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WOMEN’S TENNIS: Team bounces back, crushes Long Beach

Dan Tapetillo | Monday, April 4, 2005

After falling to Wisconsin 4-3 last week, Notre Dame (9-8) was not just hoping to rebound from the loss with this weekend’s match versus Long Beach State. The Irish were also looking to restore their confidence heading into the final stretch of the season. Notre Dame topped the 49ers 5-2 Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion, but is just beginning what the team expects to accomplish by the season’s end.”[This match] was extremely important after losing to Wisconsin,” junior Lauren Connelly said. “We went into this match as it was the first of the season so we could get a fresh start and gain momentum and confidence for the next several matches.”The Irish began the contest with an impressive sweep in the doubles matches.First off the court was the No. 2 doubles team in the nation of sophomore twins Christian and Catrina Thompson, playing at No. 1 for the Irish. The Thompson’s defeated the 49ers’ team of Nicole Bouffler and Sandra Rocha 8-1.They were followed by the Irish’s No. 3 team of senior captain Sarah Jane Connelly and junior Kiki Stastny. Connelly and Stastny topped Stephanie Bengson and Krystina Katayama 8-3.The final team to walk off the courts was the No. 2 Irish team of freshman Brook Buck and Lauren Connelly. They handed the 49ers’ Alanah Carroll and Rachael Porsz an 8-4 defeat.Coach Jay Louderback said the team’s impressive performance in doubles was crucial to their later success in singles. “We played well in the doubles matches and some of the momentum carried into the singles matches for us,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. The first of four singles wins came from Lauren Connelly at the No. 3 position by topping Long Beach’s Rocha 6-4, 6-3. This is her third out of four matches since moving up to the No. 3 position for the team.The second win came from and No. 44 ranked Catrina Thompson at No. 1. She defeated Bouffler 7-5, 6-3.But it was the victory from Sarah Jane Connelly at No. 5 that secured the victory for the Irish. Connelly beat Carroll 6-2, 7-5 at No. 5. Louderback had only words of praise for the senior captain. “I was really impressed with all of the matches, but especially with Sarah Jane’s [performance],” Louderback said. “She had to come back in the second set to clinch the match for us and she did it while staying calm.”The final win came from Liz Donohue at the No. 6 position. Donohue topped Claudia Argumedo 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. This victory is her third straight, improving her record to 17-12 on the season.The two losses came from Stastny at No. 4 and No. 100 Buck at No. 2. Stastny fell to Porsz 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8), while Buck dropped the match to Bengson 6-4, 0-6, 6-2. Louderback said the victory over Long Beach State was a confidence-booster for the Irish.”This win was so important because Long Beach was a team that fought hard. It was also important for us mentally because we have won so many doubles points and couldn’t come up with three singles points,” Louderback said.Lauren Connelly attributes the win to the team’s mentality during practice.”This week in practice we tried to be positive because we could have easily of been negative after the loss to Wisconsin,” she said. “But everyone has practiced hard and it showed today.”