November 7, 1998
Notre Dame, Ind. —- Notre Dame freshman Becky Varnum’s bid to become the second Notre Dame tennis player to win the ITA Midwest Championship title fell short as she dropped a three-set decision to Michelle Lund of Michigan in the semifinals of the ITA Midwest Championships at Notre Dame’s Eck Tennis Pavilion. Lund, a nine through 16 seed in the tournament, bested the Irish rookie in three sets by taking a 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory.
Lund will face Marquette’s Ana Fernandez in the final on Sunday. Fernandez, another nine through 16 seed in the field, beat Simone Kung of Illinois in straight sets 6-3, 6-3.
Varnum, who advanced to the semifinals with two wins over seeded players in the third round and quarterfinals, was looking to become the second straight Notre Dame freshman to win the ITA Midwest crown. At the 1997 championships, Michelle Dasso earned the title. Dasso, a sophomore, was the top-seeded player in this year’s tournament, but was beaten in the third round.
After dropping the first set 5-7, Varnum fell behind 1-4 in the second, but came back to win six of the next seven games to take the second set 7-4. With the momentum clearly in her favor, Varnum went up 4-1 in the third, before Lund won five straight games to take a 5-4 lead. Serving at 4-5, she evened the match at five games each before Lund won the final two games.
Kelly Zalinski lost in the semifinals of the consolation singles draw. She beat Pamela Rodriguez of Butler 7-6, 6-2, but dropped a straight set decision to Jessica Anderson of Indiana 6-1, 7-5.
All three of Notre Dame’s doubles team remained in the main doubles draw to start the day, but all three lost in either the quarterfinals or semifinals. The third-seeded team of Dasso and Jennifer Hall beat Jean Kansuthi and Simone Duhme in the quarterfinals 6-4, 6-0, but lost to the tournament’s second seeded duo of Kristy Dacoli and Brianna Harris of Ohio State 6-4, 6-3.
Lindsey Green and Sarah Scaringe dropped a 6-2, 6-1 decision to the number one seeded team of Ana Fernandez and Sarah Fernandez of Marquette. Also losing in the quartefinals were Irish tandem of Nina Vaughan and Kelly Zalinski as they were beaten 6-2, 6-1 by the Wisconsin team of Andrea Nathan and Barbara Urbanska, the tournament’s fourth seed.
The finals will be played tomorrow at the Eck Tennis Pavilion with singles matches beginning at 9:00 a.m.