Feb. 28, 2000

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 15th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team begins a stretch of four matches in five days on Wed., March 1, against 11th-ranked Northwestern, before traveling to Toledo to play 34th-ranked Ohio State on Thurs., March 2. The Irish return home for a pair of match against 30th-ranked Iowa on Sat., March 4, and 21st-ranked Kentucky on Sun., March 5. Notre Dame finished 1-1 last weekend on its trip to North Carolina.

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame will face 11th-ranked Northwestern on Wed., March 1, at 4:00 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Wildcats enter the match with a 9-1 record after being Michigan and Michigan State over the weekend. Northwestern is led by senior Katherine Nasser who is ranked 34th in singles. Notre Dame has won five straight in the series that Northwestern leads 13-7 and is tied 7-7 since the Irish began play NCAA Division I play in 1985-86.

The Irish will travel to Toledo to take on 34th-ranked Ohio State at 6:00 p.m., on Thurs., March 2. The Buckeyes enter the match with a 7-1 record following a 4-3 win over Minnesota on Friday. Junior Kristi Dascoli is ranked 57th in singles, while sophomore Michelle Matko is 96th. Notre Dame leads the series with Ohio State 7-3 and has won the last four meetings.

Notre Dame returns to the Eck Tennis Pavilion to play 30th-ranked Iowa on Sat., March 4, at 1:00 p.m. The Hawkeyes enter the match with a 3-5 record following a 5-2 loss to Indiana on Sunday. Iowa is led by senior Shera Wiegler and sophomore Toni Neykova, who are ranked 21st in doubles. Notre Dame leads the series with Iowa 4-1 after the teams split a pair of matches last year. The Irish won 8-1 at the Eck Tennis Pavilion and then lost 5-4 in the NCAA second round at the Courtney Tennis Center.

The Irish wrap up the week against 21st-ranked Kentucky on Sun., March 5, at 12:00 p.m. The Wildcats enter the week with a 4-3 record following a 6-3 loss to 12th-ranked Mississippi and will travel to Purdue before facing the Irish. Sophomore Caroline Mayora and freshman Sara Witten are ranked 13th in doubles, while junior Brooke Skeen and freshman Leigh Bradwell are 36th. Notre Dame beat Kentucky 5-4 last year in Lexington to even the series between the teams at 4-4.

WEEK IN REVIEW: After escaping 28th-ranked North Carolina with a 5-4 win, the Irish nearly upset fifth-ranked Wake Forest before falling 5-4. Notre Dame won four singles matches and then won at No. 3 doubles to beat North Carolina 5-4 in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Saturday. Irish senior Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) and sophomore Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) clinched the win with an 8-4 win over Zalinski’s younger sister Courtney and Jessica Zaganczyk at No. 3 doubles. Notre Dame picked up singles wins at No. 1 singles and in the bottom half of the lineup, while North Carolina claimed wins at Nos. 2 and 3 singles. Junior All-American and 82nd-ranked Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over 83rd-ranked Marlene Mejia at No. 1 singles. Sophomores Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) and Green posted wins at Nos. 4 and 5 singles. Vaughan defeated 101st-ranked Kendrick Bunn 6-4, 6-1, while Green came back to beat Caroline Hill 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Junior Kimberly Guy (Portola Valley, Calif.) beat Courtney Zalinski 6-2, 6-1 at No. 6 singles.

The Irish split the six singles matches but won just one of three doubles matches in falling 5-4 at fifth-ranked Wake Forest on Sunday. The Demon Deacons won at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles to end a two-match losing streak against the Irish. Dasso, Green and Vaughan completed 2-0 weekends in singles on Sunday. Dasso beat seventh-ranked Wake Forest freshman Adria Engel 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 singles, while Vaughan rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Maren Haus at No. 4. Green won her team-leading ninth dual singles match with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over 57th-ranked Jackie Houston at No. 5 singles after trailing 2-5 in the first set. Wake Forest used wins at Nos. 2, 3 and 6 singles to send match tied 3-3 after singles. The Deacons posted wins at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles to clinch the victory.

DASSO IN DUAL MATCHES: Junior All-American Michelle Dasso continues to be one of the top singles players in dual matches during the Jay Louderback era at Notre Dame. She has compiled a record of 55-10 (.846) during her two-plus seasons at mostly No. 1 singles. Only six other Irish players have won more dual singles matches under Louderback, including 66 by senior Kelly Zalinski. Dasso has 22 of her last 25 dual singles matches at No. 1 singles, with the most recent of those three losses in that span coming to Stanford’s Marissa Irvin. Her most recent dual-match win came on Sunday when she beat Wake Forest’s seventh-ranked Adria Engel 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 singles.

ITA RANKINGS: The Irish stand 15th among the 75 teams ranked by the ITA — up two spots from 17th following a win over 12th-ranked William & Mary — after finishing 1999 ranked 15th. Junior Michelle Dasso is ranked 82nd in singles and 33rd in doubles with Becky Varnum. Freshman Katie Cunha and junior Kimberly Guy are ranked 17th in doubles. The next team and individual rankings will be released on Wed., March 1.

ZALINSKI APPROACHES SCHOOL RECORD: Senior Kelly Zalinski needs just nine more singles wins and 25 more combined singles and doubles wins to match Jennifer Hall (1995-99) for the most singles and combined singles and doubles victories in Irish history. Zalinski enters the week with 107 wins in singles and 77 in doubles for a total of 184. Hall compiled 116 singles wins and 209 singles and doubles. With five singles victories in the fall, Zalinski joined Hall and Marissa Velasco (1995-99) as the only Notre Dame women’s tennis players to win 100 singles matches under Jay Louderback.

IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: After facing six top-25 opponents already, the Irish are scheduled to meet at least 13 more ranked teams, including matches at sixth-ranked Pepperdine and 13th-ranked William & Mary. Notre Dame’s 10-match home schedule features five matches against Midwest region teams, BIG EAST rival Miami (Fla.) and 21st-ranked Kentucky. The Irish made their seventh consecutive appearance at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships in February. Notre Dame will defend its 1999 BIG EAST championship April 20-23, at Miami. The Irish are scheduled to play or have played seven of the top 13 teams, including five of the top 10.

GREEN CLINCHES WINS: Sophomore Lindsey Green has been a part of five of the seven wins matches that have clinched victories for the Irish in 2000. She has recorded three clinching wins in singles and two in doubles with partner Kelly Zalinski. Green leads the team with a 9-2 mark in singles in 2000, with wins at Nos. 3 and 4 singles and seven wins at No. 5 singles. She began the 2000 season with three wins at No. 5 singles in Hawaii against Hawaii, Duke and Washington. Green won four more matches in straight sets against Yale, Maryland, Illinois and William & Mary, including the clinching wins in Notre Dame’s last three of those four consecutive victories. She played her first three-set match of the season in winning at No. 5 singles against North Carolina. Green’s latest win was a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win against Wake Forest’s 57th-ranked Jackie Houston on Sunday.

Her singles record stands at 14-7 after her 5-5 mark during the fall season, which began with singles and doubles titles at the Indiana Invitational. Green and Zalinski have teamed for a 5-3 mark at No. 3 doubles including the clinching wins against Washington and North Carolina. Green teamed with senior Sarah Scaringe (Marietta, Ga.) for a win against Yale at No. 3 doubles. She already has won 41 doubles matches in her career, third most on the team behind Michelle Dasso and Zalinski.

VAUGHAN WINS TWICE: Sophomore Nina Vaughan, in her first season as a regular in the singles lineup, recorded her first career win over a ranked opponents when she defeated North Carolina’s 101st-ranked Kendrick Bunn 6-4, 6-1 at No. 4 singles on Saturday. Vaughan then rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Wake Forest’s Maren Haus at No. 4 singles to improve to 6-5 in dual matches and finish 2-0 in singles last weekend. A much improved player from a year ago when she was slowed by injury in the second half of the season, Vaughan has compiled an overall singles record of 10-10, with wins over Iowa’s Shera Wiegler and USC’s Veronika Safarova.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 11th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 184-93 (.664) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 388-271 (.589) in 19-plus seasons of coaching. His 1999 team won 23 dual matches, matching his ’95 Irish for Notre Dame’s most wins at the NCAA Division I level. He has guided the Irish to NCAA championship appearances in six of the last seven years, including a national quarterfinal appearance in 1996. His teams have finished among the top 20 teams in the country in five of the last seven 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, 1997 and 1999. His Notre Dame players have won 10 All-America honors in his 10 years.

IRISH INK TWO: Caylan Leslie and Alicia Salas, two nationally ranked junior players, signed national letters of intent in November to attend Notre Dame next year. Leslie, a native of Newport Beach, Calif., will bring much experience to Notre Dame with a United States Tennis Association national girls’ 18s ranking of 19. The lefthander currently is a senior at Corona del Mar High School, the same high school as Irish sophomore Nina Vaughan. Salas, a native of Engelwood, Colo., hails from Cherry Creek High School, a perennial tennis power in Colorado, and is ranked 76th in USTA national rankings. She enters her senior year having won three state singles titles and will be looking for her fourth state crown in the spring. Only current Irish sophomore Becky Varnum, from Colorado Springs, Colo., won four Colorado High School singles titles.

Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings

Release: Feb. 23, 2000

This Last School Avg.
Rank Rank
1. 1. Stanford * 525
2. 3. California 516
3. 4. Georgia 507
4. 2. Florida 505
5. T9. Wake Forest * 497
6. 6. Pepperdine * 487
7. 13. USC * 474
8. 8. Texas 468
9. 7. Duke * 467
10. T9. Arizona State 452
11. 18. Northwestern * 450
12. 5. Mississippi 448
13. 12. William & Mary * 442
14. 11. UCLA 439
15. 17. NOTRE DAME 437
16. 16. Vanderbilt 423
17. 14. South Carolina 418
18. 15. Tennessee 409
19. 19. Florida State 394
20. 20. South Alabama 393
21. 22. Kentucky * 385
22. 25. Arkansas 364
23. 23. Washington * 359
24. 26. LSU 358
25. 24. Fresno State 357

* indicates Notre Dame opponents

Other Notre Dame opponents

31. 27. Miami (Fla.) 312
28. 29. North Carolina 342
30. 32. Iowa 321
34. 33. Ohio State 304
42. 41. Kansas 226
43. 55. Indiana 222
44. 45. Illinois 218
50. 49. Wisconsin 175
51. 44. Maryland 175
54. 53. BYU 152
59. 66 Michigan 116
63. 64. Purdue 102