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ND WOMEN’S TENNIS: Team loses two close matches to ranked foes

Anne Loughery | Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Irish don’t plan to let this weekend’s setbacks defeat them.In fact, Notre Dame finds its 4-3 losses to No. 5 Duke and No. 9 North Carolina almost heartening.”These two meets showed our kids that they’re as good as some of the top-ranked kids,” coach Jay Louderback said. “They were right there with them.”No. 20 Notre Dame (4-4) jumped to a 3-2 lead after winning doubles and appeared poised to upset North Carolina (9-3) Sunday morning. Senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly and junior Kiki Stastny were first off the courts, besting Caitlin Collins and Alexandra Jurewitz 8-2 at No. 3. Louderback said the pair’s performance was representative of the hard work they have put in all season. “From the start they were in control of their match,” he said. “And they don’t let little things get to them during matches. They play point to point.” No. 2 sophomores Catrina and Christian Thompson followed their lead, prevailing over No. 14 Kendall Cline and Aniela Mojzis 8-6 at No. 1. The Thompsons are 16-2 this season and 11-1 against nationally ranked teams.Junior Lauren Connelly and freshman Brook Buck fell to Anundsen and Jenna Long at No. 2 9-8 (7-5) despite a hard-fought match. The Irish did not fare as well in singles although they held an early lead with Stastny’s win at No. 5. Stastny defeated Collins 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday’s quickest singles match. Next off the courts, No. 69 Catrina Thompson upset No. 26 Mojzis 7-6 (7-3), 7-5) at No. 1 to put an Irish victory within arm’s length. However, North Carolina quickly rebounded, collecting wins in the remaining three singles matches. No. 37 Cline edged out No. 85 Buck at No. 2 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), while junior Liz Donohue fell to Jurewitz 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6.Tied at 3-3, the outcome of the meet depended on the final singles match at No. 4. After losing the first set, Sara Anundsen surged back to clinch the meet for the Tar Heels 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.No. 5 Duke 4, No. 21 Notre Dame 3The Irish saw much of the same on Friday against Duke. Although the Irish held a 3-0 advantage midway through the meet, Duke rallied for a 4-3 victory Friday afternoon. No. 96 Sara Arasu defeated Lauren Connelly in a third-set tiebreaker 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 to clinch the win for Duke. Notre Dame started off strong with victories across the board in doubles. No. 2 Catrina and Christian Thompson beat Kristin Cargill and Jennifer Zika 8-2 at No. 1. Lauren Connelly and Buck clinched the doubles point for the Irish, defeating Katie Blaszak and Tory Zawacki at No. 2 doubles. In the final doubles match, Sarah Jane Connell and Kiki Stastny bested Celia Deltour and Parker Goyer 8-5 at No. 3 doubles. Louderback said doubles are quickly becoming the team’s forte. “Our doubles are solid,” Louderback said. “I think our kids learned that they can stay with anyone in doubles matches. We just need to work on singles now. And with singles, it’s just a matter of someone stepping up and pulling out a win.”Donohue claimed the first singles match for the Irish, recording a 6-1, 6-2 win over Zawacki at No. 6. Following up with a quick victory at No. 2, Buck defeated No. 108 Aika 6-3, 6-0 to extend the Irish advantage 3-0. Deltor spearheaded Duke’s rally, beating Christian Thom-pson 7-6, 6-2 at No. 3. No. 115 Blaszak added to Duke’s efforts with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-2 win over Catrina Thompson at No. 1. Cargill tied the match at 3-3, defeating Stastny at No. 5 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, and Arasu collected the final victory at No. 4 over Lauren Connelly. “It was frustrating that we couldn’t come away with wins this weekend,” Louderback said. “We shouldn’t be letting [our opponents] get into a third set.”The Irish take the courts again this weekend against Texas and Iowa.