May 24, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame women’s tennis senior captain Kelly Zalinski, head coach Jay Louderback and assistant coach Liz Barker have been named winners of Intercollegiate Tennis Association awards from the Midwest region for NCAA Division I women’s tennis. Zalinski has received the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship, while Louderback has been selected as the regional coach of the year and Barker the regional assistant coach of the year. The Irish matched their best season ever in Louderback’s 11 season with a 23-7 record in 2000, their third consecutive 20-win season and fourth in the last five years and fourth trip to the NCAA national team championships in the last eight years.
Zalinski is the first Notre Dame player to win the regional Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship, which is presented to a women’s player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team and has enhanced her team’s performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis. She has graduated from Notre Dame with Irish career records for singles wins (123), combined singles and doubles wins (214) and dual-match singles wins (81). Kelly Zalinski also was awarded Notre Dame’s Francis Patrick O’Connor Award, which is presented upon nomination of head coaches and is given to one male and one female student-athlete who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspiration to their teams and possess such characteristics as caring, courage, confidence, encouragement, humility, honesty, humor, kindness and patience.
Louderback has been named Midwest region coach of the year for the third time in his 11 years at Notre Dame and for the third time in the last six seasons. Louderback has led the Irish to a first-place finish in the region this year for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in the last five years. The Irish have won 34 straight matches against regional opponents in regular-season matches dating back to 1996 and have an overall record of 39-3 against Midwest Region opponents since the start of the 1996. The Irish were 9-0 against regional opponents this season, winning those matches by a combined score of 67-9.
Barker, who has finished her third season at Notre Dame as an assistant coach under Louderback, is the first Irish women’s tennis assistant coach to earn regional assistant coach-of-the-year honors. In addition to her on-court coaching and assistance with recruiting, the former Wake Forest All-American has handled many of the behind-the-scene administrative duties for the Notre Dame women’s tennis program.