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Notre Dame women’s tennis team to host No. 36

| Friday, February 27, 2004

Coach Jay Louderback predicts a tough match at every position when the Irish host No. 36 Indiana Sunday.”We always have a good rivalry with Indiana,” Louderback said. “Even if one team is ranked a lot higher than the other, it’s still a close, tight match.”Traditionally, the Hoosiers have won past matches against the Irish, leading the series 12-7. However, Indiana has not won a match against Notre Dame since the 2001-02 season. Last year’s bout between the two resulted in a 6-1 Irish victory. The No. 26 Irish (6-1) are on a five-match winning streak after a 6-1 win over No. 20 Brigham Young University 6-1.The Hoosiers (5-2) are coming off of an upset of No. 12 Kentucky 5-2, nearly sweeping the singles. Kentucky claimed the doubles point, despite Indiana having what Louderback calls “an off year.” “Indiana probably could have won the doubles point last weekend,” Louderback said. “Their doubles play last week isn’t an accurate depiction of how good they really are. “I’d be surprised if the doubles matches aren’t close this weekend.”The Irish are set to face several ranked players on Indiana’s team, including the No. 24 nationally ranked doubles team of Karie Schlukebir and Linda Tran and No. 50 Grim and Sarah Batty. In addition, No. 40 Dora Vastag and No. 82 Tran will present a challenge for the Irish in singles. Assistant coach Michelle Dasso is confident the Irish will be ready this challenge this weekend.”We just have to come in fired up for this match right from the beginning,” Dasso said. “We have to stay positive and expect to win, but expect that we’ll have to earn it.”Practices have focused mainly on conditioning and drills this week, in addition to doubles play in preparation for Sunday’s close match. “We have had a couple good practices this week,” Dasso said. “We’re ready and I think we’ll do well this weekend, but we need everyone to contribute.”

Contact Ann Loughery at alougher@nd.edu