 6-4
No. 1: Cunha/Dasso(ND) def. #51 Cheng/Nasser (NU) 8-2
No. 2: Green/Zalinski (ND) def. Jackson/Piriou (NU) 8-5
No. 3: Varnum/Vaughan (ND) def. Lutgert/Leigh Weinraub (NU) 8-2