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Women’s Tennis: Michigan poses test for team

Dan Tapetillo | Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coming off the team’s biggest win in five years, Notre Dame looks to continue its success in a matchup with a long-time rival.

The Irish are putting their current season’s undefeated record – and 10-1 record in their past 11 meetings with the Wolverines – on the line today at 4 p.m. in Ann Arbor, Mich, four days after toppling No. 10 North Carolina.

Notre Dame has dominated the series in the past decade, but this season the Wolverines are coming into the contest with momentum. Michigan is entering the match after upsetting No. 31 Maryland 4-3 in a come-from-behind win on the road last week.

But the Irish are looking to prevent any possibility of their winning streak being snapped.

“We have had a lot of success against them in the past and are off to a great start this season,” junior Catrina Thompson said. “But we don’t want to overlook any of our opponents.”

The last time Notre Dame faced this Big Ten foe was in last year’s match when the Irish claimed the 7-0 victory – one of only two shutouts Michigan suffered last season.

Today, the Irish are hoping to use their three nationally ranked doubles teams to their advantage to follow up on last year’s success.

“No other team in the country has all three of their doubles teams ranked,” junior Christian Thompson said. “[Coach Jay Louderback] said he’d be shocked if we gave up any doubles points this season.”

The No. 1 ranked Thompson twins are hoping to lead the team in trying to dominate their opponents as well rebounding from their first loss of the season. The duo fell to North Carolina’s Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long 8-3 last weekend.

“Last week Catrina and I struggled mentally,” Christian Thompson said. “We just didn’t take advantage of the break points and that is what hurt us. But we have two other great doubles teams that we can count on to pull through.”

Following the Thompson sisters are the No. 35-ranked pair of sophomore Brook Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft. Playing at No. 3 for the Irish and ranked No. 45 in the country is the pairing of seniors Kiki Stastny and captain Lauren Connelly.

In singles, playing at No. 1 for the team is No. 24-ranked Catrina Thompson, who shares the most wins on the team this season with Stastny at 13.

Following at No. 2 is Christian Thompson who is coming off an impressive 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 46-ranked Caitlin Collins. That victory clinched the win for the Irish over the Tar Heels Saturday.

Buck is playing at No. 3, followed by Tefft, Stastny and freshman Katie Potts at No. 6.

“Katie has had a great start this season. Her wins at Wake Forest and North Carolina have really helped the team get off to the great start we’ve had,” Catrina Thompson said. “We are definitely going to need her in today’s match.”

Following the match against Michigan, the Irish will return back home to compete against Tennessee and Harvard Saturday and Sunday, respectively.