May 15, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 12th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team did not drop a set in blanking UIC 9-0 on Saturday at the NCAA women’s tennis championship first round at the Courtney Tennis Center. The Irish rolled through the six singles match and won all three doubles to improve to 23-6 with their 12th-consecutive win, the longest winning streak since a school-record 20 match streak from 1979-81. Notre Dame advances to the second round on Sun., May 16, at 11:00 a.m., when it will face 38th-ranked Iowa. The Hawkeyes rallied from 0-4 to upset 19th-ranked Florida State 5-4 in a nearly five-hour match on Saturday afternoon.

The Irish dropped just 16 games in their six singles wins. Junior Kelly Zalinski picked up the first win with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Karen Liwanpo at No. 5 singles. Freshman Becky Varnum and Lindsey Green also posted wins. Senior Marisa Velasco beat Emina Curic 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3 singles to become just the second Irish player under 10th-year head coach Jay Louderback to win 100 career singles matches. Her career singles record at Notre Dame now stands at 100-45 and at 6-1 in NCAA singles matches.

Senior Jennifer Hall, the other Irish 100-match winner under Louderback, clinched the win with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Serena Xie at No. 2 singles. Tenth-ranked Irish sophomore Michelle Dasso beat Sara Jackson 6-0, 6-3 at No. 1 singles with the match already clinched. The team elected to play the doubles, and the Irish swept all three 8-2, 8-3 and 8-2. The Flames were making their first-ever NCAA championship appearance after earning an automatic bid by winning the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.

In the second first-round match at the Courtney Tennis Center, Florida State won used wins at Nos. 4, 6, 5 and 1 singles to jump out a to 4-0 lead before Iowa crept back into the match with a pair of three-set wins. Natalya Dawaf broke serve at 5-4 in the third set to claim Iowa’s first point after losing nine match points while losing a 5-0 lead in the third set in her 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 3 singles. Shera Wiegler then kept the Hawkeyes alive with her three-hour win over Nanette Duxin 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 7-5 at No. 2 singles. Toni Neykova and Wiegler won the final four games of the pro set at No. 1 doubles after falling behind 5-7 to tie the match at 4-4. Erica Johnson and Erin Wolverton held serve at 6-7 and 7-8 at No. 3 doubles to send the deciding match into a tiebreaker where they jumped out a 6-0 lead and held on for a 7-4 win in the tiebreaker to send Iowa into the second round.

Florida State falls to 0-5 in its five NCAA championship appearances. The Lady Seminoles’ last loss was to Wake Forest 5-4 in the ACC championship semifinals after also leading 4-2 following singles. Iowa has never beaten Notre Dame in four meetings, including an 8-1 loss earlier this season at Notre Dame.

#12 Notre Dame 9, UIC 0

Singles

No. 1: #10 Michelle Dasso (ND) def. Sara Jackson (UIC)  6-0, 6-3No. 2: #58 Jennifer Hall (ND) def. Serena Xie (UIC)     6-4, 6-1No. 3: Marisa Velasco (ND) def. Emina Curic (UIC)       6-0, 6-2No. 4: #75 Becky Varnum (ND) def. Jacki Farr (UIC)      6-2, 6-0No. 5: Kelly Zalinski (ND) def. Karen Liwanpo (UIC)     6-0, 6-0No. 6: Lindsey Green (ND) def. Alyson Stalzer (UIC)     6-1, 6-3

Doubles

No. 1: #8 Dasso/Hall (ND) def. Curic/Jackson (UIC)          8-2No. 2: Varnum/Velasco (ND) def. Farr/Xie (UIC)              8-3No. 3: Green/Zalinski (ND) def. Kim Harris/Liwanpo (UIC)    8-2

#38 Iowa 5, #19 Florida State 4

Singles

No. 1: #91 Alida Gallovits (FSU) def. Toni Neykova (I)          6-4, 6-4No. 2: Shera Wolverton (I) def. Nanette Duxin (FSU)    7-6 (2), 4-6, 7-5No. 3: Natalya Dawaf (I) def. Marina Raic (FSU)            4-6, 6-1, 6-4No. 4: Jessica Balbuena (FSU) def. Emily Bampton (I)            6-1, 6-3No. 5: Kia Asberg (FSU) def. Erica Johnson (I)                  6-1, 6-3No. 6: Ali Weber (FSU) def. Erin Wolverton (FSU)                6-1, 6-4

Doubles

No. 1: #38 Neykova/Wiegler (I) def. #47 Duxin/Gallovits (FSU)       9-7No. 2: Bampton/Dawaf (I) def. Balbuena/Raic (FSU)                   8-5No. 3: Johnson/Wolverton (I) def. Asberg/N. Carratala (FSU)      9-8 (4)