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ND Women’s Tennis: Team hits courts at local rival Indiana

Alex Barker | Thursday, March 26, 2009

No. 3 Notre Dame will try to continue to rebound from a loss to Georgia Tech and stretch its win streak to three today when the Irish travel to Bloomington, Ind., to take on No. 37 Indiana.

This past weekend, the Irish were able to bounce back from their second loss of the season against the Yellow Jackets to defeat No. 12 Tennessee and No. 29 Vanderbilt, posting scores of 5-2 in each match to push their record to 16-2 on the season.

Irish coach Jay Louderback touted the wins as steps in the right direction for his team.

“They were very big wins for us because we always have trouble with both Vandy and Tennessee, especially at Tennessee,” he said. “Getting the win at Tennessee [playing outdoors] really helps our team’s confidence.”

Even with all of their experience playing and beating high-ranked opponents this season, the Irish are making sure they aren’t overlooking the lower profile foes like Indiana.

“Indiana has had a solid year and is always a tough team to play. They make you finish points in doubles and don’t give away any free ones,” Louderback said. “We have played a tougher schedule than Indiana up to this point and so I think we will be tough to beat.”

The Hoosiers are led by two-time all-Big Ten selection Alba Berdala and sophomore Katya Zapadalova, who competed in the NCAA singles tournament last year as a freshman.

Notre Dame enters the final stretch of its regular season schedule with only seven games remaining until the Big East championship tournament. After the Irish host Baylor next week at home, they will head on a four-game road trip where they will play four games in five days, similar to the pace they will run into at the NCAA tournament in May.

The dwindling time before postseason play is set to begin has Louderback anxious to see improvements from his team over the next few weeks.

“I think our doubles has improved, but we need to get where all three teams are more consistent,” he said. “We still have some big matches coming up, including two top-four teams in Northwestern and Baylor, where I think we can do that.”

Notre Dame’s in-state matchup with the Hoosiers is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in Bloomington.