Terrapins serve up competition
By KEVIN BERCHOU
The Notre Dame women's tennis team won't have to wait much longer to find out exactly where it stands in relation to its competitors.
The Irish women will take on the talented Maryland Terrapins this afternoon at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in a showdown that should serve notice as to exactly how far they have come, or perhaps how far they need to go.
Coming off an easy 9-0 trouncing of Yale, Notre Dame will be provided with a much more daunting test when they take on Maryland this afternoon and attempt to run its season record to 4-1.
"They're very talented," head coach Jay Louderback said. "They're as athletic as any team we'll play all year."
As always, the Irish will be led by junior All-American Michelle Dasso, who will play both No. 1 singles and doubles. Dasso played exceptionally well in her last singles match and looks to have recovered from a fall shoulder injury.
Sophomore Becky Varnum and junior Kelly Zalinski will be relied upon heavily to pick up key points in No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively.
Maryland has been surging lately, easily winning its first three dual meets of the season. The Terps are young — almost to a fault. And their lack of experience could play into the hands of the Irish.
"They haven't had a tough test all year," Louderback said. "With the freshmen playing in their first big match, that could be a difference."
The Terps' top two players are extremely talented, yet inexperienced, freshmen. First year player Delia Causevic, a native of Bosnia, will battle Dasso in No. 1 singles, while her classmate Jessica Johnson will take on Zalinski.
Causevic has been on top of her game lately but she too will be tested as her match with Dasso will be her toughest to date.
With the Irish having sent two doubles teams to the Rolex Indoors last weekend, and the Terps featuring Johnson and Causevic as their No. 1 doubles pair, the doubles matches should be intersting.
Dasso and Varnum will receive a strong challenge from Causevic and Johnson.
Junior Kimberly Guy and freshman Katie Cunha will play No. 2 doubles in hopes of continuing their fine play.
Maryland, rarely tested in three previous victories over Missouri, West Virginia and Georgetown, faces a difficult test in meeting on Notre Dame's home court.
Since beating the Washington Huskies last month, the Irish have not taken on a quality opponent, making this match a valid indicator of the squad's current state.
All Sports Stories for Friday, February 11, 2000