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Irish slam Hawkeyes 6-1 at Eck

Anne Loughery | Friday, March 19, 2004

The No. 47 Hawkeyes proved they were anything but a pushover at Thursday’s meet.

Iowa (8-3) extended three of the six singles matches to tiebreaking sets, posted a point after a victory at No. 4 singles and claimed a win at No. 1 doubles.

But their window of opportunity was quickly slammed shut.

No. 21 Notre Dame demonstrated its staying power with a 6-1 win, improving its record to 8-4. The talent-laden Irish secured the vital doubles point after defeating their opponents at Nos. 2 and 3 and nearly sweeping singles.

“We really competed today,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “We really fought for each point.”

The No. 2 doubles tandem of sophomore Lauren Connelly and senior Alicia Salas were first off the courts, defeating Chelsea Glynn and Russian Anastasia Zhukova 8-2 to disrupt their four-match losing streak.

“[Connelly] really served well today,” Louderback said. “When she serves well, they play well and [Salas] returns well.”

Junior Sarah Jane Connelly and sophomore Kristina Stastny clinched the doubles point, besting Bulgarian Deni Alexandrova and Hilary Tyler at No. 3. The duo rallied from behind to even the score at 6-6 and quickly gained control of the match.

At No. 1 doubles, freshmen Meg Racette and Hillary Mintz outlasted No. 37 Catrina and Christian Thompson 9-8, (7-5). The Thompsons took an early 5-2 lead in the tiebreaking match before Racette and Mintz earned five consecutive points for the win.

In singles, No. 13 Salas earned the first point for the Irish with a quick 6-4, 6-1 win against Racette at the No. 1 position. This match was the sixth consecutive win for the senior, who is 10-2 in dual matches.

“Alicia played really well today,” Louderback said. “That girl she played is tough. She doesn’t make errors.”

Stastny followed with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Alexandrova at No. 5.

“She’s really been coming through for us this spring,” Louderback said. “She put us up 3-0 and made it tough for Iowa to come back after that.”

Christian Thompson secured victory for the Irish, edging out Mintz 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2. In her first career dual match, sophomore Liz Donohue defeated Tyler at No. 6, rallying from a loss in the first set 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Tyler was 5-0 this spring heading into Thursday’s meet.

“[Donohue] has played really well in practice, and she’s worked hard,” Louderback said. “I think she was nervous at first, but she settled down after the first match.”