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Women’s Tennis: Irish host Hawkeyes at the Eck

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, March 24, 2006

The undefeated No. 2 Irish return to the Eck Tennis Pavilion today to face the No. 39 Hawkeyes at 3 p.m. Notre Dame is heading back to the courts a week after going 4-0 over top 50 teams during spring break, including a win over then-No. 11 Texas on March 20.

Last week, the Irish topped the Longhorns 7-0 and extended their winning streak against top-30 teams to nine. The Longhorns were runners-up in last year’s NCAA Championship and the highest-ranked team ever to lose 7-0 to the Irish.

However, despite its successful week against top competition and a 15-0 record to match the program’s best start, Notre Dame is not looking past any teams.

“We have gotten off to an incredible start this season. Everyone has been playing great tennis, especially against the top teams in the country like Duke and Texas,” senior Kelly Nelson said. “But rankings don’t mean anything if you’re not playing great tennis. If you’re having an off day, any team you play will take advantage.”

Although the Hawkeyes currently stand at 9-2 for the season, Iowa is coming off a pair of 4-3 wins against Kansas March 11 and Kansas State the following day.

Leading the Hoosiers this season are the No. 40 doubles pair of junior Meg Racette and sophomore Jacqueline Lee.

In addition to being ranked in doubles, Racette is currently No. 33 in singles. Following Racette is Mili Veselinovic, No. 104.

“They are capable of giving us difficult matches,” junior Catrina Thompson said. “So we know that we just have to focus on the match and not worry about rankings or winning streaks.”

Thompson has led the Irish this season in both singles and doubles.

She is currently No. 30 in singles and No. 3 in doubles with her teammate and sister Christian Thompson. Christian Thompson is the only other player from Notre Dame to be ranked in singles at No. 74.

“We have done pretty well in doubles this season,” Catrina Thompson said. “But we are focusing on every match and hope to continue to play well.”

In addition to the Thompson sisters, the pairing of sophomore Brook Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft is nationally ranked at No. 29.

“Brook and Kelcy have played really well for us this season,” Catrina Thompson said. “If we’re having an off day, we can always count on [Buck and Tefft] to pull through and help our team win the doubles point.”

Following the match against Iowa, Notre Dame will head to Nashville, Tenn. to face Vanderbilt on March 29.