Generally, people are taught to be polite and courteous hosts. But in the sports world, the opposite applies. Teams use home courts to their advantage, leaving their guests miserable. The No. 21 Notre Dame women’s tennis team followed this backward rule of etiquette yesterday, dominating No. 20 Michigan, 7-0. The Wolverines’ record dropped to 1-2 in the early season.
The one-sided affair started with doubles play and, specifically Notre Dame’s talented duo of Catrina and Christian Thompson. The sisters — ranked No. 2 nationally in doubles — took out Michigan’s No. 15 pairing of Michelle DaCosta and Kara Delicata, 8-5.
At No. 2 doubles, Brook Buck and Lauren Connelly overpowered Michigan’s Leanne Rutherford and Debra Streifler, 8-2.
The two doubles victories gave Notre Dame the team point, but, just for good measure, its third doubles team of Sarah Jane Connelly and Kristina Stastny edged Michigan’s Elizabeth Exon and Nina Yaftali, 8-5, completing the doubles sweep.
Things didn’t get any better for the Wolverines as the match shifted to singles play. With the exception of Exon — who was playing No. 2 singles — no Wolverine stayed close in more than one set. Despite Exon’s gritty effort, Michigan failed to win a single set yesterday. Exon lost to Buck, 6-4, 7-6(2).
“Notre Dame played a great match,” coach Bitsy Ritt said. “They are very solid at every position throughout both the singles and doubles lineups.”
The rest of the singles just continued to show Notre Dame’s depth. Michigan’s No. 1 singles player, senior co-captain DaCosta, fell to Catrina Thompson, 6-2, 6-3. At No. 3 singles, Delicata fought hard in the first set before bowing out to Thompson’s sister, Christian, 7-5, 6-2. Rutherford fell to Connelly, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 4 singles, and Yaftali gave Stastny a battle in the first set at the No. 5 spot before running out of gas in the second set. She lost, 7-5, 6-0.
Rounding out the singles play was a 6-1, 6-2, loss by Streifler at the hands of Notre Dame’s Liz Donohue.
Despite its lopsided loss, Michigan is kept in mind the fact that this was its first road match of the season.
“It’s difficult to play on the road,” Ritt said. “But you have to learn how to do it if you want to be good. The good teams are able to win on the road.”