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Deja vu is not an option for Irish

Anne Loughery | Thursday, April 8, 2004

Don’t bet on déjà vu.This year, a more aggressive and poised Alicia Salas will step onto the courts to face William and Mary’s sophomore Megan Muth. The No. 10 Irish senior dropped her singles match last season against Muth 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in part due to her timid approach to the meet.”Alicia got up in the third set, but [she] got a little tentative, and [Muth] realized that and came to the net more,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “This year Alicia is much more aggressive.”The No. 23 Irish fell to No. 43 William and Mary 4-3 last year, losing four of the six singles matches. William and Mary extended three of the singles matches to three sets and one match to a tiebreaker.”They’re always a good team to play,” Louderback said. “They play hard and fair. If everyone’s playing, they’ll be tough all the way down the lineup.”In addition to hard-nosed competitors, the Irish must also combat the elements, as matches will likely take place outdoors. Outdoor matches have been speed bumps in Notre Dame’s record. Louderback said outdoor practices this week should prevent the Irish from hitting any potholes, so to speak.”We’ve had a good week of practices this week because we’ve been outdoors. Our kids seem more comfortable with the elements,” Louderback said. “Playing indoors is very different from outdoors because there aren’t as many factors affecting the match. You can hit the ball harder indoors.”Last weekend, the Irish defeated both Marquette 7-0 and No. 18 Miami 5-2, claiming the doubles point in both meets. The win against rival Miami spurred Notre Dame to the top of the Big East. This is the eighth time in nine years the Irish are nearly guaranteed the first seed in the Big East tournament. “The kids were very excited to get two wins like that last weekend, especially against Miami,” Louderback said. “They know that from here on out, meets are especially important because of seeding.”Notre Dame is set to meet William and Mary at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Williamsburg, Va.