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Women’s Tennis: Wolverines declawed by No. 15 Irish, 6-1

Dan Tapetillo | Thursday, February 16, 2006

The No. 15 Irish remained undefeated this season as they upended No. 30 Michigan 6-1 Wednesday and improved their spring season record to 5-0.

Not only did Notre Dame defeat its third consecutive opponent with the victory, the Irish also snapped the Wolverines’ six-match home winning streak – dating back to Feb. 26 of last season.

But despite the success Notre Dame has found early in the season, the Irish didn’t take their Big Ten foe lightly.

“We didn’t going into the match thinking it’d be a cakewalk,” senior captain Lauren Connelly said. “We have had a couple of close matches with them in the past and knew they’d be playing their best.”

Despite the Wolverines’ best efforts, the Irish found little trouble in shutting their opponent out in all three of the doubles matches.

The No. 1-ranked pairing of juniors Christian and Catrina Thompson topped Michigan’s Kara Delicata and Allie Shafner 8-3 at No. 1.

Playing at No. 2 for the Irish was the No. 35-ranked duo of sophomore Brook Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft, as they claimed victory over the Wolverines’ Debra Streifler and Chisake Sugiyama.

Following at No. 3 was No. 45-ranked Connelly and senior Kiki Stastny, who cruised to an 8-3 win over Michigan’s Lindsey Howard and Nini Yaftali.

“We all know we have great talent in doubles and it definitely gives us confidence,” Connelly said. “It does a lot for the entire match because it gives you momentum [heading into the rest of the match].”

Leading the Irish in singles was No. 24-ranked Catrina Thompson, who topped Delicata 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 and earned her 14th win of the year.

Following at No. 2 was No. 44 Christian Thompson, who defeated No. 48 Yaftali 6-4, 7-5.

Thompson’s victory over Yaftali claimed her second consecutive win over a top 50 opponent.

Buck beat Sugiyama 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 as she broke a two-match losing streak, followed by Tefft at No. 4, who suffered a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-3) loss to the Wolverines’ Streifler.

At No. 5, Stastny topped Michigan’s Elizabeth Exon 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (10-5) and freshman Katie Potts defeated Allie Shafner at No. 6, 6-0, 6-4 and clinched the victory for the Irish.

“I didn’t know where I would end up in the lineup [this season],” Potts said. “But I’ve been trying hard every match and [Shafner] was just more inconsistent than me.”

Since the lineup has been solidified with Potts at No. 6, the Irish have been excelling across the courts. However, part of the success the Irish found Wednesday can be attributed to the atmosphere playing against their rival.

“I loved the way our team performed today,” senior Kelly Nelson said.

“There was a lot of intensity out there against Michigan. It was definitely a great atmosphere.”

The Irish return to the courts this Saturday at the Eck Tennis Pavilion as they face Tennessee.