February 8, 1999

* Irish blank #58 Kansas State and #45 Oklahoma by 9-0 scores
* Dasso wins singles consolation at Rolex National Intercollegiate Indoor

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 16th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team blanked a pair of Big 12 teams in its most recent outing, winning 9-0 over both Kansas State and Oklahoma State. The Irish will play their first home dual matches of the year when regional rival Ohio State, Clemson and second-ranked Duke travel to the Eck Tennis Pavilion this weekend.

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame will have a busy weekend with three dual matches at the Eck Tennis Pavilion Fri.-Sun., Feb. 12-14, the first home matches of the year. The Irish will open with Ohio State on Friday at 6:00 p.m., play Clemson on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., and face Duke on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Notre Dame and Ohio have played nine times, with the Irish winning six times, including a 7-2 win a year ago at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Buckeyes will bring a 3-1 mark into the match and boast the seventh-ranked doubles team in the country in sophomores Kristy Dascoli and Briana Harris. Notre Dame and Clemson will meet for the eighth straight year with the Irish looking for their fifth consecutive win and sixth in the series.

DUKE TO RETURN TO NOTRE DAME: The second-ranked Duke women’s tennis team will return to Notre Dame on Sunday for a 10:00 a.m. match. The Blue Devils last trip to Notre Dame resulted in one of the finest moments in their history as they advanced to the championship match of the 1998 NCAA women’s tennis championship, held at Notre Dame. Duke beat Arkansas, Mississippi and second-seeded Stanford on its way to the final before losing to Florida. After leading Duke to the final with her play at No. 1 singles and doubles, Vanessa Webb advanced to the semifinals of the doubles tournament with Karen Goldstein and did not drop a set in winning the NCAA singles crown. Webb is one of six Duke singles players ranked among the top 100 players. In addition to the 12th-ranked senior, sophomore Megan Miller (15), senior Karen Goldstein (33), freshman Erica Biro (50), sophomore Kris Sell (55) and senior Kristen Sanderson (99) round out the talented Blue Devil lineup. Webb and Goldstein (14), Miller and Sell (32) and Sanderson and Biro (49) all are ranked among the top 50 doubles teams. The Irish have never beaten Duke in six meetings, trailing in the series 0-5. In 1994, Notre Dame and Duke were knotted in a 3-3 match in Durham when darkness halted the match.

IRISH LOOK TO CONTINUE MIDWEST DOMINANCE: Notre Dame hopes to extend its winning streak against Midwest region opponents when the Irish face Ohio State. The season-opening win over DePaul extended Notre Dame’s winning streak to 11 matches against Midwest opponents, dating back to a loss to Wisconsin in the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional. The Irish have rolled through their regional foes, building a 32-4 record against other Midwest teams since the ’95 season, including 25 wins against Big 10 teams.

KANSAS STATE, OKLAHOMA REVIEW: The Irish cruised to a 9-0 win over 58th-ranked Kansas State without the loss of a set at the Woodlake Racket Club on Sat., Jan. 30. Notre Dame took advantage of two walkovers by the Wildcats. Sophomore Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.), senior Jennifer Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.), senior Marisa Velasco (Chula Vista, Calif.), freshman Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and junior Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) lost just 10 games combined in Nos. 1-5 singles, while freshman Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) was the recipient of a walkover at No. 6 singles. Dasso and Hall won 8-4 over Eva Novotna and Martina Pospislova at No. 1 doubles, and Varnum and Velasco beat Natalia Farmer and Anna Pampoulova 8-2 at No. 2 doubles. Freshman Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) and junior Sarah Scaringe (Marietta, Ga.) had another walkover at No. 3 doubles. Notre Dame cruised to another 9-0 win over 45th-ranked Oklahoma without the loss of a set on Sun., Jan. 31. The Irish won swept every match for the second straight day, after beating Kansas State 9-0 on Saturday. Dasso, Hall, Velasco, Varnum, Zalinski and Green each won singles matches to lead Notre Dame. Hall won a tight 7-6, 7-5 match at No. 2 singles over Viviana Mracnova. Dasso and Hall, ranked 39th in doubles, won 8-4 over 21st-ranked Danielle Knipp and Viviana at No. 1 doubles. The teams of Varnum and Velasco and Vaughan and Zalinski also won their doubles matches.

DASSO WINS ROLEX CONSOLATION SINGLES: Michelle Dasso rallied from a first-round loss to win the singles consolation draw at the Rolex National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the third leg of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association collegiate grand slam. After Washington’s 22nd-ranked Kristina Kraszewski bounced Dasso 6-3, 6-3 in the first round, Dasso won three straight matches to win the consolation singles. She beat Arkansas’ 43rd-ranked Tara Reid 6-3, 6-1, USC’s 13th-ranked Ditta Huber 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) and Cal’s 32nd-ranked Amanda Augustus 7-6 (8-6), 3-2, retired. Dasso took advantage of another injury when Petra Gaspar of BYU-Hawaii could not play in the singles consolation final due to injury.

ITA RANKINGS: The Irish currently are 16th among the 75 teams ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association after finishing 1998 ranked 19th. Dasso, Varnum and Hall are ranked in the latest rankings released by the ITA on Dec. 8, 1998. Dasso is ranked 23rd after a preseason spot of 17, while Hall is ranked 100. Varnum entered the rankings for the first time after an impressive fall season and is tied for 51st place in the rankings.

Notre Dame also has two doubles teams ranked among the top 50 doubles teams. The duo of Vaughan and Zalinski teamed up for the first time this fall and entered the rankings at No. 37. Dasso and Hall are just behind at No. 39. Notre Dame is one of nine schools to have at least three singles players among the 100 ranked players and one of just seven to have at least two doubles teams among the 50 ranked teams.

SINGLES LINEUP SOLID: Notre Dame’s singles lineup has been nearly unbeatable this year as the Irish have compiled a 21-2 record in singles in their four dual matches. DePaul, Kansas State and Oklahoma did not win a singles match against Notre Dame. Pepperdine won just two singles matches before winning all three doubles to edge the Irish 5-4. Michelle Dasso, Jennifer Hall, Becky Varnum and Kelly Zalinski each have posted 4-0 records in dual meets in 1999.

IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The Irish, who finished 20-10 a year ago, will play 16 matches against teams ranked in the top 50 and 20 matches against all ranked teams and will welcome nine ranked teams to Notre Dame, including second-ranked Duke. BYU, Duke, Wake Forest and William & Mary, four of the 16 teams that came to Courtney Tennis Center for the 1998 NCAA championships, return to Notre Dame to face to the Irish this year.

FRESHMEN SPARK IRISH: Notre Dame’s freshman class of Berica Day, Lindsey Green, Becky Varnum and Nina Vaughan combined for a 38-22 record during an impressive fall season. Green, Varnum and Vaughan all saw action in Notre Dame’s first two matches of the season, the biggest immediate contributions for a freshman class since the 1993 freshman class of Wendy Crabtree, Holyn Lord and Sherri Vitale all played in the singles or doubles lineup in their first dual match.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 10th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 157-83 (.654) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 361-261 (.580) in 19-plus seasons of coaching. He has guided the Irish to NCAA championship appearances in five of the last six years, including a national quarterfinal appearance in 1996. His teams have finished among the top 20 teams in the country in four of the last six years and in the top 30 in all but two of his years at Notre Dame. The Arkansas City, Kan., native, and 1976 graduate of Wichita State has been named the ITA regional coach of the year twice in 1995 and 1998 and was named BIG EAST coach of the year after leading the Irish to BIG EAST championship titles in 1996 and 1997. His Notre Dame players have won All-America honors seven times in his nine years.

FALL REVIEW: Members of the Notre Dame women’s tennis team played in six tournaments in the fall and won six singles and doubles flights. Freshman Becky Varnum led the Irish in wins in the fall with 13 against just five losses. She advanced to the final of her first collegiate tournament at the Eck Classic before losing a three-set match to Marquette’s 26th-ranked Elisa Penalvo. Varnum advanced to the final of the No. 1 flight at the Buckeye Invitational and to the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Region championship before dropping a 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 match to Danielle Lund of Michigan.

Michelle Dasso played in three tournaments in the fall and advanced to quarterfinals of the T. Rowe Price National Clay Court Championships, the first leg of the ITA collegiate grand slam. At the second grand slam, she reached the semifinals of the Riviera All-American Championships consolations after a dropping her first round match to top-seeded Vanessa Webb of Duke. She won two matches before losing a three-set match to Marquette’s eventual champion Ana Fernandez at the ITA Midwest Region championship. She finished with a 6-4 fall record with two of her six wins against top 20 players, including a win over seventh-ranked Julie Ditty of Vanderbilt, and with all four losses coming to players ranked above her in the latest rankings.

Jennifer Hall played in four tournaments and compiled a 5-6 record against some of the top players in the country. Kelly Zalinski won No. 2 singles at the Buckeye Invitational, advanced to the consolation semifinals at the ITA Midwest Region championship and finished the fall with a 12-5 record. Kimberly Guy went 9-6 in the fall with a win over Sarah Scaringe in the final of her singles flight at the Wolverine Invitational.

Lindsey Green posted an 11-4 record and two losses to ranked players to begin her collegiate career. She won four matches to claim the No. 3 singles flight at the Buckeye Invitational. Green qualified for the ITA Midwest Region championship and advanced to the second round before losing to third-seeded Barbara Urbanska of Wisconsin 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Nina Vaughan went 10-5 with a win at No. 4 singles at the Buckeye Invitational.

The doubles pair of Vaughan and Zalinski went 6-3 in the fall to earn a national ranking of 37 with wins over eighth-ranked Brooke Hart and Danielle Lund of Michigan and 30th-ranked Jennifer Embry and Missy Wright of Purdue. The duo also advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA Midwest Region championship. Green and Sarah Scaringe (Marietta, Ga.) won the Eck Classic Blue Flight title and reached the quarterfinals of the ITA Midwest Region championship, beating 28th-ranked Shera Wielger and Erin Wolverton in the second round before losing to eventual champions and seventh-ranked Ana Fernandez and Elisa Penalvo of Marquette. The team of Dasso and Hall entered the fall ranked 18th in the country and advanced to the semifinals of the Riviera All-American championships qualifying and the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Regional championships.

Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings

Team        Release: Dec. 8, 1998 (Fall)This    Last    School                  TotalRank    Year1.      1.      Florida (8)             6502.      2.      Duke *                  4443.      4.      Georgia                 4374.      6.      California              4315.      3.      Stanford                427T6.     7.      Mississippi             416T6.     5.      Texas                   4168.      14.     UCLA                    4029.      11.     Wake Forest *           40110.     8.      William & Mary *        39411.     12.     Vanderbilt              39212.     10.     Arizona State *         38113.     20.     Southern California     37514.     16.     Arkansas                37315.     13.     Pepperdine *            36016.     19.     Notre Dame              35917.     17      Kansas *                35218.     9.      BYU *                   35119.     23.     South Alabama           34120.     22.     Virginia Commonwealth   33421.     33.     South Carolina          32622.     21.     Miami (Fla.)            32523.     24.     Kentucky *              32024.     18.     Arizona                 31425.     27.     San Diego State         312
* indicates Notre Dame opponents
Singles Release: Dec. 8, 1998 (Fall)This Last Name SchoolRank Rank1. 6. Zuzana Lesenarova San Diego2. 7. Martina Nedelkova VCU3. 9. Agnes Muzamel Mississippi4. 3. Mirela Vladulescu UAB5. 14. Anousjka Van Exel Tulsa6. 50. Marissa Irvin Stanford7. 28. Julie Ditty Vanderbilt8. 20. Vanessa Castellano Georgia9. 26. Elisa Penalvo Marquette10. 47. Mariel Verban Wake Forest11. 21. Cristina Popescu UCLA12. 1. Vanessa Webb Duke13. 31. Ditta Huber USC14. 18. Ivona Mihailova Mississippi15. 35. Megan Miller Duke16. 13. Stephanie Nickitas Florida17. 22. Dora Djilinova Fresno State18. 96. Ana Fernandez Marquette19. 71. Stephanie Hazlett Florida20. NR Francesca La'O California21. 74. Celeste Frey Mississippi22. 11. Kristina Kraszewski Washington23. 17. Michelle Dasso Notre Dame24. NR Traci Green Florida25. 87. Kris Sell KansasT51. NR Becky Varnum Notre DameT100. 23. Jennifer Hall Notre Dame
doubles Release: Dec. 8, 1998 (Fall)This Last Name SchoolRank Rank1. 2. Catlin/Castellano Georgia2. 47. Ondrejkova/Puflerova So. Ala.3. 12. Ashley/Irvin Stanford4. 10. Lehnoff/Nickitas Florida5. 7. Fernandez/Penalvo Marquette6. 2. Augustus/Jensen California 7. 13. Dascoli/Harris Ohio StateT8. NR Forney/Faucher TexasT8. 46 Van Rossum/Troch Will. & Mary10. NR Nedelkova/Teterina VCU37. NR Vaughan/Zalinski Notre Dame39. 18. Dasso/Hall Notre Dame