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Women’s Tennis: Irish lose first match of year

Dan Tapetillo | Thursday, March 30, 2006

After beginning the season 16-0 – the best start in school history – No. 2 Notre Dame suffered its first defeat of the year, a 4-3 loss at No. 11 Vanderbilt Wednesday.

“It was definitely a hard loss for us because of it being the first one of the season,” Irish junior Catrina Thompson said. “But we’re going to look past it and focus on finishing out the year strong.”

Despite the loss, Notre Dame won the doubles point for the seventeenth straight meet. The Irish swept all three doubles matches.

Playing at No. 1 for the Irish was the No. 3 pairing of junior All-American twins Catrina and Christian Thompson, who improved their record to 11-2 this season. The sisters needed a comeback to top Amanda Fish and Amanda Taylor.

Following them at No. 2 was the No. 29 pairing of sophomore Brook Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft. The duo clinched the point for the team with a 9-7 victory over Taka Bertrand and Caroline Ferrell.

The No. 3 team for Notre Dame was the senior pairing of Kiki Stastny and captain Lauren Connelly.

Stastny and Connelly downed Commodores Courtney Ulery and Liberty Sveke 8-4 to complete the doubles sweep for the Irish. The Notre Dame seniors improved their record to 16-1, their only loss coming last Friday to Iowa’s Merel Beelen and Krissy Dowlin.

“This season we have been really confident with all our doubles teams,” Thompson said. “We are hoping to finish the rest of the season without losing [the doubles point].”

In singles, freshman Katie Potts was the first to finish her match with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Sveke at No. 6 to put the Irish up 2-0 in the meet.

However, Potts’ win was followed by a 6-2, 6-3 loss from No. 74 Christian Thompson against No. 40 Bertrand at No. 2.

Vanderbilt then evened the score 2-2 when No. 20 Fish defeated No. 30 Catrina Thompson 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match and tried to stay positive [throughout the contest],” Thompson said. “She just played really well.”

Stastny then beat Ferrell 6-2, 6-1 at No. 5 to put the Irish up 3-2 and seemingly put Notre Dame in position to claim its 17th win of the season.

It was not to be, however.

The Commodores’ Ulery upset No. 110 Tefft 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4, which tied the meet score 3-3 – leaving the No. 3 singles match as the deciding contest.

Buck, the underdog against No. 75 Taylor, kept the match close but lost, 7-6 (13-11), 7-6 (7-4), to give Vanderbilt the 4-3 win.

“We are hoping to rebound quickly because we have several upcoming matches,” Thompson said. “We have had a great start [this season] and we just need to look past this loss.”

The Irish return back home to face Eastern Michigan this Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Courtney Tennis Center.