February 18, 1999

MADISON, Wis. – The 16th-ranked Notre Dame womens tennis team lost five of six singles and two of three doubles matches in a 7-2 loss to top-ranked Florida in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Thursday at Wisconsins Nielson Tennis Stadium. The Irish fall to 5-3 after also losing 6-3 to second-ranked Duke just four day ago, while the Gators improve to 6-0 and will take on Wake Forest in the quarterfinals on Friday. Notre Dame will play eighth-ranked UCLA in the consolation round on Friday at 9:00 a.m. The Bruins lost 5-3 to third-ranked Georgia in the first round.

The defending NCAA champions won their 33rd consecutive dual match in handling the Irish their third loss in three meetings with the Gators. Notre Dames only singles win came at No. 2 singles where senior two-time All-American Jennifer Hall outlasted 1997 NCAA singles finalist M.C. White 6-4, 0-6, 7-5. Floridas Whitney Laiho won her 23rd consecutive dual singles match with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Michelle Dasso at No. 1 singles. The Gators won in straight sets at Nos. 3-6 singles as Floridas Jessica Lehnhoff clinched the win with a 6-4, 6-3 over Becky Varnum at No. 4 singles in a battle of two freshmen.

Hall teamed with Dasso to lead the Irish to their second point of the match. The 22nd-ranked Irish pair beat Floridas sixth-ranked team of Lehnhoff and Stephanie Nickitas 8-6 at No. 1 doubles. The Gators won 8-3 and 8-4 at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles to complete the 7-2 win.

Notre Dames match with UCLA will be a rematch of the 1998 NCAA Midwest Regional final, won by the Bruins 5-1. The Irish also lost to UCLA 7-2 in 1993 in the only other meeting between the two schools. Zalinskis and Varnums singles lost were their first dual-match singles losses of the year after starting the season 7-0.



No. 1: #60 Whitney Laiho (F) def. #10 Michelle Dasso (ND)        6-2, 6-2No. 2: #93 Jennifer Hall (ND) def. M.C. White (F)           6-4, 0-6, 7-5No. 3: #34 Stephanie Nickitas (F) def. Marisa Velasco (ND)  6-2, 7-6 (1)No. 4: Jessica Lehnhoff (F) def. #40 Becky Varnum (ND)           6-4, 6-3No. 5: #48 Stephanie Hazlett (F) def. Kelly Zalinski (ND)        6-3, 7-5No. 6: #21 Traci Green (F) def. Lindsey Green (ND)               6-4, 6-3


No. 1: #22 Dasso/Hall (ND) def. #6 Lehnhoff/Nickitas (F)         8-6No. 2: #41 Hazlett/Laiho (F) def. Varnum/Velasco (ND)            8-3No. 3: Green/White (F) def. #46 Nina Vaughan/Zalinski (ND)       8-4