Women’s Tennis: Buckeyes to test squad at Eck Center
Dan Masterton | Thursday, February 14, 2008
After facing three top-15 teams last weekend, the schedule does not get any easier for No. 14 Notre Dame (3-4) when the Irish face No. 47 Ohio State at home today.
The Buckeyes are undefeated, though they have not faced any top-50 opponents in the dual season. Irish coach Jay Louderback knows that their perfect record is no accident.
“Ohio State is solid. They just have not played high-ranked teams yet,” Louderback said. “They’re well-coached, and we always have clean matches with them.”
The Irish lead the all-time series against Ohio State, 15-3, and have not lost to the Buckeyes in 18 years. Notre Dame’s dominance is representative of the strength of the program, but Louderback recognizes that things could have gone either way.
“We’ve been lucky and won some tight ones,” Louderback said. “They’ve been good matches, and we’ve been fortunate to come out on top.”
This year’s Ohio State team is deep. Its No. 3 through No. 6 singles players are all undefeated.
“There’s not a lot of difference from their No. 1 to No. 6 [singles players],” Louderback said. “They’re a lot like us in that respect.”
None of Ohio State’s singles players is nationally ranked, but the doubles pair of Angela DiPastina and Christian Keesey is No. 33 in the country.
“They have a great No. 1 doubles team that did great at the nationals,” Louderback said, referring to DePastina and Keesey.
DiPastina and Keesey upset the No. 1-seeded pair from Miami in the first round at the ITA National Championships in October before losing a close second round match. The Irish doubles team of Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft won that event.
Notre Dame’s doubles attack will have to improve as the No. 1 pair of Buck and Tefft lost twice last weekend, with the Irish dropping the doubles point in all three matches.
The Irish look to rebound and correct those weaknesses in front of their home crowd. The match with the Buckeyes begins a three-game home stand over the next four days.
The Irish won their only home match earlier this year and feel they have an edge playing at home.
“We had a pretty good crowd last time, and the kids are excited to play at home. Having three in a row here will be good,” Louderback said.
The Irish look to increase their lead in their series against Ohio State at 3:30 p.m. today at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.