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    Women's Tennis Back in NCAA Championship

    Irish making their fifth appearance.

    May 11, 1998

    The University of Notre Dame women's tennis team, ranked No. 19 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as of May 5, will compete in the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional to be held at the University of Illinois from May 15-17.

    Notre Dame is making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Championship and the Irish advanced to the national quarterfinals in 1996.

    Notre Dame Women's Tennis NCAA Division I Midwest Regional University of Illinois May 15-17, 1998

    NOTRE DAME IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Here's a look at how Notre Dame has faired in NCAA team tournament history:

    1993                         1994                                1996                     1997 (Midwest Regional) 
    Gainesville, FL              Athens, GA                          Tallahassee, FL          Notre Dame, IN
    Notre Dame 5, Alabama 0      Notre Dame 5, UC Santa Barbara 3    Notre Dame 5, BYU 0      Notre Dame 5, Illinois 3
    Stanford 5, Notre Dame 0     Stanford 5, Notre Dame 1            Stanford 5, Notre Dame 1 Wisconsin 5, Notre Dame 2
    

    NOTRE DAME VS. THE REGIONAL DRAW: Notre Dame faced five of the other seven Midwest Regional teams during the 1997-98 season and posted a 5-0 record against those schools. Notre Dame beat Purdue (6-1 on Jan. 31), Wisconsin (5-4 on March 3), Northwestern (8-1 on March 6), Michigan (5-4 on March 25) and Indiana (7-2 on April 21).

    NOTRE DAME IN NCAA INDIVIDUALS: The Irish will have three representatives in the singles and doubles portion of the NCAA Championship, which will take place May 21-29 on the University of Notre Dame campus. The national team tournament runs from May 21-24 while the individual tournaments are from May 25-29.

    Junior Jennifer Hall (Oklahoma City, OK) and freshman Michelle Dasso (Long Grove, IL) will play in the singles tournament. Hall will be making her third-straight appearance in the 64-player singles event and will also play in the 32-team doubles championship with classmate Tiffany Gates (Grandville, MI).

    Dasso is one of the top freshmen in women's college tennis this season with an overall record of 38-6 and a 22-2 mark in dual match play. Dasso is ranked No. 19 in the country by the ITA and is the second-highest ranked American freshman in the country.

    Hall is ranked No. 25 in the country in singles by the ITA and has a 27-16 record in singles this season and is 15-10 in dual match play, all at No. 1 singles. Hall advanced to the round of 16 at the '96 NCAAs and went to the second round last year.

    Hall and Gates are ranked No. 19 in the country and are making their second-straight appearance in the NCAAs. Gates also played in the singles tournament in 1995 as a member of the Minnesota team before she transferred to Notre Dame.

    TRACKING THE IRISH IN THE RANKINGS: Here's a look at how the Irish have been ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the season has progressed (a new team ranking will be released on May 14 and the next set of ITA rankings will be released following the NCAA Championship):

                      Preseason   Dec. 9  Feb. 17   March 10    March 24  April 7 April 21    May 6
    Team                16           15  No rankings  18          16        17      18         19
    Jennifer Hall       24          24      19        14          18        22      22         25
    Michelle Dasso      --          25      27        23          19        19      16         19
    Marisa Velasco      --        t108      62        92          62        68     t84         79
    Kelly Zalinski      --        t102      81        --          --        --      --         --
    Gates-Hall           9          15      16        27          20        21      20         19

    NOTRE DAME PLAYERS IN NCAA PLAY: Here's a look at how current Notre Dame players have faired in NCAA competition during their Notre Dame careers:

    Name                 NCAA Regionals                 NCAA Nationals             NCAA Individuals     Total
    Jennifer Hall     1-1 singles, 0-0 doubles    4-3 singles, 1-1 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    6-5
    Marisa Velasco    2-0 singles, 1-0 doubles    0-1 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    3-1
    Tiffany Gates     2-0 singles, 0-1 doubles    0-0 singles, 1-1 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    3-2
    Kelly Zalinski    1-1 singles, 1-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    2-1
    Kelley Olson      0-2 singles, 0-1 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-3
    Darcie Sweet      0-2 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-2
    Sarah Scaringe    0-0 singles, 0-1 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-1
    Courtney Haskell  0-0 singles, 0-1 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-0 singles, 0-0 doubles    0-1

    HALL PLAYS TOUGH OPPONENTS: At the No. 1 singles position for the Irish, Hall has played 28 matches against ranked opponents (according to the latest ITA rankings) in her 32 matches this season. Hall has played four matches against top 10 opponents and her highest ranked win of the season is over No. 12 Agnes Muzamel of Mississippi. Hall beat Muzamel on February 6 at the National Rolex Championship (4-6, 6-4, 6-2) and in a dual match on February 21 (6-4, 7-5). Of her 16 losses in singles this season, 15 of them have been to ranked opponents. Hall has a total of four wins over top 25 opponents.

    This season, Hall has advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Clay Court Championship and the National Rolex Championship, the round of 16 at the All-American Championship and the finals of the Midwest Regional Rolex Championship, losing to teammate Michelle Dasso.

    DASSO IS TOP FRESHMAN: Dasso is ranked No. 19 in the country in the ITA rankings of May 5. She is the fourth-highest ranked freshman in the country and the second-highest American-born freshman behind Holly Parkinson, a Houston native that plays at BYU.

    Dasso brings a 28-6 record into the NCAA regional and started her collegiate career with 10-straight wins in the fall season. Dasso then went on to win 19 matches during the dual season and went from February 13 through April 9 without a loss in singles.

    Dasso has played a total of 17 ranked opponents this season and has a record of 13-4 against ranked opponents. She has an 0-1 mark against top 10 opponents and is 3-1 vs. the top 25. Her highest ranked win of the year came over No. 20 Christina Moros of Texas, a 6-4, 6-2 win on March 15.

    This season, Dasso won the championship of the Midwest Regional Rolex Tournament.

    VELASCO STRONG AT NO. 3: Notre Dame junior Marisa Velasco (Chuala Vista, Calif.) has been nationally-ranked all season and has been a strong performer for the Irish at No. 3 singles. Velasco enters NCAA play the winner of three-straight singles matches and has won five of her past six. Velasco had a streak of nine-straight singles wins from February 27 through March 25.

    Velasco advanced to the round of 16 at the Midwest Regional Rolex Championship in the fall.

    GATES, ZALINSKI ARE CONSISTENT: Gates and Irish sophomore Kelly Zalinski (Greer, SC) have been steady performers for the Irish all season with Gates holding down the No. 4 singles spot and Zalinski at No. 5. Entering NCAA play, Gates has won three of her past four matches and 10 of her last 14. She is also part of Notre Dame's No. 1 doubles team along with Hall. Zalinski has won eight of her last ten matches entering the NCAAs and has a 31-9 record in singles this season. She advanced to the round of 16 at the Midwest Regional Rolex tournament.

    HEAD COACH JAY LOUDERBACK: Notre Dame head coach Jay Louderback (Wichita State '76) is in his eighth year in charge of the Notre Dame program and has a 152-80 record at the school. He led Notre Dame to an appearances in the 1993, '94, '96 and '97 NCAA team events. He was also the head coach at Wichita State from 1980-86 and had a 122-94 record there and the coach at Iowa State (men and women) from 1987-89 and had an 82-84 record there.

    IRISH ARE WINNERS IN THE CLASSROOM: The success of this year's Notre Dame women's tennis team has not been confined to just the tennis court as the Irish have posted impressive numbers in the classroom. In the fall of '97, four players earned Dean's List honors -- Jennifer Hall, Courtney Haskell, Kelley Olson and Darcie Sweet.


     
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