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ND Women’s Tennis: Team to play outside on San Diego courts

Chris Hine | Friday, March 9, 2007

Over the past few weeks, No. 2 Notre Dame has settled into a groove. Playing most of their dual matches at home, the Irish have collected wins over multiple top-25 opponents on their way to a 12-1 record. This weekend, however, the Irish will leave the friendly confines of the Eck Tennis Pavilion and hit the road. First, the Irish travel to Provo, Utah, to battle No. 29 Brigham Young before dashing to San Diego to play in their first set of outdoor matches – against No. 21 Duke and No. 16 Tennessee, March 15 and 16.”Outdoors, you’ve got a lot of things to contend with,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “You’ve got the sun [and] wind. Balls don’t travel as fast. “Indoors you just don’t have any of that. … It’s just a lot different to go outside. Plus, if it’s a little cooler, the balls don’t travel as fast, points last a lot longer and you can’t get as much speed on the ball.”Louderback is not concerned that the switch from indoor to outdoor play will negatively affect his team.”We’re definitely a better outdoor team,” he said. “We have one or two [players] who are better indoors, but everyone else is better outside. It’ll take us a match or two to get used to outdoors, then we’ll be fine.”The Irish still have BYU before they head to sunny California. The Cougars are 8-4 but have struggled against top-tier competition, losing to No. 25 Baylor and No. 8 Clemson. “They’ve played better lately. They struggled earlier in the year. They didn’t have a real good tournament at the [ITA National Indoor],” Louderback said. “They play better every match, though. It’s a hard place to play because you have to play in the altitude.”The Blue Devils (4-2) have posted wins over No. 18 Arizona State and No. 41 Indiana.”Duke started slowly, losing their first match at Northwestern 6-1,” Louderback said. “They just played awful. But they’ve played much better as they year went on. They just started slow.” The Volunteers defeated No. 31 Michigan but lost to Wake Forest and North Carolina – two opponents Notre Dame defeated earlier in the season.”They’re scrappy. They fight really hard,” Louderback said. “They play very emotional and yell really loud. They’re always up the whole time. They’re a tough team to play