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Tennis Duo Together Again at Notre Dame

February 19, 2001|DAVE McKIBBEN

Four years ago, senior Nina Vaughan and sophomore Caylan Leslie helped lead Corona del Mar High to the Southern Section Division I girls' tennis title--dethroning six-time champion Palos Verdes Peninsula in the final. Now they are back together and figuring prominently in Notre Dame's rise in the Intercollegiate Tennis Assn. rankings.

Vaughan, a junior, is 17-8 in singles and 6-2 in dual matches playing at No. 1, 2 or 3 singles. Leslie, a freshman, is 17-7 and 5-2 in dual matches at No. 4 singles.

Vaughan didn't play much her freshman season as she battled injuries and mental fatigue. But she was 20-9 at No. 4 singles last year as Notre Dame made its first NCAA round of 16 appearance in five years.

This year, Vaughan is playing doubles for the first time in her college career; she is 10-7. In dual matches with partner Lindsey Green, she is 3-3 at No. 3 doubles.

On Thursday in the first round of the USTA/ITA Women's Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis., Leslie defeated Katia Kolodynska, 6-2, 6-0, in the Fighting Irish's 5-2 victory over Oklahoma State. Vaughan lost her first dual singles match of the year to Linda Faltynkova, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, but she teamed with Green for an 8-4 victory in doubles.


Two other county players participated in the 16-team tournament in Madison: UCLA's Chelsea Godbey (Newport Harbor) and USC's Melissa Esmero (Mater Dei).

Godbey, a freshman walk-on playing No. 6 for the eighth-ranked Bruins, lost to Jessica Rush of Northwestern, 6-2, 6-1. The 20th-ranked Wildcats upset UCLA, 7-0.

Esmero, a two-time Times' Orange County player of the year, defeated Elizabeth Proctor of Wake Forest, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, in the ninth-ranked Trojans' 5-0 victory on Thursday, but she lost her next two singles matches.


Cal Poly Pomona is closing in on the women's basketball title in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. and the performance of a slimmed-down Aprile Powell has been a big factor in its success.

A redshirt freshman, the 6-3 Powell has dropped 60 pounds since graduating from Century High, according to Pomona Coach Paul B. Thomas. She has seven double doubles this season, including a 12-point, 13-rebound performance in the Broncos' 79-65 victory over Cal State Stanislaus last week.

"I don't want to put any additional pressure on Aprile," Thomas said. "But she could be the finest player ever to put a uniform on at Cal Poly Pomona. And we have had 16 All-Americans and three national players of the year. She can do it all on the offensive end of the floor: Shoot, pass and dribble."

Powell was named CCAA player of the week for the period ending Feb. 4. She scored a career-high 31 points and made 11 of 14 field-goal attempts (78.6%) and had eight rebounds in a 70-63 win over Sonoma State. She had game-highs of 23 points and six rebounds and did not commit a turnover in Pomona's 103-77 victory over San Francisco State. Powell shot 69% from the floor (20 of 29) and 55.6% from three-point range (five of nine) in the two games.


Former Cypress College center Eric Pauley is in his fourth season as an assistant men's basketball coach at Tennessee. Previously, he was an assistant at James Madison.

A graduate of Savanna High, Pauley played at Cypress from 1989-91 and helped lead Kansas to the 1993 Final Four.

Staff writers Lon Eubanks and Paul McLeod contributed to this story.

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