March 17, 1999

  • Notre Dame falls to #13 Arizona State, beat #23 Kansas
  • Hall nearing school record for singles wins

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 14th-ranked Notre Dame women’s tennis team split a pair of road matches last week over spring break, losing to Arizona State and beating Kansas. The Irish return home to face #53 Iowa and #58 Michigan.

THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH: Notre Dame will take on Iowa and Michigan in a pair of home matches. The Irish and Hawkeyes will square off on Sat., March 20 at 11:00 a.m., at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in their first meeting since 1991. Notre Dame has won all three previous meetings with Iowa, dating back to an 8-1 win in 1985. Iowa is ranked 53rd in the latest rankings and is led by freshman Toni Neykova, ranked 97th in singles.

Notre Dame and Michigan will meet for the 17th time on Wed., March 24, at 4:00 p.m. The Irish lead the all-time series with the Wolverines by a 9-7 margin and has won the last four meetings and seven of the last eight matchups. The Irish won 5-4 matches in 1995, 1997 and 1998, while the Wolverines only victory over Notre Dame since 1990 was a 5-4 win in 1994. Michigan currently is ranked 58th and has a 3-5 record before two matches this weekend against Houston and Marquette. Wolverine junior Danielle Lund is 78th in singles and 21st in doubles with Brooke Hart.

IRISH LOOK TO EXTEND MIDWEST DOMINANCE: Notre Dame has the chance to extend its winning streak against Midwest region opponents to 15 matches against Iowa and Michigan. The Irish have won 13 consecutive matches against other Midwest teams, a streak that dates back to a loss to Wisconsin in the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional. The Irish have rolled through their regional foes, building a 35-4 record against other Midwest teams since the ’95 season, including 28 wins against Big 10 teams.

HALL APPROACHES RECORD: Senior two-time All-American Jennifer Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) has the Notre Dame record for career singles wins within sight after two wins over spring break to up her career record to 104-55. She stands just three wins behind the 107 singles matches Mary Colligan won from 1982-86. Hall became the first Irish player to reach 100 wins under head coach Jay Louderback on Feb. 19, when she beat UCLA’s Annica Cooper 7-5, 6-3.

ARIZONA STATE, KANSAS RECAP: Notre Dame’s first outdoor match of the year unfolded into its worst loss of the season as 13th-ranked Arizona State handed the Irish an 8-1 loss. Senior All-American Jennifer Hall won the only match for the Irish, beating Karin Palme 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 singles. The Sun Devils won five of six singles and swept the doubles for the win. Arizona State won four singles matches in straight sets, including 64th-ranked Allison Bradshaw’s 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over 11th-ranked Michelle Dasso at No. 1 singles. The Sun Devils also won a three-set match at No. 3 singles. Notre Dame held leads at both Nos. 1 and 2 doubles but let both slip away in 8-6 losses in addition to an 8-2 loss at No. 3 doubles.

The Irish rebounded from the Arizona State match to beat 23rd-ranked Kansas 8-1 on Saturday in Lawrence. The Irish won five of six singles matches and swept the doubles to improve to 9-5 on the season. Hall improved to 12-2 in dual matches with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over Brooke Chiller at No. 2 singles. Eleventh-ranked Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, Ill.) beat Kansas’ 15th-ranked Kris Sell 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 1 singles. Marisa Velasco (Chula Vista, Calif.) and Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won straight set matches at Nos. 3 and 4 singles for the Irish. Kelly Zalinski (Greer, S.C.) held on for a 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win at No. 5 singles for the Irish. Kansas’ only point came when Lisa Mallaiah rallied to beat Kim Guy (Portola Valley, Calif.) 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 at No. 6 singles. The sixth-ranked doubles team of Dasso and Hall beat 33rd ranked Sell and Mallaiah 8-3 at No. 1 singles. The teams of Varnum and Velasco and Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) and Zalinski also won for the Irish.

HALL HONORED AT USTA/ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR: Jennifer Hall was selected as the recipient of the USTA Sportsmanship Award by the 16 coaches participating in the event. Hall is the second Notre Dame player to win the award, following 1994 winner Wendy Crabtree.

SINGLES LINEUP SOLID: Only three teams have beaten the Irish singles lineup in 1999, top-ranked Florida, second-ranked Duke and 13th-ranked Arizona State. Against the Blue Devils, the Irish had won two of four matches before losing two three-set matches 6-4 in the final sets. Notre Dame won four of six singles matches against 15th-ranked Pepperdine, 13th-ranked USC, 32nd-ranked Northwestern and ninth-ranked Wake Forest and split six matches with eighth-ranked UCLA. The Irish won five singles matches against Ohio State and Kansas and swept Clemson, Oklahoma, Kansas State and DePaul. Overall, the Irish are 56-27 in singles in dual matches.

IRISH IN THE RANKINGS: Notre Dame is one of just seven schools with three singles players ranked in the top 60 in the latest rankings released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Sophomore Michelle Dasso stands, while freshman Becky Varnum is 47th and senior Jennifer Hall 54th. The doubles team of Dasso and Hall are ranked in the top 10 at sixth. As a team, the Irish are 14th among the 75 teams ranked.

VARNUM, ZALINSKI TOUGH TO BEAT: The middle of Notre Dame’s singles lineup has been solidified by the play of Becky Varnum and Kelly Zalinski. Each have compiled 10-4 singles records in dual matches in 1999 with Varnum playing at No. 4 singles and Zalinski at No. 5. Overall, Varnum is 23-9 in singles and Zalinski 22-9.

DASSO TOUGH IN DUAL MATCHES: Michelle Dasso has been tough to beat in dual singles matches in her short career, amassing a 34-7 record and a 10-4 mark in 1999. She won her first 20 dual matches as a freshman in a streak that included wins over M.C. White of Florida and Christina Moros of Texas. Dasso ended her freshman season with a 24-3 dual match record.

HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Jay Louderback is in his 10th year as head coach of the Irish, compiling a 163-87 (.652) record at Notre Dame and a career mark of 367-265 (.581) 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.

DASSO/HALL DUO POST BIG WINS: The first-year doubles team of Michelle Dasso and Jennifer Hall moved to No. 6 in the rankings thanks to a number of recent wins. The duo went 3-0 at the USTA/ITA National Women’s Team Indoor, with wins over sixth-ranked Lehnhoff and Nickitas of Florida, eighth-ranked Basica and Cooper of UCLA and 19th-ranked Huber and Warkentin of USC. The duo also beat seventh-ranked Dascoli and Harris of Ohio State for three wins over top 10 teams in the last month. Dasso and Hall are 10-4 in dual matches and 15-6 overall.

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.

FRESHMEN SPARK IRISH: Notre Dame’s freshman class of Berica Day (San Antonio, Texas), Lindsey Green, Becky Varnum and Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) 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.

IRISH FACE TOUGH SLATE: The Irish, who finished 20-10 a year ago, will play at least 22 matches against ranked teams and nine ranked teams at home. 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. All five of Notre Dame’s losses have come against higher ranked teams.

Irish Recordbook

Senior All-American Jennifer Hall remains on pace to break Irish records for career singles wins and combined singles and doubles wins set in 1986.

Jennifer Hall (1995-)        Mary Colligan (1982-86)Singles:  104 (29 wins/yr.)  Singles:  107 (27/yr.)Doubles:   80 (21 wins/yr.)  Doubles:   88 (22/yr.)Combined: 184 (50 wins/yr.)  Combined: 195 (49/yr.)

Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings

Team        This  Last School            TotalRank  Year  1.    1. Florida *         375  2.    2. Duke *            370  3.    3. Georgia           365  4.    4. California        360  5.    5. Stanford          355  6.    6. Texas             349    7.   10. William & Mary *  341  8.   11. Vanderbilt        340  9.    6. Mississippi       339 10.    8. UCLA *            329 11.   13. USC *             326 12.   15. Pepperdine *      315 13.   12. Arizona State *   313 14.   16. Notre Dame        309 15.   21. South Carolina    308 16.    9. Wake Forest *     307 17.   14. Arkansas          306 18.   23. Kentucky *        284 19.   20. VCU               281 20.   26. Tennessee *       279T21.   42. Washington        263T21.   38. Fresno State      263T23.   17. Kansas *          262T23.   25. Arizona           262 25.   19. South Alabama     254
* indicates Notre Dame opponents

Singles

This  Last Name                    SchoolRank  Rank  1.    1. Zuzana Lesenarova       San Diego  2.    2. Marissa Irvin           Stanford  3.    5. Vanessa Webb            Duke  4.    4. Agnes Muzamel           Mississippi    5.    9. Teryn Ashley            Stanford  6.    6. Mariel Verban           Wake Forest  7.    3. Marissa Catlin          Georgia  8.    8. Anousjka Van Exel       Tulsa  9.   13. Cristina Popescu        UCLA 10.    7. Dora Djilinova          Fresno State 11.   10. Michelle Dasso          Notre Dame 12.   12. Mirela Vladulescu       UAB 13.   27. Lioudmila Skavronskaia  Miami 14.   25. Anita Kurimay           CaliforniaT15.   60. Whitney Laiho           FloridaT15.   18. Kris Sell               Kansas 17.   16. Kristina Kraszewski     Washington 18.   17. Celeste Frey            Mississippi 19.   48. Stephanie Hazlett       Florida 20.   14. Julie Ditty             Vanderbilt 21.   15. Elisa Penalvo           Marquette 22.   11. Vanessa Castellano      Georgia 23.   NR  Sandy Sureephong        Texas 24.   21. Traci Green             Florida 25.   30. Baili Camino            Florida 47.  T40. Becky Varnum            Notre Dame 54.   93. Jennifer Hall           Notre Dame

Doubles

This  Last Name                    SchoolRank  Rank  1.    1. Catlin/Castellano       Georgia  2.    2. Ashley/Irvin            Stanford  3.    3. Augustus/Jensen         California   4.    4. Goldstein/Webb          Duke  5.    6. Lehnoff/Nickitas        Florida  6.   22. Dasso/Hall              Notre Dame  7.    5. Ondrejkova/Puflerova    So. Ala.  8.    9. Eberle/Frey             Mississippi  9.    8. Basica/Cooper           UCLA 10.    7. Fernandez/Penalvo       Marquette