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Irish perform well against strong squads

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, March 20, 2007

After over a week of intense training, Notre Dame concluded its spring break with strong performances in regattas against No. 9 Tennessee, No. 13 Minnesota, Alabama and Cincinnati.The Irish, ranked No. 11 by the US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) poll, began their weekend Saturday with races against the Volunteers and Golden Gophers with mixed results.Notre Dame’s varsity-eight boat finished third in two of the three rounds while taking second in the remaining session. Minnesota placed first in all three rounds. In the first round, the Irish clocked a time of 4:57.2, nearly nine seconds behind the Golden Gophers. Notre Dame’s best time of the day came in the second round, when the squad clocked in at 4:53.9, finishing just behind Minnesota’s time of 4:51.1 and ahead of Tennessee’s mark of 4:58.8.”We had similar results a year ago against these two same schools,” Irish coach Martin Stone said. “Both of these teams are very good. I was pleased with our results, and we are coming off of a good week of training.”The most pleasant surprise of the regatta was the performance of the novice-eight boat. Competing in their first collegiate regatta, the members of the novice-eight boat won all three of their races, never allowing Tennessee or Minnesota to finish within five seconds of the lead time. The squad’s best performance came in the first round when they finished in 5:07.2.”We were obviously very pleased with how well our novice-eight crew rowed,” Stone said. “I’m not sure we have ever had such strong results from this boat so early in the season. It certainly is something to build on in the upcoming weeks.”In other action on Saturday, Notre Dame’s second varsity boat and varsity-four boat both finished third in all of their races.The Irish saw a marked improvement in their performance Sunday, winning four of five races against Alabama and Cincinnati. Notre Dame’s varsity-eight, second varsity-eight, varsity-four and novice-eight all won, with the second novice-eight squad coming in second.The first varsity-eight boat finished in 6:38.31 – more than 18 seconds ahead of second-place Alabama (6:56.52). Meanwhile, the second varsity-eight crew finished in 6:49.85, with Cincinnati taking second in 7:05.7.The Irish swept the top two spots in varsity-four action, with the “A” boat clocking in at 7:54.55 and the “B” boat finishing in 8:01.02. The novice-eight boat remained undefeated on the weekend, taking first place with a time of 7:04.22 – more than eight seconds ahead of Alabama (7:15.33).”I thought we rowed better [Sunday],” Stone said. “We made some adjustments after seeing some things in Saturday races, and we saw some improvement. We still need to work on some things, but it is very early in the season, and we definitely have time to do that.”Notre Dame will compete in its next regatta Saturday when the team travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on No. 14 Michigan State and No. 15 Michigan.

After over a week of intense training, Notre Dame concluded its spring break with strong performances in regattas against No. 9 Tennessee, No. 13 Minnesota, Alabama, and Cincinnati.The Irish, ranked No. 11 by the US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) poll, began their weekend Saturday with races against the Volunteers and Golden Gophers with mixed results.Notre Dame’s varsity-eight boat finished third in two of the three rounds while taking second in the remaining session. Minnesota placed first in all three rounds. In the first round, the Irish clocked a time of 4:57.2, nearly nine seconds behind the Golden Gophers. Notre Dame’s best time of the day came in the second round, when the squad clocked in at 4:53.9, finishing just behind Minnesota’s time of 4:51.1 and ahead of Tennessee’s mark of 4:58.8.”We had similar results a year ago against these two same schools,” Irish coach Martin Stone said. “Both of these teams are very good. I was pleased with our results and we are coming off of a good week of training.”The most pleasant surprise of the regatta was the performance of the novice-eight boat. Competing in their first collegiate regatta, the members of the novice-eight boat won all three of their races, never allowing Tennessee or Minnesota to finish within five seconds of the lead time. The squad’s best performance came in the first round when they finished in 5:07.2.”We were obviously very pleased with how well our novice-eight crew rowed,” Stone said. “I’m not sure we have ever had such strong results from this boat so early in the season. It certainly is something to build on in the upcoming weeks.”In other action on Saturday, Notre Dame’s second varsity boat and varsity-four boat both finished third in all of their races.The Irish saw a marked improvement in their performance Sunday, winning four of five races against Alabama and Cincinnati. Notre Dame’s varsity-eight, second varsity-eight, varsity-four, and novice-eight all won, with the second novice-eight squad coming in second.The first varsity-eight boat finished in 6:38.31 – more than 18 seconds ahead of second-place Alabama (6:56.52). Meanwhile, the second varsity-eight crew finished in 6:49.85, with Cincinnati taking second in 7:05.7.The Irish swept the top two spots in varsity-four action, with the “A” boat clocking in at 7:54.55 and the “B” boat finishing in 8:01.02. The novice-eight boat remained undefeated on the weekend, taking first place with a time of 7:04.22 – more than eight seconds ahead of Alabama (7:15.33).”I thought we rowed better [Sunday],” Stone said. “We made some adjustments after seeing some things in Saturday races and we saw some improvement. We still need to work on some things, but it is very early in the season and we definitely have time to do that.”Notre Dame will compete in its next regatta on Saturday when the team travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on No. 14 Michigan State and No. 15 Michigan.

On Mar. 11th, Franklin & Marshall took the competition over the Belles 7-2 in Orlando, FL. In the season opener for both schools, the Belles claimed victory in both the No. 1 doubles and No. 3 singles spots. In the singles match, sophomore Mary E. Campbell def. Erica Wood 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. Saint Mary’s also gained a point with Kelly McDavitt, a senior, and freshman Camille Gebert’s 9-7 win over Katie Gaskins and Barbara Bee.Wisconsin-LaCrosse handed the Belles their second straight loss with another 7-2 match on March 12 in Orlando. Wisconsin-LaCrosse swept Saint Mary’s in doubles play. However, Gebert followed up her doubles win with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory over Rachel Benn at No. 2 singles. Freshman Lisa Rubino defeated Erin Fekete 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, at the No. 4 spot.Later on in the day, the Belles handedly claimed their first win of the season with an 8-1 beating over Haverford. Saint Mary’s took an early lead winning five of the six singles matches – four of which came in straight sets. The Belles swept doubles action and sealed their victory by taking all three doubles positions with 8-2 victories. Division II University of Puerto Rico handed Saint Mary’s its third loss, with an 8-1 decision in Orlando. The University of Puerto Rico swept the Belles in doubles play, but junior Cassie Quaglia gained the match’s lone point with a 0-6, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (10-8) win over Juliana Pollock.The Belles took their second victory 6-3 over Hamilton. Quaglia continued her dominant play with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Beth McDonald in straight sets. Saint Mary’s went on to win four of the other five singles matches, and took a win in one of the three doubles matches.The Belles success in doubles play proved to be the difference in a 5-4 victory over Bentley on March 15th. Gebert and McDavitt played extremely well, winning in both their singles and doubles matches. Saint Mary’s split the singles matches, and took two of the three doubles matches to earn them the close win.The Belles continued their aggressive play with an assertive 9-0 sweep over Drew on March 16th. Saint Mary’s came into the competition focused and was able to improve its record to 4-3 with its flawless performance.The Belles’ winning streak ended with a 7-2 loss to Skidmore later on in the day, leaving them at 4-4 on their spring trip in Orlando. Saint Mary’s lost five out of the first six singles matches until senior Grace Gordon defeated Kyra Travis with a 7-6, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8) decision. Kelly McDavitt and Camille Gebert continued to show their excellent chemistry with yet another doubles win over Danielle Fancher and Kate Hugo, 8-2.

By Lorenzo Reyeslreyes@nd.edu