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ND Women’s Tennis

Notre Dame heads east on three-game win streak

| Thursday, March 20, 2014

No.22 Notre Dame hits the road this weekend to take on two top-10 ACC opponents.

The Irish (8-6, 2-4) will be looking to build on their three match win streak as they take on No. 6 Virginia on Friday and face No. 10 North Carolina on Sunday.

Senior Julie Sabacinski returns the ball during Notre Dame's 4-3 loss to Georgia Tech on Feb. 21. Emmett Farnan | The Observer

Senior Julie Sabacinski returns the ball during Notre Dame’s 4-3 loss to Georgia Tech on Feb. 21.

After a slow start to conference play, the Irish have won two consecutive ACC contests and three consecutive games, which Irish coach Jay Louderback attributes to improved doubles play and resilient effort in singles.

“Key for us is the doubles,” Louderback said. “We’ve played really well at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles and getting up 1-0 is big. So the two biggest factors with us right right now is our doubles is getting better and we are just battling hard. We’ve had kids that were down a set and just fought their way back.”

Notre Dame sophomore Quinn Gleason has also been thrilled with the team’s doubles performance as the Irish have won the doubles point in each match throughout this win streak.

“Starting out the matches getting the doubles point has really helped us,” Gleason said. “[Senior Jennifer Kellner] and [senior Julie Sabacinski] have playing really well together. They make a great team because Jenny is really good from the baseline and Julie has great hands at the net.”

Even after the recent run of success, Gleason acknowledges that the competition will remain tough.

“Our new ACC schedule is definitely a lot tougher than last year,” Gleason said. “Virginia (10-4, 4-1) and North Carolina (15-3, 5-1) are both very good teams and as a team we have to approach this weekend as a great opportunity.”

Louderback recognizes the difficulties as well, as there will be challenges from both top-flight opponents and the elements.

“I think both Virginia and North Carolina have been as high as No. 2 in the country,” Louderback said. “One of the big things, too, is that we’re jumping between in and outdoors. Especially having two top ten teams outdoor will be tough for us, but it should be good for us.”

Gleason is excited to see how the team handles this latest test as she has relished the ACC competition.

“I’m really enjoying getting the chance to play against the best teams in the country,” Gleason said. “We’ve been working really hard so I’m excited to see how that pays off this weekend.”

Louderback sees this weekend as a major point in the season as Notre Dame has five games in a row at home after this road trip.

“Most of our ACC matches after this weekend are at home, which is good,” Louderback said. “I think our big thing is just to keep playing hard like we have. They are both good, but we’ll compete this weekend and we’ll have chances. We’ll have a shot at both of them.”

Friday’s match starts at 3:30pm in Charlottesville and Sunday’s action begins at noon in Chapel Hill.

About Josh Dulany

Originally from Texas, I grew up overseas and attended high school in Ethiopia. I have always followed sports intently and enjoy watching and playing practically any sport. I am double majoring in Marketing and FTT.

Contact Josh