April 25, 1999
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The 10th-ranked and top-seeded Notre Dame women's tennis team dropped the doubles point but won four singles matches to beat 24th-ranked and second-seeded Miami 4-2 on Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Complex at the University of Miami to win its third BIG EAST title in its four years in the BIG EAST. The Irish improve to 22-6 with their 11th consecutive win and earn the conference's automatic bid into the 64-team NCAA championship field, which will be announced May 5. The match marked the fourth meeting between Irish and Hurricanes in the BIG EAST championship, with Notre Dame winning in 1996 and 1997 and Miami winning in 1998.
"We played really well in singles after coming back from losing the doubles," said Irish head coach Jay Louderback, who was named BIG EAST coach of the year for the third time. "We were worried because we were down 1-0 but we won four singles and could have won five of the six singles. It is good for us to play at Miami in the heat and play that well."
The Irish, playing the same format as men's tennis, lost the doubles point for the first time in the tournament as Miami won at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles to take a 1-0 lead. Freshman Becky Varnum and junior Kelly Zalinski continued their dual-match success as Varnum improved to 20-6 at No. 4 singles and Zalinski 20-6 at No. 5 singles. Varnum beat Eva Jimenez 6-3, 6-4, while Zalinski downed Alanna Broderick 6-2, 6-3 to put the Irish ahead 2-1.
Miami's Meredith Laughlin knotted the match at 2-2 with her 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 win over Lindsey Green at No. 6 singles. Senior Marisa Velasco then won her 99th-career singles match by beating Marcy Hora 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) at No. 3 singles for a 3-1 Irish lead. Velasco led 5-2 and 40-30 on Hora's serve but the Hurricane freshman rallied to send the second set into a tiebreaker. After falling behind 3-0 in the tiebreaker, Velasco won rattled off seven of the next nine points to give the Irish a key win.
Senior All-American captain Jennifer Hall won the championship-clinching match for the Irish as she ended Katia Bogomolova's 14-match winning streak with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles. Hall trailed 2-5 in the first set before climbing back to 5-5 before losing 7-5. After rolling through the second set 6-1, she led 3-1 in the third set before Bogomolova broke back to tie. After holing serve at 4-4, Hall broke Bogomolova for the win.
Eighth-ranked Irish sophomore Michelle Dasso was ahead 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 5-1 over 26th-ranked Lioudmila Skavronskaia at No. 1 singles when Hall clinched the win.
#10 NOTRE DAME 4, #24 MIAMI 2
No. 1: #8 Michelle Dasso (ND) vs. #26 Lioudmila Skavronskaia (UM) 4-6, 7-6 (4), 5-1, abandoned
No. 2: #56 Jennifer Hall (ND) def. Katia Bogomolova (UM) 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 (ND)
No. 3: Marisa Velasco (ND) def. Marcy Hora (UM) 6-3, 7-6 (5)
No. 4: #69 Becky Varnum (ND) def. Eva Jimenez (UM) 6-3, 6-4
No. 5: Kelly Zalinski (ND) def. Alanna Broderick (UM) 6-2, 6-3
No. 6: Meredith Laughlin (UM) def. Lindsey Green (ND) 7-6 (2), 6-2
No. 1: Hora/Skavronskaia (UM) def. #7 Dasso/Hall (ND) 8-6
No. 2: Bogomolova/Broderick (UM) def. Varnum/Velasco (ND) 8-4
No. 3: Green/Zalinski (ND) def. Jimenez/Laughlin (UM) 8-3