May 14, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 13th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team won four singles matches in straight sets and won at No. 3 doubles to beat 20th-ranked South Carolina 5-1 on Sunday in the NCAA second round at the Courtney Tennis Center. With the win, the Irish advance to the round of 16 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., for a match against fourth-ranked Florida on Thursday. The Gators beat Florida State 5-0 in the second round on Saturday. Senior Kelly Zalinski and sophomore Lindsey Green won 8-2 at No. 3 doubles to clinch the for the Irish, who improve to 23-6 with the win. South Carolina ends its season with a 16-12 record.
“We’ve had a great year and this was the one of the hardest played matches I’ve ever had a team play,” said Irish head coach Jay Louderback, who recorded his 200th win in 11 years at Notre Dame with the win. “It’s one of the best matches I’ve seen us play ever.”
“Notre Dame played well and they deserved to be in the sweet sixteen,” said South Carolina head coach Arlo Elkins. “They’re solid all the way down (their lineup).”
Notre Dame took a quick 3-0 lead with wins at Nos. 1-3 singles. Sophomore Becky Varnum need just 53 minutes to give the Irish a 1-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Jennifer Radman at No. 2 singles. Varnum dropped just three games in winning both of her singles matches this weekend. Zalinski, who won 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 against UIC in the first round, lost just three games in beating Leigh Eichelberger 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 singles. Junior All-American and 27th-ranked Michelle Dasso then downed 25th-ranked Katarina Markovski 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 singles for a 3-0 Irish lead. Dasso rallied from an early break of serve at 1-2 in the first set to build a 5-2 lead. She then led 4-1 in the second set before saving four break points at 4-3 to hold serve for a 5-3 lead.
South Carolina’s Tamara Sutton rallied to beat Green 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 singles for the Gamecocks’ first point. Sophomore Nina Vaughan then won a tight match over Kathy Boyanovich at No. 4 singles by a 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) score. Vaughan trailed 3-5 in both sets and saved a set point at 4-5 in the second set to send the set into a tiebreaker. Irish freshman Katie Cunha had three match points at 7-6 (8-6), 5-3 to seal the win but lost the next four games as South Carolina’s Lynn-Yin Tan sent No. 6 singles to a third set. The match would later be stopped with Tan serving at 5-3 in the third set after the team match was decided at No. 3 doubles.
Green and Zalinski recovered after Zalinski lost her service game to open the set by winning eight of the next nine games to beat Markovski and Sutton. The pair won the final five games of the set to provide the clinching win for the third time this season.
“It’s my first trip (to the round of 16) in four years,” said Zalinski. “It feels great. I would have liked to go the other years but it’s great that I’m finally getting to go my senior year.”
The Irish will make their first trip to the NCAA national site and the round of 16 since 1996. They finished with a 12-0 record at home this season, their first unbeaten home season since Louderback’s first year at Notre Dame in 1990.
#13 NOTRE DAME 5, #20 SOUTH CAROLINA 1
No. 1: #27 Michelle Dasso (ND) def. #25 Katarina Markovski (SC) 6-3, 6-4
No. 2: Becky Varnum (ND) def. Jennifer Radman (SC) 6-1, 6-1
No. 3: Kelly Zalinski (ND) def. Leigh Eichelberger (SC) 6-2, 6-1
No. 4: Nina Vaughan (ND) def. Kathy Boyanovich (SC) 7-5, 7-6 (3)
No. 5: Tamara Sutton (SC) def. Lindsey Green (ND) 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
No. 6: Katie Cunha (ND) vs. Lynn-Yin Tan (SC) 7-6 (6), 5-7, 3-5, abandoned
No. 1: #20 Dasso/Varnum (ND) vs. Eichelberger/Tan (SC) cancelled
No. 2: #51 Cunha/Kimberly Guy (ND) vs. Boyanovich/Radman (SC) cancelled
No. 3: Green/Zalinski (ND) def. Markovski/Sutton (SC) 8-2