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Women’s Tennis: Irish keep unbeaten streak alive with four wins

Dan Tapetillo | Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Irish proved their strength and depth this past week with wins over four top-50 teams – including their latest victim, No. 11 Texas on Monday.

The No. 2 Irish (15-0) took a giant leap forward this weekend with a shutout over the Longhorns (8-8) as they matched their best start in the 30-year history of the program.

“We went into this past week thinking that we will be competing against some of the top teams in the nation,” freshman Katie Potts said. “But we managed to stay focused and played some of our best tennis this season, which has helped us to remain undefeated.”

The Irish swept the doubles matches against Texas to earn a one-point advantage as they headed into the singles matches.

The No. 4 duo of juniors Catrina and Christian Thompson defeated the Longhorns Mia Marovic and Courtney Zauft 8-3. Sophomore Brook Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft topped Kelly Baritot and Kendra Strohm 8-4 at No. 2. The twosome of seniors Lauren Connelly and Kiki Stastny completed the sweep as they downed Petra Dizdar and Marija Milic 8-2 at No. 3.

“I was really proud of our team earning the doubles point [against the runner-up at last year’s NCAAs],” Potts said. “With each meet, we’re building confidence.”

In singles, No. 32 Catrina Thompson needed a third-set tiebreaker to earn the 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (11-9) win over No. 71 Marovic.

No. 2 Notre Dame 4, No. 48 Texas A&M 3

The Irish earned their second consecutive 4-3 victory with the help of Potts March 18.

“I was behind in the first set and knew that our team needed every win we could get [in singles] to pull out the match,” Potts said. “I’m just glad I’ve been able to contribute to the team this season.”

In doubles, the team registered two wins to earn the doubles point, garnering an 8-2 win for the Thompson duo. Connelly and Stastny recorded the second win for the Irish over Tiffany Clifford and Marisa Druss with a score of 8-5. The one loss for Notre Dame came at No. 2 from the duo Buck and Tefft who fell to Anna Lubinsky and Nicki Mechem 5-8.

Despite the loss of the doubles point, the Aggies put up a fight in singles as it came down to a 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-2 win from Potts over Druss at No. 6 to give the Irish their 14th victory of the season.

The other two Irish wins came from Tefft at No. 4 and Stastny at No. 5. Tefft had little trouble in defeating Mechem 6-3, 6-2, as Stastny secured a 6-2, 6-2 win over Clifford. The three losses came from the upper-half of the lineup.

At No. 1 was No. 32 Catrina Thompson who was upset by No. 66 Lubinsky 3-6, 4-6. Her doubles partner, No. 48 Christian Thompson fell to lower-ranked Foster 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 at No. 2. Buck followed Thompson at No. 3 as she was overwhelmed by Blagodarova in a 4-6, 5-7 loss.

No. 2 Notre Dame 4, No. 5 Duke 3

On March 15 the team felt the void of Christian Thompson – who didn’t play in doubles or singles matches due to the flu – in the tight win for the Irish over the Blue Devils. Notre Dame captured two of the three doubles matches and three singles matches.

In doubles, Buck and Tefft upset No. 11 Daniela Bercek and Jessi Robinson 8-5.

No. 47 Connelly and Stastny topped Kristin Cargill and Jackie Carleton 7-6 (7-5).

Catrina Thompson and Potts completed the sweep with an upset over No. 53 Melissa Mang and Jennifer Zika 9-7.

In singles, No. 32 Catrina Thompson collected the win over No. 1 Bercek after Bercek retired from a 4-4 tie in the first set.

“Before the match I was definitely nervous because I knew it would be close,” Thompson said. “I just caught a break.”

Tefft earned the upset over No. 62 Tara Iyer for the Irish with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 performance. Connelly was the final victory for the Irish as she defeated Clelia Deltour 6-2, 7-5.

No. 2 Notre Dame 7, No. 49 Western Michigan 0

This time without Catrina Thompson – who was suffering from a wrist injury – the Irish handled Western Michigan with ease.

The team recorded wins in each of the doubles positions, starting with the win at from No. 39 Buck and Tefft. The duo edged out Carrie Jeanmaire and Malena Remynse 8-4. Connelly and Stastny proved the team of Linda Yang and Lena Sherbakov were less than a challenge by claiming an 8-3 victory.

In only their second match as partners, the twosome of Christian Thompson and Potts showed their strength by defeating Rattiya Hiranrat and Noriko Saruta 8-3 at No. 3.

The Broncos also fell in every singles match, with No. 48 Christian Thompson defeating Jeanmaire 6-0, 6-3.

Buck collected an easy 6-1, 6-0 win over Reedhina Parekh, followed by Tefft’s victory over Hiranrat.

Notre Dame showed how deep its team is with victories in the bottom half of the lineup as well. Stastny defeated Priyanka Parekh 7-5, 7-5, and Potts surged past Pahl with a 6-2, 6-2 win. The last win came from Connelly who overwhelmed Saruta 6-3, 6-0.