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ND Women’s Tennis: Top-seeded Irish to take on Hoyas

Matt Robison | Friday, April 29, 2011

After Georgetown took down Cincinnati 4-1 in the first round of the Big East Tournament, No. 24 Notre Dame, the tournament’s top seed, will face the Hoyas in the quarterfinals in pursuit of its fourth straight conference title.

The Irish enter this year’s tournament as the top seed for the 15th time in the past 16 seasons, but this year they also have the good fortune of home-court advantage. The 2011 Big East championships are taking place at Notre Dame’s own Courtney Tennis Center, and Irish junior Shannon Mathews said that the team cherishes the opportunity to capture its 11th overall conference title on its home courts.

“We are all really excited to be hosting the Big East tournament and to have the opportunity to play on our courts in front of our families and friends,” Mathews said.”

In Thursday’s first round matchup between the Hoyas and the Bearcats, the singles portion was played first, a different situation than regular season matches. Traditionally, the doubles matches play out to determine the winner of the doubles point, and then six singles points are earned individually.

If that is the case today the Irish will be forced to adapt, which could pose a challenge as doubles play has been a strong point for Notre Dame all season. It allows the Irish to get into a rhythm and to build a lead going into the more significant singles portion of the match. However, Mathews said that the team is prepared to generate momentum regardless of the structure of the match.

“We know they will be geared up to play us after their first round win,” Mathews said. “We want to come out with strong intensity from the beginning.”

Georgetown finished the season 7-2 in the Big East and 11-8 overall, earning the No. 8 seed in the tournament. They took down the Bearcats with four victories in singles play.

Competition will get underway tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Eck Tennis Center. After the Irish square off against the Hoyas, Louisville will face Marquette, DePaul will take on Rutgers, and South Florida will face Syracuse, to determine who will advance to the semifinals Saturday.