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Women’s Tennis: Hot doubles pairings give team two top 25 wins

Dan Tapetillo | Monday, February 20, 2006

In order to be the best, you have to compete with the best.

The Irish held themselves to this maxim this weekend in wins over No. 9 Harvard and No. 22 Tennessee at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. Notre Dame remained undefeated and improved its record to 7-0 this year – its best start since the 1985-86 season. Also, the upset over Harvard marks the team’s second win against a top-10 foe in 2006, following the victory over then-No. 9 North Carolina on Feb. 12.

In their match against the Crimson, the Irish began the contest by sweeping the doubles matches, including a win from the No. 1 pairing of Catrina and Christian Thompson. The twins topped Harvard’s No. 6 duo of Melissa Anderson and Elsa O’Riain 9-8 (7-5) to earn the doubles point.

The Thompsons needed to overcome a 6-5 deficit and an eventual tiebreaker to top Anderson and O’Riain.

“They were down most of the match,” Irish sophomore Brook Buck said. “They really fought back and played big on the big points.”

In addition to the Thompsons’ victory, Notre Dame’s No. 35 pairing of Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft downed Harvard’s Stephanie Schnitter and Eva Wang, 8-1. Notre Dame’s No. 45 duo of seniors Kiki Stastny and captain Lauren Connelly also won by an 8-1 decision over Harvard’s Cindy Chu and Preethi Mukundan.

In singles, No. 24 Catrina Thompson led the team with her come-from-behind win over Harvard’s Eva Wang 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-1) at No.1.

Following at No. 2 was Christian Thompson, who suffered a 7-5, 7-5 loss to O’Riain.

Buck played at No. 3 for the Irish with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 win over Anderson. During the contest, Anderson suffered a code violation during the first set after hitting a ball into another court – granting Buck a point. Following the call, Anderson appeared to have lost her sense of momentum.

“The first set was very intense, and we were both on our serves.” Buck said. “But then she got a code violation and mentally just broke down and stopped fighting … I’ve never played a match like that before.”

Following Buck’s contest against Anderson, Tefft topped the Crimson’s No. 67 Mukundan and clinched the victory for the Irish at No.4.

Stastny, playing at No. 5 for Notre Dame, lost her first dual match in singles this season. Stastny dropped the contest to Schnitter 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 1-0 (10-5).

Competing at the No. 6 position for the Irish, freshman Katie Potts downed Chu 6-1, 6-2.

No. 15 Notre Dame 7

No. 22 Tennessee 0

The Irish defeated the Lady Vols 7-0 to earn their second shutout of the season.

Notre Dame began the contest sweeping the doubles matches for the fifth time in sixth matches.

The Thompsons, playing at No. 1 for the team, finished first as they topped Tennessee’s Melissa Schaub and Ghizela Schutte 8-1.

“This win definitely helped our confidence,” Christian Thompson said. “But knowing we have two other great doubles teams relieves a lot of the pressure.”

Following at No. 2 were Buck and Tefft, who defeated the Lady Vols’ Blakeley Griffith and Victoria Jones, 8-3. Last off the court were Connelly and Stastny, who downed Tennessee’s Stephanie Harris and Samantha Orlin, 8-3.

In singles, Stastny was first off the court as she cruised to her 15th victory of the season with a win over Harris 6-3, 6-1 at No. 5.

Playing at No. 2 was Catrina Thompson, who finished second for the team as she topped Jones 6-1, 6-2.

Buck followed Thompson with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Schutte as she clinched the victory for the Irish at the No. 3 position.

Tefft and Potts defeated Schutte 6-3, 6-4 and Orlin 7-5, 5-7 1-0 (12-10) at Nos. 4 and 6, respectively.

No. 44 Christian Thompson closed out the victory with a long match against Griffith. Thompson came out with the 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 1-0 (10-3) win.