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ND Women’s Tennis: Irish travel south for matches

By Vicky Jacobsen | Thursday, March 7, 2013

The No. 15 Irish are heading south for spring break, to take on No. 9 Georgia, UAB and Georgia Tech during their trip to warmer climates.

“We’re using it for the opportunity to get outdoors, to be able to do practice and start the transition from in to out,” Irish coach Jay Louderback said. “Hopefully the weather will be fine and we get eight days of playing and practicing outside.”

Notre Dame’s road trip begins Saturday morning, giving the Irish three days of practice on outdoor courts before facing Georgia (7-1) on Tuesday.

“They’re always a very tough team, and it’s good for us to go down there because the NCAAs are at Georgia a lot,” Louderback said. “A year from this spring they’re back at Georgia, so it’s always good for us to go down there and play as often as we can.”

The Bulldogs’ only loss so far this season has come at the hands of No. 3 UCLA in the ITA National Indoor championship semifinals last month. They will host both Ole Miss and Mississippi State before the Irish come to call.

Notre Dame will play UAB (8-3) in Birmingham, Ala., two days later. Louderback said the Blazers are still something of a mystery to the Irish as this will be the teams’ first meeting. UAB opened the season with four-straight wins and have now won two in a row. They will visit Tulane and Louisiana-Monroe before returning home to play Notre Dame on March 14.

The Irish finish their southern swing at Georgia Tech (5-4) on March 16. Notre Dame has already beaten the Yellow Jackets once this season, winning 4-3 at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend tournament in Lincoln, Neb., in January.

“I’m sure it’ll be another tight one there; they’ve had a good year since we played them, so we’re looking forward to seeing us play them again,” Louderback said. “When we go into the ACC we’ll be playing them every year, so it’ll be a match that will end up a rivalry.”

Georgia Tech has gone 4-3 since losing to the Irish, and they haven’t dropped a match point in its last two matches against North Texas and Miami (Ohio), winning both 4-0.

The Irish, who have not played since losing to Duke 5-2 at home Sunday, will have a nine-day break from competition before they play the Bulldogs. Louderback said it couldn’t come at a better time.

“We’ve played a lot. As of Sunday we’d played three matches in four days. We really hadn’t had a break,” Louderback said. “We’ve got some kids who are banged up a little, and it gives them the chance to rest.”

The Irish begin spring break action against the Bulldogs on the outdoor courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. They’ll be in action again against the Blazers at the UAB Tennis Courts at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Notre Dame finishes its road trip with a noon tilt against the Yellow Jackets at Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta, Ga., on March 16.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu