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ND Women’s tennis: Thompsons lead team again

Anne Loughery | Thursday, March 31, 2005

The No. 28 Irish have recently showed glimpses of just how much potential they possess, shutting out Oklahoma State 7-0 on Saturday and nearly defeating No. 35 Wisconsin 4-3 Tuesday afternoon.

Notre Dame (8-8) claimed the doubles point in both contests. Of the last 16 matches, the team has secured the doubles point on 13 occasions.

Facing Wisconsin (10-4), senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly and junior Kiki Stastny were the first to walk off the courts in the doubles portion of the meet with a 8-2 triumph over Nicole Beck and Chelsea Nusslock at No. 3. This was the pair’s 20th win in the last 27 matches this season.

Freshman Brook Buck and junior Lauren Connelly did not fare as well in their doubles match, falling to Caitlin Burke and Kaylan Caiati 8-3 at No. 2. But the No. 2 team of sophomores Catrina and Christian Thompson proved the Irish were anything but a pushover, clinching the doubles point with an 8-3 win over Katie McGaffigan and Lindsay Martin. Christian Thompson returned to the courts in the team’s match against Oklahoma State after being sidelined with a knee injury the last two meets.

Sarah Jane Connelly was heartened by the team’s performance in doubles, adding that she looks forward to seeing just how successful the team as a whole will be.

“We still have a good third of the season left,” Connelly said. “We still have a lot more matches to win.”

In singles, No. 44 Catrina Thompson recorded her seventh victory in her nine contests against nationally-ranked opponents. The sophomore extended the team’s advantage, putting Notre Dame in the lead 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of No. 93 McGaffigan at No. 1.

But the Buckeyes refused to back down, winning three of the next four matches. The match at No. 2 pitted the two players tied for No. 100 in the ITA national rankings – Buck and Burke – against each other. Burke emerged victorious with a 6-2, 6-0 win. Martin tied the score for the Badgers, beating Lauren Connelly 6-4, 6-1 at No. 3.

Wisconsin pulled ahead 3-2 as Caiati defeated Stastny 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 at No. 4.

Things appeared to be looking up for the Irish after junior Liz Donohue bested Chelsea Nusslock 6-4, 7-5 at No. 6 to put the score at 3-3. But Beck secured the win for Wisconsin, defeating Sarah Jane Connelly 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

Sarah Jane Connelly said the Buckeyes proved to be challenging opponents across the board.

“We knew it was going to be a battle going into it,” Connelly said. “They just fought really hard and I don’t think we were as competitive as we could have been.”

Notre Dame returns to the courts on Saturday, hosting Long Beach State at 10 a.m.

Notre Dame 7, Oklahoma State 0

Oklahoma natives Sarah Jane Connelly, Lauren Connelly and Buck had the opportunity to showcase their talent before a home crowd on Saturday, impressing their family and friends in attendance with a triumph over Oklahoma State (4-8). The team shut out their opponents 7-0, claiming wins at each of the singles positions and at Nos. 2 and 3 in doubles en route to the victory.

Sarah Jane Connelly had only words of praise for her teammates.

“Everyone played really well this weekend,” Connelly said. “We just came out and got out on top early after winning doubles and we just cruised from there. It’s always fun playing well in front of a home crowd.”

Lauren Connelly and Buck were the first to walk off the courts, defeating Sandra Blaier and Jessica Collins 8-2 at No. 2. The duo is 21-8 on the season and 10-5 in dual matches.

Sarah Jane Connelly and Stasny followed their lead with a 8-3 victory over Jennifer Poskitt and Lauren Simmons at No. 3 to clinch the doubles point. At 19-7 on the season and 9-4 in dual matches, the pair has won six of their eight matches together.

Catrina and Christian Thompson were last to finish after a tough 8-4 loss to Zana Masnic and Iryna Tkachenko at No. 1.

Sarah Jane Connelly started the Irish off on the right foot with her 6-0, 6-2 triumph over Poskitt at No. 5. Buck added to the team’s success, beating Masnic 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 and Stastny defeated Collins 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 to clinch the win.

After the meet’s outcome was decided, Donohue registered a win over Blaier 6-2, 6-1 at No. 6 and Catrina Thompson outlasted No. 97 Tkachenko at No. 1 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 (10-3). Finally, Lauren Connelly prevailed over Simmons 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3.