Oct. 18, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team will take on USC Friday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion three weeks after the Irish opened their season. No. 7 singles will be played at 2:00 p.m., Nos. 4-6 singles at 4:00 p.m., doubles at 7:00 p.m. and Nos. 1-3 singles to follow. The Irish men’s tennis team will also take on the Trojans in a match played concurrently. The match result will not count in either team’s record, but all matches will count for individual ranking purposes.
The Eck Tennis Pavilion will be hosting four of the best tennis teams in the nation Friday. All four squads finished ranked in the top 20 last season, while both women’s teams finished in the top 10. The Trojans were 20-8 in 2000-01 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season before finishing the season ranked eighth. USC returns all six starters from that squad, making it a favorite to be among the nation’s elite again this season. The Trojans are led by a strong junior class, featuring two-time All-American Jewel Peterson, who is ranked 15th nationally in singles and fourth in doubles with classmate Tiffany Brymer in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association preseason rankings. Two other juniors, Maureen Diaz (45th) and Anita Loyola (89th), also hold singles rankings.
Notre Dame is also expected to be one of the nation’s top teams in 2001-02 after finishing 25-5 a year ago and advancing to the round of 16 for the second straight season. The Irish were ranked as high as fifth, the highest women’s tennis ranking in Notre Dame history. Returning six of the top eight players from that team, the Irish are expected to excel again this season.
Among the Irish and Trojans men’s and women’s squads, there are five All-Americans, 13 ranked singles players and six ranked doubles squads from four teams ranked in the top 20 a season ago.
GEORGIA INVITATIONAL: Notre Dame sent eight players to the Georgia Invitational in Athens, Ga. from Sept. 28-30. Senior All-American Becky Varnum (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won five matches including singles victories over #12 Anne Nguyen of Georgia and #56 Alena Jecminkova of Kansas State. Varnum and classmate Lindsey Green (El Cajon, Calif.) won three doubles matches and Green upset Kansas State’s #100 Petra Sedlmajerova in singles. Sophomore Emily Neighbours (Indianapolis, Ind.) was 2-0 in singles and combined with classmate Alicia Salas (Engelwood, Colo.) to win two doubles matches. Freshman Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla.) also won a pair of singles matches playing in her first collegiate event.
adidas INVITATIONAL: Two players traveled to Palm Springs, Calif. for the adidas Invitational from Sept. 28-30. Sophomore Caylan Leslie (Newport Beach, Calif.) lost in the first round to eventual champion Megan Bradley of UCLA. Leslie then won three singles matches to advance to the consolation final before losing to UCLA’s Lauren Fisher in a third-set tiebreaker. Leslie and senior Nina Vaughan (Corona del Mar, Calif.) reached the quarterfinals in doubles before losing to a UCLA team. Vaughan also won a singles match.
ITA RANKINGS: Three Notre Dame players are ranked in the ITA preseason rankings. Varnum, who garnered All-America honors in doubles a season ago, is ranked 48th in singles and 23rd in doubles, along with Green. Varnum and Dasso were ranked ninth in last year’s final doubles rankings. Vaughan is 61st in the preseason singles rankings. The team rankings are not released until January. Notre Dame finished 2000-01 ranked 10th nationally after being ranked as high as fifth — the highest ranking in the program’s history.