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Tiebreakers no help to Irish

Anne Loughery | Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Those pesky tiebreakers proved to be the bane of Notre Dame’s existence.No. 33 Wake Forest (9-7) and No. 9 North Carolina (14-6) cornered the No. 23 Irish (8-5) in several close matches this weekend, forcing a decision in tiebreaking matches. Ultimately, however, the Irish were defeated by the Demon Deacons 7-0 and the Tar Heels 5-0.”We didn’t play all that well in both matches, but they were definitely closer than they looked,” coach Jay Louderback said. “They just couldn’t win in tight matches.”A dogged Wake Forest came prepared to make a statement Saturday, sweeping singles and claiming wins in two of the three doubles matches. The Demon Deacons were fresh off of a 4-3 win against North Carolina on Wednesday and seemed poised for another win after such an upset, according to Louderback. “With the way they’ve been playing this season, they’re probably better than North Carolina, who has a better ranking,” he said. At No. 3 doubles, junior Sarah Jane Connelly and sophomore Kiki Stastny were the first to finish, finding defeat in their match against Karin Coetzee and Liz Proctor 8-1. Ashlee Davis and Katie Martzolf secured the doubles point for Wake Forest after a hard-fought match against No. 1 doubles freshmen Catrina and Christian Thompson.In each loss this season, the Irish have relinquished the doubles point. Louderback believes losing the doubles point set the tone for the rest of the match. “The doubles point is so important because it gives the kids momentum for singles,” he said. “We played hard in doubles; it was just a matter of pulling out big matches.”Senior co-captain Alicia Salas and sophomore Lauren Connelly posted the only win of the match for the Irish, besting Danielle Schwartz and Aimee Smith 8-3 at No. 2 doubles. This season, the pair is 9-4 in dual match play and 15-6 overall. “They really played well against Wake,” Louderback said. “They’ve had a pretty consistent year and it’s good to see them win.”In singles, No. 22 Coetzee collected a quick win over Christian Thompson at No. 2 6-0, 6-3. At No. 1, Salas dropped her first match on the weekend against Davis 6-3, 6-1. The No. 10 Salas is 22-9 this season and 10-3 in dual-match play. At No. 4 singles, Proctor secured the win for Wake Forest, edging out Lauren Connelly 7-5, 7-6, (7-2).Although at No. 5 Stastny won her first set, Schwartz returned with renewed energy to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. Martzolf followed suit at No. 3 singles against No. 92 Catrina Thompson 6-7 (8-6), 7-6, (7-4), 1-0 (11-9). Smith rounded out the Demon Deacons’ win with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Liz Donohue at No. 6 singles. On Sunday, North Carolina collected wins in each of the singles and doubles matches completed. The Irish were forced to abandon two of the last singles matches due to time constraints. No. 23 Aniela Mojzis and Kendall Cline gave the Tar Heels an early 1-0 lead by defeating Catrina and Christian Thompson 8-4 at No. 1. At No. 3, North Carolina clinched the doubles point following Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long’s 8-3 win versus senior Emily Neighbours and sophomore Kristina Stastny. Lee Bairos and Kendrick Bunn added to the Tar Heels’ success, posting a win against Salas and Lauren Connelly 8-6 at No. 2. Bunn was next to contribute a point for North Carolina, triumphing over Stastny 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5. No. 29 Mojzis was next off the courts pulling off a 6-4, 6-1 upset of No. 10 Salas at No. 1. Clinching the win at No. 4 was the Tar Heels’ Anundsen, garnering a win against Lauren Connelly 6-2, 6-3. At No. 6, Long beat Sarah Jane Connelly 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. The Irish abandoned the matches at Nos. 2 and 3 due to time constraints. At No. 3 Catrina Thompson held a lead against Cline in a tiebreaker (7-4) and left the match tied at 3-3. Christian, meanwhile, also led her match against Bairos 6-1, 4-6, 3-2. “All of the kids were pretty upset after this weekend’s meets knowing we didn’t get two wins when we had the opportunity,” Louderback said. “They’re a very competitive group and they don’t like to lose.”The Irish are set to meet Marquette Saturday and No. 15 Miami Sunday.