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ND WOMEN’S TENNIS: Team travels to Knoxville

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, March 18, 2005

Heading into today’s crucial match against No. 23 Tennessee (9-3), the No. 25 Irish (6-6) will be relying on the team’s depth to pull out the victory.Notre Dame will be competing without sophomore Christian Thompson, half of the No. 2 doubles team in the country. The former No. 1 pairing of Christian and her twin sister Catrina holds an 11-1 record on the season. Catrina Thompson will lead the team against the Lady Vols as she plays No.1 for the team in both singles – where she is currently No. 39 in the nation – and in doubles. In doubles, she will be joined by freshman Brook Buck. Buck currently plays No. 2 for the team and is nationally ranked at No. 59 in singles. The rest of the lineup in singles includes juniors Kiki Stastny, Lauren Connelly, Liz Donohue and senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly.This solid Irish lineup is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing 6-1 loss to No. 24 BYU over spring break. The team’s lone point came from Catrina Thompson at No. 1 over Lauren Jones 6-2, 6-2. Lauren Connelly was the only other player to win one of her sets. Although the Irish displayed great efforts all the way down the lineup, they felt the loss of Christian Thompson after she was sidelined with a knee injury and were unable to secure the victory. The Lady Vols are looking to take advantage of the team’s disjointed lineup after that injury. This season, the Lady Vols are off to their best start in two seasons behind junior Sabita Maharaj, ranked No. 44 in the nation in singles. Both the Lady Vols and the Irish have seen similar opponents this season, holding 3-2 records against Ohio State, Michigan and Wake Forest. Further, both have suffered losses to Duke and North Carolina. However, the Lady Vols hold one advantage over the Irish – in the last 15 meetings against Notre Dame, Tennessee has earned a 11-4 record and has won the last five matches. Despite the advantage Tennessee holds, Irish coach Jay Louderback is eager for today’s meet. “We are looking forward to the [Tennessee match] because it is another chance for us to compete,” Louderback said. “Our kids love to compete and Tennessee gives us a chance to play some tough competitors.”Following the match against Tennessee, the Irish return home to face Purdue on Tuesday before then traveling to Oklahoma State on Saturday.