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Women’s Tennis: Irish seek revenge against BYU, Wisconsin this week

Joe Meixell | Friday, February 24, 2006

Last season, No. 7 Notre Dame suffered losses to both BYU and Wisconsin. But the Irish are out for redemption this weekend as the No. 20 Cougars and No. 51 Badgers visit the Eck Tennis Pavilion with matches at 11 a.m. Saturday (BYU) and 11 a.m. Sunday (Wisconsin).

“Last season we were ranked higher and lost,” senior Kelly Nelson said. “So now we are taking every match seriously [despite a team’s ranking] and hoping it’ll help us to keep on winning.”

One advantage the Irish didn’t have last season is the confidence that goes along with being undefeated seven matches into the season.

“We have worked really hard,” freshman Kelcy Tefft said. “But we are also don’t want to get overconfident.”

Six of the victories have come over top-30 teams, including then- No. 9 North Carolina and then- No. 9 Harvard.

“Not only have we beaten top 10-teams, but we have also played well every match,” Tefft said.”

Part of this success stems from the Irish being the only program to have three nationally-ranked doubles teams.

No. 2 duo of sophomores Catrina and Christian Thompson lead the Irish. The former No. 1 pairing have defeated five teams in the current top 10, including No. 1 duo Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey of Stanford last fall.

Following the Thompsons is the No. 29 team of sophomore Brook Buck and Tefft. The third doubles duo in the top-50 is the No. 49 duo of seniors Kiki Stastny and captain Lauren Connelly.

“They both have great instincts around the net and compliment each other perfectly,” Christian Thompson said.

In addition, to its talent in doubles, the team has also proven its strength in singles this season.

No. 27 Catrina Thompson leads the team with 16 wins, including last weekend’s victory over Harvard’s Eva Wang.

Following Thompson at No. 2 is Christian Thompson who is currently No. 32, a 12-position jump from last week’s rankings. Thompson has defeated several ranked players this spring, including No. 56 Caitlin Collins from North Carolina.

Following Thompson in the singles lineup are Buck, Stastny, Tefft and freshman Katie Potts.

Despite the success the Irish have found this season, the team is aware of the challenges that lay ahead.

“I’m excited for what we have done, but I’m looking forward to how well we do for the rest of the season,” Tefft said. “But we are excited to play teams like BYU because they always play well.”