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Women's Tennis Sees Winning Streak Snapped By #7 Arizona State

March 14, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. – The University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team saw its Spring Break trip end on a sour note, as the 15th-ranked Irish fell to No. 7 Arizona State, 5-2, on Friday afternoon at ASU’s Whiteman Tennis Center. The Sun Devils pulled out a hard-fought doubles point, then won the first four singles matches off the court to take the victory. The loss snaps a three-match winning streak for Notre Dame (7-6), which has seen all six of its losses this year come to teams in the top 15 of the latest ITA rankings.

Sophomore Sarah Jane Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) and her sister, freshman Lauren Connelly (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness H.S.) provided the only bright spots for the Irish on Friday, logging singles wins at the No. 5 and 6 flights.

ASU (7-3) took the early lead in the match with some tough doubles play. The Sun Devils’ top tandem of Adria Engel and Lauren Colalillo, ranked 47th in the nation, opened up with an 8-5 win over the No. 1 Irish duo of senior captain Katie Cunha (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island H.S.) and freshman Kristina Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./St. Joseph’s Academy), ranked 27th in the country. Notre Dame responded in kind, as Lauren Connelly and junior Alicia Salas (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.) downed the No. 53 doubles team of Mhairi Brown and Cindy Sureephong, 8-6, at No. 2. That left matters in the hands of the third doubles match, with ASU’s Megan Yeats and Joslynn Burkett coming away with an 8-4 win over the Irish pair of junior Caylan Leslie (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar H.S.) and freshman Jennifer Smith (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg H.S.).

The Sun Devils then turned their attention to the singles competition, where No. 16 Engel ousted 51st-ranked Leslie, 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 1 flight. Arizona State went up three points when No. 48 Dora Krstulovic downed Salas, the 65th-ranked player in the nation, 6-0, 6-2 at the No. 2 spot. The hosts then clinched the match with wins at the third and fourth singles positions — Brown defeated Cunha at No. 3 (6-2, 6-1), while Colalillo toppled Stastny at No. 4 (6-4, 7-5).

The Connelly sisters prevented the shutout with three-set victories at the bottom two singles spots. Sarah Jane Connelly eased past Sureephong in a third-set match tiebreaker, 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 at the No. 5 post. Meanwhile, Lauren Connelly also rallied from one set down to defeat Burkett at No. 6, 3-6, 7-6, 1-0 (10-4).

Notre Dame will return to action on Friday when it opens a four-match homestand against No. 62 Iowa at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. First serve is slated for 3:30 p.m. (EST).

— ND —

#7 Arizona State 5, #15 Notre Dame 2

No. 1: #16 Adria Engel (ASU) d. #51 Caylan Leslie (ND), 6-4, 6-2
No. 2: #48 Dora Krstulovic (ASU) d. #65 Alicia Salas (ND), 6-0, 6-2
No. 3: Mhairi Brown (ASU) d. Katie Cunha (ND), 6-2, 6-1
No. 4: Lauren Colalillo (ASU) d. Kristina Stastny (ND), 6-4, 7-5
No. 5: Sarah Jane Connelly (ND) d. Cindy Sureephong (ASU), 2-6, 7-5, 1-0
No. 6: Lauren Connelly (ND) d. Joslynn Burkett (ASU), 3-6, 7-6, 1-0 (10-4)
No. 1: #47 Engel/Colalillo (ASU) d. #27 Cunha/Stastny (ND), 8-5
No. 2: L. Connelly/Salas (ND) d. #53 Brown/Sureephong (ASU), 8-6
No. 3: Megan Yeats/Burkett (ASU) d. Leslie/Jennifer Smith (ND), 8-4