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Doubles key for Irish today against BYU

Anne Loughery | Friday, February 20, 2004

Inconsistent doubles matches may be No. 20 Brigham Young University’s Achilles heel as they face Notre Dame today at 4 p.m.

“They had some impressive wins against William and Mary and Southern California, but they’ve been up and down in doubles,” coach Jay Louderback said.

The Cougars (7-2) bested Kansas 7-0 and are fresh off a 5-2 win over Denver last weekend.

No. 26 Notre Dame (5-1) collected a trio of wins last weekend against Virginia Commonwealth 4-3, Boston College 6-1 and Virginia Tech 5-2. Doubles matches were Notre Dame’s forte this weekend, as they swept doubles in each meet.

“Those three matches on the road really boosted the kids’ confidence, especially since we did so well in doubles,” Louderback said. “We’ve been concentrating on doubles in practice, so it was good for the kids to see their hard work pay off.”

The primary difficulty the Irish must cope with this weekend will be the speed at which the Cougars serve and return the ball. Louderback said that preparing the team to overcome this obstacle has been of utmost importance this week.

“We’ve been getting the kids ready for balls to come at them hard,” Louderback said. “We see this meet as a good opportunity to play someone ranked ahead of us.”

At BYU last year, the Cougars fell to the Irish in a close 4-3 decision. Notre Dame posted four wins in singles, but failed to capture the doubles point.

“We’ll go in wanting to win, but every match is going to be tough,” Louderback said. “But the more matches we play, the better we’ll play.”