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WOMEN’S TENNIS: ‘Hawks’ downed by renewed Irish

Dan Tapetillo | Monday, February 28, 2005

Despite losing 4-3 to No. 13 Texas on Friday, it took little effort from No. 20 Notre Dame (5-5) to bounce back with a 7-0 shutout over No. 57 Iowa (4-3) Sunday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The win marked the third consecutive Big Ten opponent the Irish have defeated this season after topping No. 49 Ohio State 6-1 and No. 20 Michigan 7-0.

From the beginning of the contest, Notre Dame found little difficulty securing the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions.

After losing their first doubles match of the spring season to Texas on Friday, the top-ranked doubles team in the country – sophomore twins Catrina and Christian Thompson – defeated the No. 59 ranked Meg Racette and Hillary Mintz 8-3.

“When we played Texas, it was one of our worst matches. We weren’t getting returns and making a lot of unforced errors,” Christian Thompson said. “But today we were just going out positive and ready to play and it turned out 10 times better.”

Notre Dame also won at No. 3 with senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly and junior Kiki Stastny over Jacqueline Lee and Morgan Tuttle 8-2.

However, Iowa did manage to find a win at No. 2 from the team of Hillary Tyler and Anastasia Zhukova over the Irish’s Brook Buck and Lauren Connelly 9-7.

In the singles matches, No. 32 ranked Catrina Thompson defeated Racette 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 1-0 (10-6) after dropping a first-set tiebreaker. Thompson improved to 7-3 this spring.

“I knew the team had already won during my match, so it made me a little more relaxed out there,” Catrina Thompson said.

No. 60 ranked Buck, who played at No. 2 for the Irish, topped No. 78 Hillary Mintz 6-2, 6-2. Following Buck at No. 3 was Christian Thompson, who broke a three-match losing streak after defeating Zhukova 6-1, 6-2.

“I felt like I served well today and that made the difference,” Christian Thompson said.

Playing at the No. 4 for the first time since her freshman year was Statsny who topped Zhukova 6-2, 6-3. Stastny’s win improved her singles record to 16-6 this season.

Lauren Connelly played at the No. 5 position for the Irish, topping Tyler 6-2, 6-1.

Completing the shutout at No. 6 was junior Liz Donohue who defeated Jacqueline Lee 6-2, 6-0.

On Friday, Notre Dame lost another close 4-3 decision to Texas despite winning the early doubles point. In the loss, the Thompson’s also lost their first match this spring to No. 26 ranked Katie Ruckert and Kendra Strohm 8-5 just after becoming the No. 1 ranked doubles team in the country.

The point came from the teams wins at No. 2 with Buck and Lauren Connelly over Petra Dizdar and Mia Marovic 8-4 and at No. 3 with Sarah Jane Connelly and Stastny defeating Kelly Baritot and Courtney Zauft 8-6.

In singles, only Catrina Thompson and Buck won their matches. Thompson defeated Dizdar 6-4, 6-1 and Buck topped No. 80 Kendra Strohm 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4).