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ND Women’s Tennis: Team rejuvenated for match with rival

Katie Heit | Wednesday, March 27, 2013

 

Coming off a nearly two-week reprieve from competition, the No. 16 Irish are rested and ready to take on their biggest rival, Michigan, at home today at 4 p.m

Junior Britney Sanders said the break has allowed the Irish (11-5) to return to fundamentals often lost during the team’s hectic season.

“The season is so long and it’s just a toll on our bodies,” Sanders said. “I think taking a break from matches has allowed us to regroup and get back in shape.”

Any advantage gained from the rest will be much needed in today’s matchup with the Wolverines, as No. 10 Michigan (11-3) arrives at Notre Dame on a six-match winning streak. 

“They have a really talented team and a deep lineup,” senior captain Chrissie McGaffigan said. 

Sanders said though the team plays Michigan every year, the match always stands out from the typical season play.

“Every year we play Michigan, and every year we play them during the week, so we don’t really think about them as a normal team or a normal opponent,” Sanders said. “It’s always a tough match and they’re one of our biggest rivals.”

McGaffigan said a win against Michigan would help push the Irish into a prime position as they head toward the NCAA tournament. 

“We really want to get a spot in the top-16 by the end of the season so we can host in the first round of the NCAAs,” McGaffigan said. “We see the match as a huge opportunity.” 

McGaffigan said she expects the matches to be close contests, but she is not worried about her team’s ability to persevere. 

“Our girls have been working really hard and pushing one another in practice,” McGaffigan said. “I think pulling out close matches earlier in the season will give us confidence.”

McGaffigan said she feels assured of home court advantage for this match due to the support of the campus community.

“We love our dedicated ROTC fans,” McGaffigan said. “They have made our home matches so much fun and have become an added home court advantage.”

In honor of the rivalry, the Irish will be giving out free lacrosse jerseys and frozen yogurt to fans in attendance.  

The Irish will square off against Michigan at home today at 4 p.m

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu