Feb. 9, 2002
MADISON, Wis. – The 13th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team dropped a 6-1 decision to #16 North Carolina Saturday in action at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center. The Tar Heels won the doubles point and five of six singles matches to improve to 5-1 this season (with the loss coming Friday to #2 Duke). Notre Dame (4-4) will be back in action next weekend in the Eck Tennis Pavilion, playing matches against sixth-ranked Tennessee Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and #36 BYU Monday at 4:00 p.m.
The Tar Heels took the doubles point, winning at each of the bottom two spots. Kate Pinchbeck and Julie Rotondi gained an 8-5 win at No. 2 and Lee Bairos and Kendall Cline won 9-7 at No. 3. Irish seniors Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) and Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.), ranked 29th nationally, registered an 8-6 win at No. 1.
In singles action, matches at Nos. 1, 3 and 5 were played first with the remaining three following. North Carolina took two of three in the first wave and swept three in the second. Marlene Mejia, ranked 11th in the preseason singles rankings, won 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) at No. 1, while 37th-ranked Kate Pinchbeck won 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3. Sophomore Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) avoided the shutout for Notre Dame and extended the match by gaining a 6-3, 6-2 victory at No. 5. Salas has an 11-0 career singles record in dual matches and has won her last 11 matches this season and 14 of her last 15. In the second wave of matches, 41st-ranked Julie Rotondi clinched the Tar Heel victory with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph at No. 2. After the outcome was determined, Aniela Mojzis won 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 and Lee Bairos gained a 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-8) victory at No. 6
The win marked the first for North Carolina over the Irish since 1991. The two teams will meet again in Chapel Hill, N.C. on April 2.
The USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships is the premier national team indoor tournament. It features 16 of the top teams in the country and has been held each year since 1988. The Irish have competed for nine consecutive seasons, finished in a fifth-place tie last year and have compiled a 12-15 overall record, highlighted by quarterfinal appearances in 1994, 2001 and 2002. Fourteen of the 16 teams are ranked in the top 21 of the current ITA national rankings and the field included six of the top seven teams nationally.
Notre Dame was 1-2 in this year’s USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Irish opened the tournament with a 5-2 upest victory over seventh-ranked USC on Thursday, avenging a home fall exhibition loss to the Women of Troy by the same score. Notre Dame won the doubles point and four of six singles matches to advance to the tournament quarterfinals for the second straight year. Highlighting the victory for Notre Dame were three victories over ranked opponents. Junior Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash.) and freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.), ranked 53rd in doubles, defeated the 24th-ranked team of Anita Loyola and Luana Magnani 8-6 after losing to the pair in the fall. Green posted a win over 91st-ranked Loyola in singles, while fellow senior Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) downed 34th-ranked Magnani 7-6, 6-3. It marked the highest-ranked opponent Vaughan has defeated in her career.
On Friday, Notre Dame fell 5-2 to No. 4 Vanderbilt. The 2001 NCAA finalist Commodores won the doubles point and four of six singles matches to improve to 11-0 this season. Green notched her second win over a ranked opponent in as many days, downing 97th-ranked Kate Burson 6-3, 7-5 at No. 3. Vanderbilt defeated second-ranked Duke 4-1 on Saturday and will face #5 Georgia Sunday afternoon in the tournament final.
#16 North Carolina 6, #13 Notre Dame 1
No. 1: Marlene Mejia (NC) d. #58 Becky Varnum (ND) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
No. 2: #41 Julie Rotondi (NC) d. Nina Vaughan (ND) 6-4, 6-3
No. 3: #37 Kate Pinchbeck (NC) d. Lindsey Green (ND) 6-4, 6-3
No. 4: Aniela Mojzis (NC) d. Katie Cunha (ND) 6-2, 6-2
No. 5: Alicia Salas (ND) d. Kristin Koenig (NC) 6-3, 6-2
No. 6: Lee Bairos (NC) d. Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-8)
No. 1: #29 Green/Varnum (ND) d. Mejia/Mojzis (NC) 8-6
No. 2: Pinchbeck/Rotondi (NC) d. #53 Connelly/Cunha (ND) 8-5
No. 3: Bairos/Kendall Cline (NC) d. Salas/Vaughan (ND) 9-7