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Women’s Tennis: Irish host Indiana in battle of top-40 teams

Dan Tapetillo | Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No. 7 Notre Dame returns to the Eck Tennis Pavilion to face No. 31 Indiana two days after completing a weekend sweep of two ranked competitors.

Despite its successful weekend and a 9-0 record (including two top-10 victories), the Irish will not overlook the Hoosiers, Irish senior Kelly Nelson said.

“We have gotten off to a great start because everyone has been playing really well, especially in close matches,” Nelson said. “But we have taken every match seriously, no matter where they stand in the rankings.”

The Hoosiers are 9-2 coming off a 5-2 win over No. 28 Tennessee Saturday. It was the team’s second victory over a ranked opponent this season. Indiana beat No. 52 Western Michigan 5-2 on Jan. 15.

Doubles partners sophomore Brianna Williams and freshman Sigrid Fischer led the Hoosiers Saturday, earning their first doubles win over a ranked opponent when they beat the Tennessee’s Blackeley Griffith and Victoria Jones (No. 58, 8-2).

“Their win over Tennessee definitely shows that they can compete with top teams in the country,” Irish junior Christian Thompson said. “But hopefully our doubles teams will play as well as they have been this season and help us win the doubles point early in the match.”

Indiana had impressive wins in its singles matches against Tennessee, as well.

Sarah Batty (8-3) played at No. 1 for Indiana and won in straight sets. No. 2 Laura McGaffigan and No. 3 Brianna Williams also impressed in the Indiana victory.

“We have gone against tough opponents in singles this season, and we don’t expect anything different from Indiana,” Thompson said. “But it has been our singles that ha[ve] been getting the job done all year, and that is what we are counting on [against Indiana].”

Thompson, junior Catrina Thompson and sophomore Brook Buck have led the Irish all season. Christian and Catrina Thompson have lost just one doubles match in the team’s first nine spring contests. They are currently ranked No. 2 nationally in doubles.

But Catrina Thompson did not compete against No. 51 Wisconsin last Saturday due to a wrist injury, and her status remains unknown for the upcoming Indiana match.

“Catrina has really been a big part in doubles and singles for the team this year, and we are hoping she will be able to compete [against Indiana],” Nelson said. “But we still don’t [know the severity] of the injury.”

Notre Dame will continue its series of home matches against Illinois Sunday.