February 14, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 16th-ranked Notre Dame womens tennis team jumped out to a 2-0 lead but lost a pair of tight three-set matches as second-ranked Duke rallied for a 6-3 win in a heated match on Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Blue Devils won four of six singles matches and two of three doubles matches to improve to 4-1 while the Irish fall to 5-2. Dukes Kathy Sell and Brooke Siebel beat Nina Vaughan and Kelly Zalinski 8-5 at No. 3 doubles to clinch the win.

Zalinski and freshman Becky Varnum remained perfect in seven singles dual matches this year with straight set wins, giving Notre Dame an early 2-0 lead. Zalinski trailed 50th-ranked Erica Biro 0-4 in the first set before rattling off the next 12 games for a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 5 singles. Varnum used a service break with 33rd-ranked Karen Goldstein serving at 5-6 in the first set for a 7-5, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles.

Dukes 1998 NCAA singles champion Vanessa Webb won the first match for the Blue Devils as the 12th-ranked senior beat 23rd-ranked Irish sophomore Michelle Dasso 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, handing Dasso her first dual-match defeat of the year and just the fourth in 34 career dual singles matches. Duke then tied the match at 2-2 when Kristin Sanderson beat Marisa Velasco 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) at No. 3 singles in match marked by numerous questioned calls in the second set. Velasco saved two match points serving at 5-6 and then lost three set points in the tiebreaker as Sanderson won five straight points to win the tiebreaker 8-6.

The Blue Devils took a commanding 4-2 lead with two three-set wins at Nos. 2 and 6 singles. Irish freshman Lindsey Green rallied from a 1-4 deficit in the third but had her serve broken at 4-5 as 55th-ranked Sell edged Green 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4 at No. 6 singles to put the Blue Devils ahead 3-2 in another match involving numerous questioned calls.

Duke then went ahead 4-2 when 15th-ranked Megan Miller rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 over Irish senior Jennifer Hall at No. 2 singles. This match also was marred by numerous controversial line calls by Miller, including calls coming with Hall serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set and serving at 4-4 in the third set. Miller saved a match point against her serve at 30-40 at 4-5 in the second set to beat Hall in a three-set match for the second time this year. Miller also edged Hall 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the consolation singles of the Riviera All-American championships.

The Irish won the first doubles match to cut the lead to 4-3 when Varnum and Velasco beat Miller and Sanderson 8-3 at No. 2 doubles. After Sell and Siebel won at No. 3, the 13th-ranked team Webb and Goldstein beat Dasso and Hall 8-4 at No. 1 doubles.

The second-ranked Blue Devils were the highest ranked team the Irish ever have faced at home. Duke was playing at Notre Dame for the first time since advancing to the championship match at the 1998 NCAA championships, which were held at Notre Dame. The Irish return to the court at the National Team Indoor tournament which will be played Thurs.-Sun., Feb. 18-21, at Wisconsins Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

#2 DUKE 6, #16 NOTRE DAME 3


No. 1: #12 Vanessa Webb (D) def. #23 Michelle Dasso                6-4, 6-1No. 2: #15 Megan Miller (D) def. #100 Jennifer Hall (ND)      4-6, 7-5, 6-4No. 3: #99 Kristin Sanderson (D) def. Marisa Velasco (ND)          6-1, 7-6 (6)No. 4: #51 Becky Varnum (ND) def. #33 Karen Goldstein (D)          7-5, 6-1No. 5: Kelly Zalinski (ND) def. #50 Erica Biro (D)                 6-4, 6-0No. 6: #55 Kathy Sell (D) def. Lindsey Green (ND)         6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4


No. 1: #13 Goldstein/Webb (D) def. #39 Dasso/Hall (ND)                  8-4No. 2: Varnum/Velasco (ND) def. Miller/Sanderson (D)                    8-3No. 3: Sell/Brooke Siebel (D) def. #37 Nina Vaughan/Kelly Zalinski (ND) 8-5