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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Women's Tennis: Irish remain unbeaten after weekend sweep

The Irish established themselves as a powerhouse this weekend with wins over No. 20 BYU and No. 51 Wisconsin at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.

No. 7 Notre Dame remained undefeated and improved its record to 9-0 this year - one win short of the all-time school record. Not only did the Irish defeat tough opponents, but they also avenged their losses to both of the programs from last season.

"I'm really excited, because we have never been a Top 10 team [since my freshman year]," senior Kiki Stastny said. "I'm thrilled with this experience. It is a whole new confidence, and we feel like we can beat anybody."

In their 6-1 win over the Badgers, the Irish began the contest by capturing the doubles point with wins at Nos. 2 and 3. However, the original line-up for the Irish was altered when junior Catrina Thompson had to pull out before the match due to a wrist injury.

"We had to play a little shorthanded today, because Catrina had some wrist problems," coach Jay Louderback said. "But everybody stepped up."

Playing at No. 2 for Notre Dame were seniors Stastny and captain Lauren Connelly, who topped Wisconsin's duo of Elizabeth Carpenter and Chelsea Nusslock 8-3. The pairing stands at 9-0 in dual action play.

Following at No. 3 for the Irish was the new pairing of freshman Katie Potts and junior Christian Thompson. The duo downed the Badger's Morgan Tuttle and Lexi Goldin 8-1.

"It was a tough deal, because Christian has never played with anyone [except for her sister]," Louderback said. "But it gave [Potts] good experience to play with Christian, because [Thompson] is such a good doubles player."

The only loss in doubles for the Irish came at No. 1 from the No. 29 duo of sophomore Brook Buck and freshman Kelcy Tefft. Wisconsin's No. 30 team of Caitlin Burke and Nicole Beck defeated the Irish pair 8-7 (7-1).

In singles, No. 32 Christian Thompson fell to Wisconsin's No. 28 Caitlin Burke 6-4, 6-4 in her debut at No.1.

Following at No. 2 was Buck, who topped Beck 6-1, 6-1. The win improved Buck's season record to 11-6.

Tefft played at No. 3 for the Irish with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Nusslock. Stastny played at No. 5 for Notre Dame against the Badger's Carpenter and rallied to a 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (11-9) win at No. 4.

"It was a rollercoaster, because she would be on a roll with four amazing winners," Stastny said. "So it was hard to stay in control, because you didn't know what to expect."

Following Stastny at No. 5 was Potts, who defeated Wisconsin's Erin Jobe 6-1, 6-1.

Competing at No. 6 for the Irish was Connelly, who downed Tuttle 6-1, 6-0.

After Sunday's win over Wisconsin, Louderback was impressed with the team's performance in singles play this season.

"Our doubles has been good, but it is our singles that [have gotten the job done] in every match all season," Louderback said.

No. 7 Notre Dame 5, No. 20 BYU 1

The Irish got out to a strong start against the Cougars, sweeping the doubles matches.

"It was a huge boost," Stastny said. "Once you have the [doubles point], you have a lot more momentum. Our goal this season is to be undefeated in doubles."

The Thompson twins played at No. 1 for the team and finished first as they topped BYU's Anastasia Sourkova and Jennifer Miccoli 8-3.

Following at No. 2 were Buck and Tefft, who defeated the Cougars' Olga Boulytcheva and Sofia Holden 6-1, 6-4.

Playing in the third position for Notre Dame were Connelly and Stastny, who downed BYU's Dolly Chang and Luren Jones 8-3.

"We are all really steady [in doubles], and we all have the experience and confidence," Stastny said. "[Our teams] are good and deep."

In singles, No. 27 Catrina Thompson was first off the court with a 6-1, 6-1 loss to No. 17 Boulytcheva at No. 1.

Playing at No. 2 was Catrina Thompson, who topped Jones 6-4, 6-2.

Buck followed Thompson with a 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5) loss to Sourkova at No. 3.

The bottom half of the line-up closed out the match in two-set wins at Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

Tefft, playing fourth in the line-up, defeated Holden 6-1, 6-4. Stastny followed with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Chang at No. 5.

The final victory came from Potts at No. 6 as she downed Miccoli 6-3, 6-4.