May 18, 2000
The 13th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis saw its season come to an end when fourth-ranked Florida defeated the Irish 5-0 on Thursday in the round of 16 at the NCAA championships at Pepperdine University. The Irish end their season with a 23-7 mark, matching the 1996 and 1999 teams for the best seasons for the Irish under 11th-year head coach Jay Louderback. The loss also concludes the third consecutive 20-win season for Notre Dame and its fourth in the last five years. Florida advances to the NCAA quarterfinals where it will meet Arizona State on Friday.
“I’m so proud of how this team competed today and throughout the whole season,” said Louderback. “Florida is a great team and it showed today. I am really pleased with the effort we gave today.”
The Gators, boasting a lineup of five ranked singles players, took a 1-0 lead when 58th-ranked Stephanie Hazlett beat Irish senior captain Kelly Zalinski 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3 singles. The loss concludes Zalinski’s career at Notre Dame with a 112-48 singles record and 80-31 record in dual singles matches, both Irish records for career victories. Florida took a 2-0 lead when 36th-ranked Baili Camino downed sophomore Nina Vaughan 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles. Thirtieth-ranked Jessica Lenhoff made it 3-0 when she defeated Irish sophomore Becky Varnum 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.
Julia Scaringe, sister of Irish senior Sarah Scaringe, put Florida ahead 4-0 when she beat Notre Dame freshman Katie Cunha 6-0, 6-3 at No. 6 singles. Florida’s 53rd-ranked Traci Green won the battle of Greens when she defeated Notre Dame sophomore Lindsey Green 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 singles. Traci Green led 4-2 in the first before Lindsey Green tied the set at 4-4, only to have Traci Green break serve at 5-4 to win the set. Lindsey Green served at 3-2 in the second set, but Traci Green won the final four games of the match to win the clinching match.
The only three-set match was abandoned after the Green win with Irish junior Michelle Dasso leading Florida’s eighth-ranked Whitney Laiho 2-1 in the third set and serving ahead by a service break. Dasso trailed 0-2 in the first set but won six of the final seven games of the set to win the first set 6-4. Dasso saved three break points as she served for the set at 5-3. Laiho used another early break of Dasso’s serve in the second set and then recorded another break at 5-2 to win the second set 6-2. Dasso jumped ahead 1-0 when she won on Laiho’s serve to open the set but lost her first service game of a set once again.
Dasso regained control of the set by breaking serve once again for a 2-1 lead, but the match was ended once Florida clinched the 5-0 win. The doubles competition also was not played.
#4 FLORIDA 5, #13 NOTRE DAME 0
No. 1: #27 Michelle Dasso (ND) vs. #8 Whitney Laiho (F) 6-3, 2-6, 2-1, abandoned
No. 2: #30 Jessica Lenhoff (F) def. Becky Varnum (ND) 6-2, 6-3
No. 3: #58 Stephanie Hazlett (F) def. Kelly Zalinski (ND) 6-3, 6-2
No. 4: #36 Baili Camino (F) def. Nina Vaughan (ND) 6-2, 6-2
No. 5: #53 Traci Green (F) def. Lindsey Green (ND) 6-4, 6-3
No. 6: Julia Scaringe (ND) def. Katie Cunha (ND) 6-0, 6-3